Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Marco Pierre White stuff on YouTube. I’ve watched him before, but lately I’ve been really paying close attention to what he’s saying while he goes about his business. As I listen more and more I realize that he constantly says stuff that should be written down, so writing stuff down I’ve been doing.
Then, I thought It might be fun to feature a few of his quotes and perhaps a couple from other chefs and how they relate to my experiences in and observations of the restaurant business in general. It could be fun, so here goes.
“There’s only so much squirrel a man can eat before he’s called a liar.” I find this akin to theme of The Emperor’s New Clothes. When people with apparent great taste are saying a place is great, then you don’t want to embarrass yourself by saying you don’t get it. I guess it’s better to see the clothes rather than have your own opinion.
“You’re being judged by people with less knowledge than yourself.” Having your work critiqued is essential, not matter what your work is. The problem today is that anyone with internet access can be a published food critic. The Capital District must have at least 25 active dining blogs, some of which are good. Add Yelp and friends, and social media and we find ourselves knee-deep in reviews and critiques not worth the paper they’re printed on. Now, I’m not talking about the casual post on Facebook when someone has a few words to say about a place they just visited, I’m talking about the people who really think they have some great knowledge of food and dining and are the ones who berate a restaurant because the don’t have gluten-free pasta, or fresh tomato for their burger in January. Anyone can start a blog and spew nonsense, Hell, your reading proof of that right now.
“I like a proper chip.” No story, I just like that one.
“I’m much happier feeding people who come in once a week rather than feeding a room full of strangers because of your price point.” It’s as if I said it myself. I love knowing the people I cook for.
“I’ve fed the public for a very long time, and I know what they are.” When I talk about you people, I’m doing it from 16 years worth of kitchen experience and 10 years worth of retail experience. Don’t be offended, I’m just reporting the facts both good and bad. It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.
“What better way to celebrate an animal’s life than by eating it.” That’s for the vegetabletarians.
“Chefs, as a whole, say yes to any project, fundraiser, or tasting because they have such a generous spirit (Charlie Trotter).” Go to all the charity events in the area, you’ll see Yono at most of them.
“When someone says they hate scones, it generally means they’ve never had a good scone (Unknown).” I always tell people that there’s nothing I don’t like, as long as it’s prepared properly. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people tell me “oh, I don’t like…….” Then I make it for them and they like it. I made puttanesca for a dinner party once and a good friend who had never liked the dish prior really enjoyed it. He now orders it anytime I make it at the restaurant. I’ll get him on sweetbreads next.
“The way you make an omelet reveals your character (Anthony Bourdain).” Making a proper omelet is a skill, and a process far beyond scrambled eggs. Everyone’s looking for an easy way out, with goofy folding pans or waffle iron-like appliances that make omelet-like things. A proper omelet, like a proper chip, is easy once you learn the right technique. If a cook has no desire to learn to make something the right way, I cannot believe that any other part of their life is any different. Also, like a pizza, an omelet shouldn’t be overloaded. The dry and overstuffed typical diner omelet has lost its way, and is so telling of the American palate for food and life. Have some character, learn to do something right, and don’t be a glutton.
I’ll leave you with a few more Marco Pierre White quotes without comment, just because I think they’re brilliant and they say something about me.
“Every chef thinks he’s Picasso, but this is not true, you can only sell a plate of food for so much.”
“If you caught a fish every time you went, you’d get bored.”
“True success is self discovery.”
“Don’t push me, I don’t think you know what I am, I control myself very well.”