Thursday, January 8, 2015

And this is why I often avoid Internet forums...

So I take a lot of pride in the work I do as a cook. Both professionally in my own store and in my SCA life, my cooking and the work I go through to put on a good meal for people is a source of pride and joy in my life. It's why I tend to get frustrated with folks online, who prompt questions like "what is a bad feast experience" and Jose who respond with generally poor reasons to be unhappy.

I'm not saying that it is wrong to complain, or to have concern over an issue. It's not wrong at all, and Anne of their points are quite valid. I too worry about properly cooked food, I too express concern over health of my guests in the kitchen. I too would be worried about allergies if I had any, who would want to be worrying about dieing for eating a nut?! These are all valid concerns, and things that would make a feast experience a bad one.

But then there are just some...whiny cry babies. I know the type, because I work in the industry that deals with them on a daily basis. People who have "concerns" or complaints that have nothing to do with a situation the cook can (or should) control. And seeing people go off on these topics, it just makes my teeth itch. I'm gonna tackle a few of these concerns , and really show why it's not that valid.

1) Servers

A lot of the complaints were focused on the servers, how there's not enough/not educated/seemed inattentive. And really, that annoys me. Everyone who serves feast at an event is a godsend, volunteers who bend over backwards to take care of others. Often times its younger children and teens, people who are turned away from many service roles and just want to be of help. Sometimes it's good gentles who couldn't afford feast/couldn't reserve in time and are willing to work for a meal.

None of them are paid, none of them are required to be there and none of them are responsible to you to have be same level of cheer and ass-kissing attentiveness that your waiter at Denny's will. They're not paid, they so this by choice, so shut up. 

2) Lack of modern food

I don't hear people complaining that there is a lack of modern fabrics on the Queens dress, or a lack of modern inks on a scroll, but it's ok to complain about a lack of mac'n'cheese for your five year old?

I get it, some period food can have strange or weird textures/palettes. Sometimes period food can be intimidating to first time eaters and I get that entirely. But to say a reason you wouldn't go to an SCA event feast is because the food isn't modern enough for you just maddens me. Why would you not want to try and experience period food?!

As for not catering to children needs or unique diets...there just isn't enough money or time. I don't have enough funds to spare (more on that in a moment) and I don't have dedicated teams ready. I have a limited kitchen with limited time and space, and often I have a very loose handle on WHO will be in my kitchen to assist. I can't cater to every whim, every last minute notification, every picky eater. And I don't deserve to have my feast called bad because of it.

3) Money

Find me anyplace that can provide you a 4-5 course meal including drinks all for 10 dollars. It doesn't exist, so why the hell do you wanna say the cost of feast is what turns you off?

I have packed and brought my own food when I wasn't a fan of feast, or whe daytripping a smaller event. It costs me regularly 12-15 dollars to feed myself, more than the cost of the whole bloody feast!! I don't just understand how someone could gripe and complain about this cost.

"But Chris, think of the price of kids! A whole family would be so expensive!"

You're right, it would be. It would be the same if not more expensive if you went to Red Robin or Logan's Steakhouse. 

And do you really grasp how hard it is to feed everyone at 10 a head? For a 100 feast I get 10 dollars a person. Ontop of the 100 people, I need to feed high table for free which is an additional 16 people. Then including servers and the feast crew and you end up with feeding 130-140 individuals, for only 1000 dollars. That's breakfast, lunch, dinner and a small travelers Faire meal on Friday nights for just 1000 dollars. That's 7.69 I get to spend per person, just to break even, and feed everyone enough food.

Anyone who can pull off that amazing feat of purchasing should be admired and respected, not scorned because of the price asked.

Sorry to go off on a small rant, this kind of thing just really itches me. There are valid concerns and complaints that can make a feast bad, but too many of those comments came off as the type of patron I dread coming into my workplace.