It’s yet another one of those terms that sounds enlightened to morons who overuse it while being ignorant its true meaning. Now it seems that everything is “made from scratch” but no one really understands that it doesn’t really have a definition and it’s more or less a catch phrase to lure suckers into a place.
Just so you know, I’ve tried really really hard to get these guys to talk to me and I get it, I’m not that important. But please, someone explain to me how the fuck Cheddars is now calling themselves a “Scratch Kitchen”. Seriously, I’ll roll a joint and wait.
You would think that they would be proud and want to show off their “Scratch Kitchens” to a Chef and Writer but oddly, they’re not interested. Maybe they’re worried I’ll steal the family recipes and publish them here but who knows? Again, I have soooo many questions and I’ve tried repeatedly to contact them. It’s an open invite anytime they want to grab and drink and talk food and cooking. What I do know is that by even the loosest usage of the term, they’re still a far cry from being up to par.
So where do we draw the line?
This is a tough call and it really comes down to the Chef and a range of factors such as space and labor cost. At the same time, a lot a Kitchen Managers cut corners for the simple fact that they’re too lazy to do things the right way. They simply don’t give a shit about the food.
It’s a balance between ideals and practicality and being able to push your Kitchen to the limits and then making sure that you have the clients to support it.
Have I had to compromise?
Oh yeah, I’ve certainly worked at a few shitty places that I wasn’t proud to in order to pay my bills. The reason I have such issues with Sysco isn’t that I come from some overly pretentious background, it’s that I’ve spent way too much time dealing with their bullshit already and can say with absolute certainty that they’re the worst thing to happen to real cooking since the Microwave.
Yes, I rather roast bones for stock the right way but some places I simply can’t and it’s a battle that I can’t win. Instead, I focus on what I can do. That’s one of the beautiful things about cooking, if you know what you’re doing, you don’t need much other then heat, a sharp knife and a few simple ingredients.
It’s a great ideal
Call me weird, I’m used to it, but when I go out to eat, I rather have a small menu of things that I might not be familiar with but that the Chef is amazing at than 40 items of mediocre bullshit that’s trying to make sure it pleases everyone. Again, as a Chef it’s a matter of working with what you have and responding to factors that are out of your control. You might not be able to make all of your pastas from scratch but you can still make that ravioli that you’re known for as well as the sauce. It’s a matter of doing the best you can with what you have and finding ways to raise the bar. It’s not that hard to grow your own herbs or at least a few of the basics
Yes, when you’re at home and you’re hungry, you won’t be waiting for bread to rise to make a sandwich and I’d be lying if I said I did. Even if you eat like shit six nights a week, if I can get you to cook real food for yourself just once a week I’m happy with the impact.