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A Chef Is Not a Personal Nutritionist

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Would somebody please tell me when Chefs in general, became servants of the public and their every stupid whim? I read  this  recently, thanks to Paula, one of Chef's Kitchen Rant's fans.It was originally a story from the LA Times, USA.

I just find this idea ridiculous. I understand the need for the public to be better informed about what exactly they are eating, but it's not MY job to do it! As a Chef, I see my job as one where I have to 'wow' every customer, exceed their expectations of fine food, indulge them and take them on a journey to the sublime. My job is not to tell them every ingredient I used and in what quantities, how many calories or kilojoules it contains, or what percentage of saturated fat is in each dish.

If I was to start doing that, when would I get time to cook the damn stuff? It's getting more difficult to just cook. New food safety regulations now take up more time than ever. I don't disagree as this helps to keep the public safe and we need these laws to stop the lazy ones getting through. Even if I had to provide all this information, what happens if it's my day off, when some other chef cooks the dish, and gets he recipe slightly wrong? If I was working in the US I would probably be sued!

I don't have a problem with people who want eat food with the knowledge of calorific and nutritional value, just don't come to my place to eat!

What's your thoughts on this, especially those working in the US? As a customer, do you want to see this?


Garlicpbo said...

If you have that much concern about what you stick in your mouth, then you should have the education to go with the concern. If you eat low fat and it says braised in butter....duh? Even once you get a dish, you can pick and choose if it is that important to you. Generally I feel like you can tell if a dish meets your dietary needs, if not, stay home and cook.

purplegirl said...

I don't think it's a terrible idea, with certain limitations. For instance, I think it should only apply to corporate restaurants that have the money to spend to have things analyzed by a professional lab. Also, there should be a statement to the effect of "information is approximate" so that people don't get sued if it's off. The Applebee's chain has already run in to that sort of problem regarding their Weight Watchers menu items (which sound disgusting, mostly!); I have a post about it if you're interested, at

Hellraiser said...

Thanks for the comment Paula, and nice work with the LA Times article :)

Hellraiser said...

Hi Purplegirl :) I agree, I don't fault the idea of people being able to eat like this. There is a market for it, and someone will exploit the niche, good on them I say.

What I disagree with is the fact that this is going to become law in California for all establishments. As you say, it has to be analysed by experts, and only restaurants with enough cashflow are going to manage the cost.

I read your post about the subject at Applebee's, and that is exactly what I was talking about, it's already started.

This information on menus should stay within speciality restaurants and corporate venues, therefore becoming a CHOICE. If the public have the right to choose, I want that right also, and I choose NO :)

Thanks for the comment!

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