Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eating Out Brandy On A Sunday Morn

Gordon Ramsey is the type of boss that, if I was at a pub and was on my way to take a painfully monster piss and he was on fire, directly in my path to the pisser. I would pinch the end of my wiener and stop to look soulfully into his eyes, so he could see my teeth floating behind my corneas. Then I would doff my hat and walk quietly to the pisser while I listened to his fat sizzle outside the door.

That’s not to say that I hate pro chefs or successful restaurateurs. Just that flavor of knowitall, the "so much better than thou", types. I know why the idea sells in the U.S. It’s the same reason that NASCAR does. We’re all waiting for the eventual assassination of Gordon Ramsey. And all I can be is thankful, that I didn’t graduate culinary school to wind up on that bastard's show to eventually become America's culinary Dick Trickle and metaphorically wreck a wok of boiling sea uchins up his rectum.

Normally it would be hard to identify with Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. But deep in your heart...picture having a deep, dark, unscaleable well, in which you kept Gordon Ramsey. And you would just lower some basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil, then bellow “Put the pesto in the basket bitch! Or else it gets the hose again!” You just got a little orgasmic shudder down your spine, didn’t you?

And that’s one thing that I don’t get at the end of the day. From Mel’s Diner on Alice to today’s modern food reality shows, the resplendent bastard of small mindedness is allowed, nay, expected to rule the kitchen with a cocksucker’s hand. It’s the law that the slower and weaker elements in the kitchen be marginalized and mocked in favor of the self proclaimed “Ferraris of Fire and Grease” jealously hiding simple techniques and skills, to play at back of house politics; letting talent go to waste rather than train them properly.

In it’s own sick way, working in a crappy chain kitchen is like running for local office. Better hope you never dated the head Chef’s daughter but didn’t have the good graces to knock her up. The mid-range, quasi chains are even moreso, in that you need a resume AND a hookup with someone more prestigious than a 3 year dishwasher. And then there are the tippy tops, where you’ve essentially got to be either a legitimate culinary genius at the right cocktail party/cocainestravaganza, or the middle child of a financier who is a 52% shareholders of the restaurant’s LLC and the last head chef got fired for OD’ing at the Christmas party right after he got his profit share.

So what does that leave for the wee, short order cook, with a gleam in his eye and a small down payment? Fuckall. Why? #1, it’s a rare bird that can afford to own their own restaurant space anymore. Why again? Because, it’s easier to rent the space to a succession of failing restaurants, rather than try to make it on your own. So the only way you’re buying a place with seats and a stove is in the least likely to succeed of areas where humans live. Why tertiarily? Because they can wait it out for another desperate sucker with a dream to tank his savings and happily burn his credit to cinders while feeding it into their commercial black hole (with a roof leak).

Those places from the days of yore? The one’s that your parents and their parents loved? Businesses that were started on property those plucky go getter’s were able to buy and finance with their average and modest business?  Gone.  Today, there is next to nothing to own for the less than uber-rich without entering into high risk, shady deals with financiers from “now legitimate enterprises” or have part of the local government in pocket for whatever reason. Permits, permits, permits! What’s right changes by the inspector and whom you’ve “made friends with” versus those you can’t afford to socialize with because you can’t support your overhead and the racket too. Conditional use may well have conditions depending on your yearly donorship, if youse knows whats bein implied.  Per se. 

It’s to the point where you’ve gotta suck a long dick just to have a roving hippymobile lunch truck, because fresh ingredients don’t jibe with the “City Plan”. But at the same time, in high school I was eating off of one of the most non-NSF trucks around and it was approved to feed young Fresno Christian minds at $4.00 per tepid, mayo laden, chicken sandwich, sitting in a 90 degree warmer for 2 lunch hours.  And I never saw the health department show up to ensure our youthful culinary health(s).

Wait…what’s that you say? Because it’s sexy and on Food Network, the city thinks it can generate some REAL income off the backs of penniless grub slinging hopefuls, struggling to make a small business work in a hostile economy? Yeah, that sounds like the Fresno I grew up in. Small industries can’t afford to make Bubba the mayor. But if they’re fashionable and making a buck, we’re gonna make sure we get our’s, motherfucker! Who cares about stifling new commercial potential?

Better to pick a corpse now than wait for it to grow full term and attempt some type of mutually beneficial symbiosis. Suck the bastard dry today, because it might not be there tomorrow. Now there’s a platform a politician can win with! 

Vote bipartisan this year.  It's the right thing to do for Wal-Mart, McDonalds and people richer than you could ever imagine becoming.