Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Guest Post- Life on Mars

Congratulations to lucky #9...Ben! You're attending Laura Taxel's workshop at the Fabulous Food Show on Saturday, November 13th. If you did not win and are interested in attending, please visit the site for more information. Thank you again to Laura and the FFS for providing me with a pass to give away. Now, I have another guest post for you today!

Hi, I'm Suzanne from Life on Mars and you are stuck with me for the day while Bite Buff is away.

I like to eat. I do not like to cook-mainly because I hate cleaning up. Luckily for me (and the Cleveland economy) I like to dine out and I tend to dine out a fair amount during the week. Most weekends, I am pretty sure you will not find me in my own kitchen and that includes breakfast/brunch. When dining out, I try to keep it as local as possible, dining at places that are locally owned and operated as well as places that get their food as locally as possible. I am super excited that Cleveland's food scene has been getting the recognition it deserves. But if your old favorite hangout/favorite place to dine becomes one of the places lucky enough to get some national attention, I would be scared. It's kind of the kiss of death in my opinion-at least in this town it kind of is. Can you say Parma Perogies?

Here is my theory on why national attention isn't always a good thing. Chefs are kind of egomaniacs. If you ever spent some time with a good one, you'll know it. Most of the time they will tell you. The problem with some national attention in a small(ish) town like Cleveland, you become a big fish in a little pond. Or at least you think you are. You think you are awesome. You think you are a rock star. You are hitting event circuits like you are Lindsay Lohan pre-rehab. But guess where you aren't? Your kitchen. Remember that place that made you kind of a big deal? So while you are are partying like it's 1999 telling everyone how awesome you are, your kitchen, your restaurant is most likely suffering. Unless you have staffed your kitchen with some amazing people, I am pretty sure it isn't your dream that's being carried out in your kitchen while you are out patting yourself on the back. And then who really suffers? The diner. I can name a few spots (but I won't here, I am pretty sure anyone who has been around a while can think a few of their favorites that jumped the shark with some national attention) that I used to love. I loved them because they were (not are, were) great. The chefs were working their asses off to make sure you had an amazing meal and if it was a chef/owner they were worried about your whole experience. Now after a little notoriety, I am not so sure the chefs are interested in making sure what I am eating nightly in their restaurant is what they might call their "A game". And some of these places have even resorted to asking if it's your first experience dining with them when they have been open for years. This really annoys me especially when it's the same waiter you have had the last 4 times you have dined there in the last month. Are you going to treat me like differently if I say "no"? Or what if I say "yes", are you going to roll out the red carpet for me? Shouldn't I be treated like it's my first time, every time. Because while it might not be my first dining experience with you, it surely might be my last.

*photo from here.


Tina said...

What a great post, Suzanne! So true. And of course we use jumped the shark all the time-cuz we're so cool like that.

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

POST LOVE. Nicely written, Suzanne.

Oh Parma Perogies, why did you have to leave my life...

Mel said...

Oh, Suzanne you are so on-target with this post!

I used to have such a place in my heart (and stomach) for certain Cleveland restaurants, but won't ever return because of a) inconsistency b) severe egomania (hey, I have a little of it too -- mainly, what I EXPECT to get when I come into your business) c) cocky staff (including, but not limited to: owners, friends of the chef, people who think they are friends of the owner, family of the chef/owner) and d) decline in quality.

But rather than bad mouth, like you said, I'll just never return. It seems that Pittsburgh peeps are not so snotty about food (yet), but I'm going to make this a foodie purpose in this town -- to expect nothing but the best in food, service and guest experience.

Great post!