For me, every day is the first day of a menu! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the stress relief of knowing a menu so well I can sail through the prep without much thought. And of course, I can make two or three days worth of prep together, but unless I start fresh everyday, it is harder for me to maintain my edge. You see you never know who you may be serving!
What we do know is that our business depends on repeat customers. So every day has to be fresh or we potentially loose first time customers who dine with us. Lenore and I help each other to get in the game on days that we aren’t. We leave at least 30 minutes before a class just to clear our heads and get excited about the recipes we are doing. And even when it is hard to do, when the first guests arrive, new or not, we almost instantly get into the game as if we were some how plugged into110 current!
The potential for bad press can spread pretty far with one underwhelmed person. Cultivating good buzz one customer at a time is what we strive to do, and when the customer is an unidentified food writer dining with us, it can pay off in a big way. Arriving to work after two days away this past week, our voice mail was extra full! It seems an article about us was in the Sunday Nov 1,2009 Oregonian Travel section. We had no idea! Many people called wanting to learn more and even to sign up.
So when I tell my interns that “you are only as good as your last banquet or meal,” I mean, do not become too complacent or comfortable. Keeping an edge is the best way to demand the most from yourself. Don’t rest on your laurels. Demand more from yourself.
After all the years I have been cooking, I am still working on my self esteem. When customers come back over and over again, it is the best affirmation I can get. Knowing they trust us, often coming even when they don’t know what we’re serving, makes me more determined than ever to work on that “edge.”