Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Diner Confronts Yelling Chef

It's like Reality TV on Diner's Journal:
I don’t remember exactly what I said, though I did not raise my voice to the point beyond where people in the kitchen could hear it. I told the chef that his behavior was making me and others uncomfortable. I let him know that I thought it was mean. And I asked him to cut it out. I don’t remember exactly what he said in response, but whatever it was, I found it irritating enough that I reminded him that I was paying to eat there and told him again to stop berating his staff at that volume.

Maybe 20 seconds after I had returned to my seat, he approached the table. He apologized, barely, and then let me know that he thought it was incredibly rude of me to come into his kitchen and tell him how to do his job. I repeated the fact that he had been ruining my dinner. But his yelling was all in the interest of maintaining quality, he said.

“I think it’s time for you to go,” he said.

“Are you kicking me out?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.
There's a lot more to it than the section I quoted... including the chef's take... so go read it, but that's the gist. I'm sure it would make me uncomfortable, but I'm pretty positive I would not confront the chef unless he/she was being ridiculously offensive... I'm just not a very in-your-face type of person, and (usually) have a pretty high threshold before I get angry. I'm also not sure what was gained by the confrontation exactly... since isn't dinner beyond saving at the point you get up and walk in the kitchen to lecture the chef? I think that if I did anything, besides just not coming back, it would be to leave a comment/review somewhere saying that the chef's actions towards his staff ruined our dinner. Passive, I suppose, but like I said, I don't see how the confrontation leaves anybody better off.

I'll also say, that if the guy yells at his staff where I can't see or hear it then it doesn't bother me... which I guess makes me a bad person, since I don't care if he (legally) abuses his staff... but it seems the greatest offense here is the chef making a spectacle of himself in front of his diners.

Full Disclosure: I do kind of enjoy Gordon Ramsay yelling at people on Kitchen Nightmares... though Hell's Kitchen is a little much for me.

photo by flickr user spunkinator used under a Creative Commons license