Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Waiter, I'd like a reality check, please!

I saw a link to this article in last week's LA Times on Michael Ruhlman's great blog. It is an article by chef Thomas Keller (left), owner of the celebrated The French Laundry about the new role of chefs/restaurant owners and the ever expanding responsibility they face. It's not just about working the line anymore. This is a great article, and I agree with Ruhlman's assessment that it is "A must read for chef-owners, exec chefs and chefs de cuisine, any professional cook, really."

My favorite quote from the article is where Keller recounts the early days of The French Laundry, one of the most respected restaurants in the world and surely one of the most profitable restaurants going, where: "After two years my accountant called and told me that for the first time we had finally made a profit -- $17." Ah, the glamorous restaurant business!


Norm Schoen said...

Yeah, it is almost an weird inverse quadratic equation that the more skilled of a chef you and the longer the hours the less money you make.

bb said...

That's why you've got to be one of those rare chefs who actually sell copies of your cookbook to someone other than friends and relatives. It's all about branding these days. Kind of sad actually that these days it is so cost prohibitive to open a new place that's it's not enough to be a solid cook. You've got to be part fundraiser, part PR person, part accoutant, part HR person, etc.