Rules of the Plate – Bloggers

I take blogging and this site very seriously. It is just a hobby and I don’t make a cent from doing it. However, I am well aware that yelp, chowhound, citysearch and those with personal blog sites can significantly hurt a restaurant business. I am all for free speech, but I think our comments and reactions should be written responsibly. A friend of mine wrote the following: 

Rules of the Plate.

Thoughts for Bloggers Who Write about Restaurants

 1.     Understand that a restaurant is a serious business for the owners,

It is not fun, it is not a hobby…chefs, and everyone from the front of the house to the back of the house have their lives on the line.  Negative comments on the web especially hurt when they are from people who don’t know anything about the business, or worse, have an ax to grind.

2.  Accuracy:

Knowledge, knowledge, knowledge:  For example, your first time tasting sweetbreads does not make you an expert on sweetbread preparation. Experience, knowledge, and awareness are vital.

3. Objectivity:

If you personally don’t care for a dish, you have a responsibility to say that it wasn’t to your liking, but not that it was executed poorly. If you don’t know proper execution of a dish, you can’t comment that it was executed poorly.  If you don’t like something, is it because the preparation is “wrong” or is it an ingredient, group of ingredients or combination of ingredients or cooking technique that doesn’t work for you?   If you know enough to make a professional assessment of the chef as a professional fine, but otherwise think before you write and edit so you can defend your position intelligently.

4. Understand service in a restaurant

Don’t ever go to a quality restaurant without a reservation.  Always arrive on time.   Understand the process of seating and the difficulties a restaurant can have getting you seated at your exact time because someone else is holding over at the table that is assigned to you.  Never “no show”…don’t make three or more reservations around town and then decide at the last minute where you are going and leave the other restaurants hanging.   This really hurts the restaurant’s business.

5. The Chef’s Goal and Your Reactions: 

Cuisine is both an art as well as science.  Understanding the goal of a chef will help you appreciate his cuisine and give perspective to your reactions.

6.  Quality restaurants are fragile beings–if you like dining in nice places being well served, take the time to write intelligently and considerately about the places and people who are trying to serve you.   You will be the real beneficiary.


2 Responses to “Rules of the Plate – Bloggers”

  1. 1 john June 24, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    When something is not to your liking, do you just tell the waiter or chef and never order it again or do you expect to be reimbursed for it?

  2. 2 lizziee June 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    First of all, it is crucial that you complain with respect. Also I am not looking for something for nothing. I don’t eat the entire dish and then complain on a blog that it was horrible.

    The expression you get more with honey than vinegar is apt and true. Honey is not only easier on the service people in this world who are just doing their jobs, but it is less stressful for you. Patiently, quietly and calmly, I mention my concern to either my server or the manager. I am very specific about my concerns and more than willing to accept that my take on a particular dish could be wrong and that this is what the chef had in mind and not faulty execution.

    Not liking something is no excuse for not paying for it.

    I was just at The Lobster in Santa Monica and was served a tomato and mayo roll, not a lobster roll or at least not a lobster roll that a Bostonian is accustomed to having. (see pics under The Lobster). I politely asked to speak to our server and said this is just not a lobster roll; I had taken one small bite of the filling. She took it away and I ordered some raw oysters instead – the equivalent in price of what the lobster roll was. I paid for the oysters willingly and the lobster roll was taken off the bill.

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