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Saturday, July 21, 2012

How NOT to Run a Restaurant

Your Head Trucker hasn't watched broadcast television for nigh on twenty years now, so there are a lot of shows I've missed - which is the point.

But every once in a while, on YouTube or Netflix I come across something that engages my interest and is decent enough to watch. Like this one I'm now working my way through the episodes of, Restaurant Impossible. I suppose most of my truckbuddies are already familiar with it, but if you aren't, it's worth a look.

At first, I took the host, Chef Robert Irvine, to be another one of those ranting ravers so very popular now - why do you people out there in TV land like to watch people berating other people and making them feel like shit - dehumanizing them? Which, by the way, takes no talent whatsoever - even a toddler can be ugly and maliciously cruel. Have you ever asked youself why you get off on that? You must, by the tens of millions, or those shows wouldn't stay on the air year after year, now would they?

But as I got into the first episode, I began to detect that underneath the contrived drama, he not only knows his way around a kitchen expertly, but he also has excellent teaching skills and people skills too - between bouts of shouting for the benefit of the cameras, he displays a lot of empathy where it's truly needed. He's a very sharp fellow, and a good guy; he really does help these people, if they have sense enough to learn their lesson.

So I can recommend it for those qualities, and because it's very educational. (Also because the butch head carpenter would be very studly if he had some hair on his face and weren't straight as a board - pity.) I've never done any sort of restaurant work, and I see that a lot of other people shouldn't do any. I suppose because no degrees or credentials are required, quite a few simple souls suppose that because they can pour soup out of a can, they can run a restaurant, ooh!

Which is sadly NOT the case, as witness this entirely clueless couple in South Carolina whom Robert labors mightily to enlighten:

And he really rips these cafe queens down in Florida a new one, but it's for their own good:

Somewhere in the back of my mind persists the idea I had in childhood that of course all grown-ups know what they're doing; and so it still registers with a faint shock to learn that they don't. In fact, it seems to me now that the vast majority of folks really haven't got a clue about anything: in many, many cases, what passes for success is really due not to talent or skill but to a kind of animal persistence and just sheer dumb luck.

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