“I might dabble in some food writing,” I announced one night to a couple of buddies over dinner and wine. “Food writing” “shur” what do you know about that?” says my very good unsupportive pal. Now, in her defense, there has been a fair few lemons thrown at her in life and she is not yet at the stage of making lemonade. What do I know about food? Well let me see, haven’t I been eating the bloody stuff all my life.
No news here that I love good fresh food. I don’t necessarily need the theatrics in the form of gases coming from my plate; I need the theatrics to come from real people, the waiters, the hostess, the bar man, the chef, the overall experience.
Fine dining is my least favorite way to dine. I don’t like the pompous experience to it. I like to rock up to a food establishment, a restaurant, a bar, a food truck and all I ask, that it is fresh and made as if you actually care.
It doesn’t matter to me if I have eaten the best food in Dublin if the waiter/waitress is surly. I can’t understand if I ask a waiter about where the fish is from, or how is something cooked and they haven’t the faintness idea and really couldn’t care less. The food maybe great, the décor extraordinary, probably a brilliant chef in the kitchen pouring his/her love into the food and it shows, but guess what you lost me at your waiter. Your brand is not just your food people, it is absolutely every single thing and person in your establishment, and all associated with it.
If you asked me if I could recall my favorite meal of all time, my answer would be a resounding YES despite the fact it was 24 years ago…I kid you not. It was on Cape Cod, a food truck selling lobsters rolls and a beer for 6 dollars. Price point was crucial at that time, so ticked that box, two very good looking boys selling them, ticked that box, a group of people gathered to the left of the truck to savor every bite, to moan and groan with all who were gathered there to share and marvel at the offering, ah connection, ticked that box. Sons of fishermen making a few bucks for college, they told a great story, ticked that box; it’s all about the story. Years later, I detoured from Boston one weekend determined to find that lobster truck. It was there! I nearly crashed the car. The lobster roll was as delicious as I remember it. The boys were nowhere to be seen; maybe they were struggling with the exams. Some hip cool kids with earphones replaced them, No connection, and no people to the left giggling with delight wondering if they would have another. There was no story, no making summer memories; it had become, albeit very good, just another lobster roll.