We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Ever seen the TV show? I hadn't, but a chef friend who loves the show advised me to check out the YouTubes. It is entertaining and educational. Chef Gordon Ramsey goes into messed-up restaurants and advises them on how to improve.
You'll never want to go to a mid-range restaurant again to eat their thawed crap. Plenty of Ramsey's job seems to be family therapy. It's a study of excuses, blaming, and scapegoating. The family interactions in the Italian restaurants are hilariously hostile. A sample (lots more fun ones on YouTube):
I was watching a show that Chef Ramsay was on. It wasn't one of his shows, it was some other chef. Who proceeded to give Ramsay unending $h!t. While pounding down some wine during a cooking situation: "What? You're not drinking? How can a proper chef not drink?" He and the other chef were having a competition. One of Chef Ramsay's dishes involved mashed potatoes. Ramsay popped it in the oven. While Ramsay's back was turned the other chef pulled it out, wrote "SHIT" in it with his finger and put it back in the oven. Ramsay ended up losing. I laughed my way through the whole thing.
The sad constant with all of these "Nightmare" restaurants is that the owner stares at the empty tables and insists it's not about the food. The food is great! No one ever complains!
Most guests don't complain about the food unless there's something really wrong. They just don't come back. This never seems to occur to the owners.
Ramsay was at a farm store near my home buying ingredients for a restaurant for one of his shows. I asked the owner how he was, since he has such a reputation for being brusque. She said he was charming.
I felt so bad for the lady who spent more than she had to own a crappy restaurant in a crappy neighborhood with a dufas for a chef.
All the frozen stuff in those restaurants reminds me of one time many years ago when I was on the road in Houston and I stopped in a nondescript restaurant in a strip mall. I was in a mode for sea food so I asked the waitress what kind of fish was in the sea food platter. She said with a straight face "frozen fish like you buy in the store". In stead of being intelligent and getting a cheese burger, I got the sea food platter. Not only was the fish not worth mentioning, but the fried oysters were in the shape of cubes - as though they frozen in an ice cube tray and quickly fried.
Okay, I've embarrassed myself enough with that story... It was a LONG time ago! :-)
My wife loves seafood so while we were visiting Malta (where they supposedly speak and understand English) she noticed a dish with "local fish." She asked the waiter what kind of fish is was. He left and returned about five minutes later and said, "It's fish from around here."
Restaurant Impossible with Chef Robert Irvine is on the Food Network and is really good. He goes into restaurants which are about to go out of business and he helps turn them around in 2 days with 10,000 dollars.
Between Spring 1998 and Fall 2002, we (my late wife and I) started, owned and operated a small (25-seat) delicatessen-style restaurant here in coastal North Carolina. Since it was in a beachfront community on a coastal barrier island, there was (and still is) a distinct "season", as most of the clientele for most of the businesses there is tourist trade. There are a few (but only a very few) food businesses there that operate year-round. Therefore, you must maximize your repeat business during the 6- to 8-months tourist season, if you want to survive.
Many restaurants came and went there (and still do) in one or two seasons. The ones that failed (and continue to fail) followed the same pattern seen here - an arrogant ignorance coupled with almost incredibly poor quality of food and/or service.
We survived quite well, even made a small profit (our place is still there, though under a different business name and owned/operated by other people), well past the 4-year mark, after which roughly 90 to 95 percent of all food businesses are gone, because of a rigid insistence upon the highest degree of cleanliness, food quality and customer service of which we were capable. Nothing was ever frozen except extra bread and dough (which is not damaged by proper freezing, if used within a week), and some fruit juice and soup concentrates - everything else was fresh.
During the season, we were always busy - and much of our business was repeat business, with (after awhile) a fair amount coming from local people, not just tourists and other transients. Places that actually serve good food are difficult enough to find that, if you do it right, people come back, again and again.
That's not easy or simple - even if your menu is relatively simple, as ours was - and it requires a lot of planning and a lot of work, but it's do-able, and it's well worth doing.
If you can't do that, though, you're in the wrong business. There is no food that is improved by freezing, and most - including all meats and seafoods - sustain damage to at least some extent, as far as flavor and quality are concerned.
There are simply a lot of people who have little or no understanding of what is required to prepare and serve good quality food in a clean and efficient manner - and most will simply never understand how really badly they are treating their customers. Many, in their supreme arrogance, don't even want to know - they are blind to the facts, secure in their belief that they are doing everything just the way it should be done.
End result: A lot of mediocre-to-really bad restaurants - which, fortunately, don't last very long. People simply don't come back - and word gets around. After awhile - unless, somehow, they improve the place - the money runs out, and they close up, after running at a loss for awhile.
I have no idea how "real life" the places in that show are - there's not very much reality in most "reality TV", after all - but a lot of the stuff looks like it's based on what produced the results I saw in a lot of food places while doing research before we opened our restaurant. Most people simply never seem to grasp that they are supposed to operate to please the customer, not just to suit themselves - and their businesses show that attitude.