The Making of a Restaurant

Saturday, July 28, 2001

Here's a great game we can play until we're ready to open.
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Wednesday, July 25, 2001

The Chopping Block has released their September class list. Much to my joy, they're offering the Flavor Dynamics class again. ("Taste olive oils, vinegars, herbs, spices, and more as we explore how to combine flavors and learn how to make substitutions and cook without recipes.") I immediately called and signed up for the class on the 18th. There are only 16 spots in the class, so if you're interested in joining me, better sign up quick.

I also signed up for their free Stock Your Pantry class on the 16th. ("Our Chefs will teach you how to select the ideal cookware, tools, and ingredients for your family's needs!") I'm sure it's not much more than a promotional tool to sell more T.C.P. merchandise, but hey, it's free, and I could use a little learnin' about cookware.
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Tuesday, July 24, 2001

Ben writes in:

"I'm uneasy when I go to restaurants and either the host or the waiter/tress seems not to like me. I worry that they're going to hock a stringy one into my portabello sandwich or drop eyelashes in my hummus.

"So, why keep all that food preparation hidden away, like it's a secret? I don't necessarily think you should make it the main attraction (like the shows at stir-fry places or whatever). I'm thinking more like a glassed-in area where people can watch their plates prepared, kind of like when microbreweries were big, you could often see the vats behind glass walls.

"Plus, it's a good way for you guys to monitor the kitchen staff while you're out on the floor; you can make sure they're not plotting to overthrow you."

A clever idea, and worth listing as YACMI, but I'm not sure we really want to reveal the inner workings of our machine. From what I know about professional kitchens -- and it's not much, most of it coming from the sensationalized Kitchen Confidential -- they're noisy and confusing. I'm afraid opening it up to viewing will ruin the illusion of how an motley assortment of ingredients turns into their gorgeous dish.

Then again, there are plenty of restaurants that don't bother to separate the kitchen from the dining area -- La Cumbamba is one -- or that place a special table inside the kitchen so the diners can watch their meals being prepared -- like Evanston's Trio. I guess the next logical step is kitchen walls made of glass. But would they fog up?
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