Misunderstood – Chef Don Schoenburg


I would say that the most misunderstood thing about restaurants is that making small changes to menu items is easy.

There are times when a kitchen line is running smoothly, almost like it is running itself. Then you put in a change request and the whole line shuts down while the one ticket is being made. Sort of like throwing a wrench into a well oiled machine, it is going to break down. Now sometimes the kitchen gets up and running again, but more often the timing is lost and chaos ensues the rest of the evening.

With that said, we are always willing to make changes to accommodate our loyal and faithful customers at Myett’s. We would just like them to understand what is involved in the request. It is not as simple as going to the refrigerator and grabbing an ingredient. We are set up and prepared to cook for hundreds of guests. Although we have all of a certain ingredient to prepare for the meals that we do make, we do not keep extra lying around or other ingredients just in case a customer wants something different. Chefs hate throwing food away because it goes bad. Food cost money, and no one wants to throw money away. We buy what we need fresh, and nothing more.

Sometimes it is not something different that creates the uproar in the kitchen it is leaving something off. I had a grouper dish with mango salsa and the person did not like onions. She could not figure out why I did not have mango salsa in the kitchen without onions or why I was not able to make her some. We had a another guest who wanted me to pick the green olives out of a Moroccan stew that we had as a special that night because he does not like olives. These are ridiculous requests and people should know better. I am not their mom. My staff and I are professionals that should not have to pick food out of a meal because someone does not like them. They can just GROW UP!

I am sure there are a lot of chefs out there like myself that purchase their produce and meat on a daily basis to ensure only the best and freshest for their customers. Sometimes we make mistakes and do not order enough. Sometimes suppliers run out or they do not send the correct amount. We just make do. Yes, we can just run to the store and pick up what we need, if the store is next door and we have time, but usually we do not.

Please understand, it is not my server’s fault. Taking it out on them just pisses them off; it does not change the situation.

I do not want to sound like a narcissistic chef that does not want to change his menu or one of those chefs that refuse to put salt on the table because I feel my food is perfect the way it is. I would just like customers to realize that there are a lot of professional cooks putting a lot of time and effort into making sure all the food on the menu is prepared the way it is supposed to be, and that a chef puts a lot of time and love into creating a menu for his/her customers to enjoy, and short of it being an allergy, most chefs take it as an insult when you make a change to the menu.

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