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Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Customer isn't Always Right

Chef/owner Gillian Clark is the host of Wednesday evening's Battle of the Barrels [UPDATE] at her Washington DC restaurant, Colorado Kitchen.

In 2004, some comments of hers in the Washington Post fomented a rumpus. Due to copyright restrictions, I can't quote the entire article in question. I have, however, extracted a few salient portions.

Chef Gillian Clark has had it up to here.

She's had it with customers who order her lovingly prepared food at Colorado Kitchen and then demand hot sauce or ketchup to dump all over it before they've taken a single bite.

<...>And she's especially torqued off with people who want to completely sabotage the carefully thought-out entrees she's offering with their litany of demands: Can I have another vegetable, I want a different sauce, can you leave out the garlic, don't use any butter, could that be fried instead of broiled, and, oh yeah, can you cook the beef "rare but with no pink at all"?

<...> Four weeks ago, she wrote a letter to Post food critic Tom Sietsema and asked him to post it on his weekly online chat.

<...> As for Gillian Clark, she is surprised her letter generated so much anger "from customers who didn't see it from my point of view" - - namely, that of a chef who works 12 hours a day or more, in a kitchen barely big enough for three people, carefully crafting her menus to balance taste, texture, color and the height of flavor from seasonal ingredients. "When you pay a chef, it's like paying a doctor or any professional. You're paying for professional expertise," she says. "Let us feed you. We know how."

Chefs Bite Back
In Some Cases, the Customer Isn't Always Right
Candy Sagon
Date: Jun 4, 2003
Section: FOOD
© The Washington Post Company

[UPDATE: Read about the Battle of the Barrels.]

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