We have a special request this week from a well-known F&B patron touching on the subject of where our food comes from.
In this day and age, people often disconnect from the animal they are eating, but we shouldn’t forget that they possess more than just a few cuts of meat on them. Growing up with summers spent on my grandparents’ farm, I had my fair share of pet chickens for dinner. Countless sunburns were acquired from fishing and coming home to my grandfather gutting and cleaning river perch on a makeshift 2×4 cutting board.
Let us praise Chinese culture for keeping similar practices alive in wet markets and side alleys around town, as keeping to these traditional ways remind people where their food comes from.
Now let’s look at some common restaurant complaints aimed at preventable, yet harmless issues we chefs face.
As some people may know, before my life as a chef I was a professional cyclist, smooth legs and all. If you think shaving your knee and back of the ankle is difficult, try shaving an entire pig. Pigs are furry animals and after blanching, shaving and burning all the hairs we can find, there’s always one or two remaining. Ingesting one won’t kill you.
Scales are basically the hair of the fish. While they should not be found anywhere on a fillet, they do occasionally find their way onto the plate. I actually had a dish where I would take the scales, dehydrate them and fry them at super high temperatures until they puff like quinoa or grains. Funnily enough I must have sold thousands of that dish and never had a complaint.
Bones of any type
We’ve all been there, munching away on a delicious sausage or spaghetti bolognese and – CRUNCH – bite right into that tiny bone. You feel betrayed by your food, by the restaurant, by the chef. It strains a relationship, the same way I have trust issues with pitless olives. You swear off them like an ex-girlfriend until you see them at a party and hey – they’re looking pretty good. She said she had changed, but you knew the risk, and she broke your heart again.
All of the aforementioned items of course should not be found in a properly prepared dish. We only ask that you understand that if you find any of these items, either push it to the side or request a new dish. Nothing listed will do you any harm (except maybe a chipped tooth.)