To read Chef Todd’s previous diary entries go here.
Chapter 9: So you think you’ve got what it takes to work at Bestiality?
Recently it was brought to Chef Todd’s attention that a restaurant in Bloomington, IN had come under fire for clarifying what was expected of their cooks in a craigslist ad.
Because I will be zeroing in on a space any day now, I consulted Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and came to the conclusion that I should investigate the hiring practices of inferior restaurants.
When I actually saw the ad, needless to say I was appalled at what many considered to be Draconian rules and regulations. They reminded me more of the average code of conduct applying to the break room only after one is hired to be a greeter at Wal-Mart.
I immediately took to laptop and posted an ad of my own – an ad that I crafted to pay homage to the old way, the right way, of doing things while making them even more perfect by applying my opinions and flavor programs.
Think you’ve got what it takes to work at Bestiality, you Bozo?
Line Cook (Albuquerque)
To be a line cook at Bestiality you…
Per Usual, I will leave you with a quote:
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your whole life”
Chapter 10: Servers make too much money and MUST be stopped
I am VERY excited to announce that I have decided on a space for the restaurant, and am currently in talks with the voicemail at the real estate company about getting the current tenant evicted so I can begin renovations for Bestiality.
I think that the problem may be that the broker is aware that I have not yet completed my menu as well as my Chef Todd’s mandatory training laws for all new personnel yet, and is apprehensive about getting his feet wet with someone so unprepared. Well, fair enough. I should get to work.
Which brings me to my next topic.
They are the necessary evils of the restaurant business, the kind of shady characters that I so badly wish I could do without but alas, they have weaseled their way into the system and have spread like greedy little termites.
I am talking about the servers.
As you know, I am a chef, which means I have spent long hours on the kitchen battlefields, often during unpaid internships at very important restaurants. I have watched as these servers show up, bitch about their lives for 20 or 30 minutes, sell some of their doodles on Etsy through their iPhones, and then wait on three tables and walk out of the place with $500 in their pockets. Over a year I have become an expert at picking these money grubbing little bastards out of a crowd, with that telltale look of entitlement on their stupid faces as they waltz in to work and make rent in one shift. I hate them.
The problem is that everyone who works in a kitchen was never given a chance to work in the dining room. ALL of us love interacting with the public so much, and no matter how hard we tried to score a job as a busser we were told that we would never amount to anything more than a dishwasher.
Every year, as I watch them have the privilege of interacting with high-maintenance clientele while I was stuck in the safety of the kitchen with my peers, I have grown more and more jealous. Even though it is the most well known fact in the restaurant business that the front of the house makes more money than the kitchen, I was never given the opportunity to get myself to think about asking to transition to a job there because I was so busy being upset about not working there.
I am also aware that most customers are completely in the know about the server epidemic, and to ease your minds as patrons I want to lay out Chef Todd’s Revolutionary New Way of Making Sure Everyone Makes the Same Thing Except For The Servers (CTRNWOMSESTSTEFTS). When you are presented with a check, and see the blank tip line staring back up at you, it is time to make an important decision, and I want you to feel better equipped to do it.
The basics of CTRNWOMSESTSTEFTS at Bestiality:
You will never, ever be forced to look your server in the eye again once you have purchased your mandatory dessert. I have hired special check collecting and processing personnel who will handle the transaction from here. Their salary will be paid with tips.
The breakdown of your tip at Bestiality:
It is important for you to know where your hard earned money goes once you have decided to convert it into gratuity. Here is a breakdown.
40% to the check collecting and processing personnel
45% to the kitchen, to be divided up evenly
1% to coat check
2% to the hostess
2% to the graphic designer for my business cards
1% to the florist
2% to the local center for children who want to become chefs
3% to myself for non-restaurant related grocery needs
1% to the mailman, because he is prompt each day
1% burned daily in our custom-built stone hearth as an offering to the gods of cookery
1% to the builder of our custom stone hearth that is truly the soul of Bestiality (besides Chef Todd, of course).
As you can see, your tip money goes a very, very long way and touches the lives of those who actually deserve the money. If you’re wondering why I don’t take a cut of the money, It is because I do this out of my love and passion for the craft and do not require any compensation for this beyond the yearly salary I take for myself.
I am hoping that other prolific restaurant personalities, the Danny Meyers of the world for example, will acknowledge CTRNWOMSESTSTEFTS and let it start working for them as it becomes doctrine in their establishments as well.
My work for the day is done, and, per usual, I leave you with a quote:
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.”
– Ray Kroc
Chapter 11: As a customer, you are on a need to know basis
First off, I am frustrated to inform you that the space I had decided on for Bestiality has once again fallen through. The owners of the current restaurant in that space, who will remain nameless save for when I invoke Vali, the Norse god of revenge and retribution who ALSO just happens to be one of the sons of Odin, to visit them in their sleep and asphyxiate them with marshmallow peeps, have felt it necessary to file a restraining order against myself and my contractor. Apparently they couldn’t handle the way my awe-inspiring presence was affecting their current staff as I assumed the liberty to take measurements so I could begin to plot out my dream kitchen. These very staff members will be given one chance, and once chance only, to repent once I have taken my rightful place at the helm of the world’s ultimate restaurant.
This brings me to my contemplations for today – I have realized that, at the end of the day, the customer is really on a need-to-know basis when it comes to dining in my restaurant.
Ancient Egyptian laborers, who were in fact craftsmen while many assume they were slaves, would routinely band together into phyles (Greek for “tribe”) and assign colorful names to their groups like like “The Friends of Khufu” or “Drunkards of Menakaure.” It is my goal for a similar kind of spirit to pervade the dining room of Bestiality, encompassing the staff and bewildering the patrons.
The dining room will be broken down as such, and for example if a customer were to call and ask very politely (other dispositions will not be tolerated and will result in immediate termination of the phone call) to reserve banquette #2A4, he or she would have to be able to correctly identify that area of the restaurant as Heit-el-Ghorab, or, “The Wall of the Crow.” This is my litmus test for whether or not they are ready to handle the cerebral nature of my tasting menus – if they can’t get the species of bird right than how can they be expected to understand why lichen works better than breadcrumbs as coating for the schnitzelstaffel? Those who are arrogant to enough to think they can determine their own seating arrangement and then fail this test will be identified daily on Chef Todd’s facebook page.
Chef Todd is confident that each of his potential regulars will excitedly immerse themselves in ancient Egyptian history prior to dining at Bestiality, which will save him the Sisyphean task of visiting each table to explain what is actually happening/about to happen to them. If they are absolutely insistent on having the restaurant concept explained to them, Chef Todd would refer the patron to Amazon, where they can purchase his book, Why am I at Bestiality? And other infuriating queries, available for $43.95 from Penguin Books as soon as he writes it and procures a publishing deal.
The modern diner wants to be confused, and recalling what curiosity did to the cat they know to refrain from asking silly questions like, “What is the deal with the décor here in relation to the food,” or, “Why are the menus laid out in hieroglyphics that resemble emojis? Is that a picture of Lobster Thermidor?”
Of course this transition into hieroglyphics for the menu was no small feat, and I was forced to fire my current fontographer when he grew insolent and mentioned the invoices that I have yet to pay. I reminded him that, when I had discovered him in the beginning, he was nothing in the world of restaurants, haphazardly relying on the use of Copperplate Gothic Bold for nearly EVERY single menu he had been previously commissioned to design. I had given him the opportunity to work with a living demi-god, and he has squandered it. On his way out the door I promised to wait until right after his funeral to vandalize his tombstone in Comic Sans.
At the end of the day, the Egyptian artisan/craftsman wanted nothing more than a hot meal and great time, which is why this concept translates so well into the restaurant business. By dining at my restaurant, you are furthering a tradition that is older than our story – building our own Great Pyramid, so to speak – and I know that, because you aren’t me, there is a void in your life and hopefully this small contribution can help at least a tiny bit.
This is all you need to know about my restaurant, and if you do not yet have this knowledge you will seek it out. The Pharaohs let the gods do their advertising for them, and I am cutting out the middle man because no one listens to gods anymore, they only listen to me.
I have much work to do, as it may be challenging to source such a substantial amount of ink made from pure gold – I will start by wearing my chef coat into the nearest Staples and demanding to speak with the man in charge of ancient lettering.
Per usual, I will leave you with a quote:
“If you trust men, you trust water in a sieve”
– Egyptian Proverb
Chapter 12: Don’t Think You Could EVER Date Chef Todd
First off, before I illustrate my primary objective, I would like to inform you that I have found a new space for my restaurant – an abandoned train station outside of Albuquerque. My restaurant would, of course, spearhead the development and revitalization of the entire rail yard community, drawing other businesses as well as fostering the production of a very large roller rink – which will be catered by Bestiality. Imagine roller-skating while consuming the single greatest hot dog you have ever had, while downing a goblet of barely passable local wine, and you’ve pretty much got it. The Rink at Chef Todd Piazza will also serve as a concert venue, and I am looking forward to confirming a talent lineup that culminates with the London Philharmonic Orchestra performing musical interpretations of my flavor programs. The audience for the first showing of this opus will be limited to myself only.
Which brings me to my second point, the reasons why you, as a regular person, could never, ever date Chef Todd. As you all know, I am a chef. My choice of profession alone makes my time far too valuable for any potential suitors, yet for those who need further explanation as to why their advances are continually spurned – here is a list to break it down for you.
1. I am a chef, and chefs have long hours.
Most days I clock in around 3:30 AM to begin prep, with hopes of being done early and getting out by 4:30AM the following morning. This leaves -1 total hours for human contact outside of my kitchen temple
2. My hands are for touching fine, expensive ingredients
They are not to be tainted by the flesh of average, ordinary people like you. I’m sorry; yet again I am not sorry. If you were to take a beautiful, farm-fresh piece of seasonal white asparagus and rub your grubby little paws on it, it would no longer be fresh. You see, I can’t have that at my restaurant. My fingers are trained for one purpose only.
3. I will never cook for you at home
Your inexperienced palate could never hope to provide me with the validation I am looking for regarding even the most basic dishes that I prepare, like my trademarked Chef Todd’s Best You Have Ever Tasted Icelandic Skyrr with Crowberries. I will also be far too busy coddling my perfect chef’s sandwich of tomato, bacon, and egg, at a pace to ensure that it is, in fact, perfect EVERY time, to ever toss together any scraps for your trough. I may let you have the privilege of watching me eat it while you sip lukewarm tap water out of a Dixie cup (I don’t want your clumsy fingers breaking my fine china), but I would refrain from getting what is left of your hopes up.
4. If you listened to me discuss food, without someone to filter it into laypeople’s terms, your head would explode
You are an idiot. Granted, everyone but me is an idiot but you are particularly idiotic. You know how I know? You have tried to pursue a relationship with a demigod.
5. I am a chef, and no one could ever, ever understand what that could be like but another chef.
In the case of Chef Todd, there aren’t even any other chefs who can understand. My mind is like a superhighway of flavor programs and plating arrangements, I exist on a different level than any of you so HOW could you EVER expect to be able to carry my seed? I am sweet. I am savory. I am LIVING UMAMI.
6. Your occupation is of minimal importance, and a child with a severe learning disability could do your job for you, and better.
I am a chef, I have to do ALL of the ordering or the patrons will NOT get fed. I have to manage a crew of derelicts through fear while instilling in them the sense that they will never be ANYTHING without me. I have to COOK FOOD. How could you possibly think I could ever find you or your silly little job to be captivating in any way whatsoever?
7. You read food magazines, and therefore I loathe you.
In my opinion, one could gain more insightful views on cookery by way of reading and analyzing the words on street signs. All of the bright colors and pretty pictures in your copy of Food & Wine Magazine exist solely to distract you from the pathetic, horrible life you lead. Of course you’ll spend $50 on a bottle of piss-poor olive oil at Williams Sonoma, which you will use to follow a recipe that requires drowning a shitty piece of salmon in it and pairing the whole monstrosity with a dreadful California Chardonnay from a producer who received a high-rating based solely on the full page ad they took out. Of course you will. I hate you.
8. Though you are, undoubtedly, used to spending time at night all alone, this will DEFINITELY not change if you tried to date me.
Plus if we ever were to live together, you would fuck up every single piece of beautiful cookware I own by washing it the way you think you should, or read about in one of your Food Network cookbooks by Ina Garten or the one with the spiky hair there…
9. People are terrified of me, and you should be too.
The fact that you think I would ever date you is very, very offensive to me.
10. I am a chef, and my passion is for cookery and cookery only.
I did not choose this life, this cross to bear. I had no other choice. The world, as we know it, depends on my menus to keep it inspired and save it from descending into darkness once again.
11. Not only am I a chef, but also I am an artist and a brand.
You are the human equivalent of a dish that looks marginal but tastes very, very unbalanced. I have devoted my life to making ugly vegetables, like carrots, into objects of beauty, which unfortunately leaves no time to do the same with you.
12. It’s not me – it’s you.
I’ve got one word for you: Hubris.
That perfectly represents the idea of you thinking you could ever date someone so far superior to yourself. My meteoric rise to culinary fame is a journey that only allows room for one, myself, though to be honest I would not so much as let you check my baggage for the trip.
I like to think that this letter should serve as a sufficient response to your inquiry as to whether or not I’m seeing anyone. If you desire further clarification I will urge you to procure one of our custom-made Bestiality business cards so you can make a reservation, like everyone else, and see my art for what it is.
As always, I will leave you (everyone, not just you- you aren’t that special) with a quote:
‘When you acknowledge, as you must, that there is no such thing as perfect food, only the idea of it, then the real purpose of striving toward perfection becomes clear: to make people happy, that is what cooking is all about.’
– Thomas Keller
Chapter 13: Conducting Interviews
Today is a very busy day and I have no time to exchange pleasantries. I have been conducting front of the house interviews for Bestiality (opening date TBD) and, upon speaking with one of these little shit-stains in particular, felt the need to re-open my diary after an admittedly prolonged absence.
It went like this – I was in the middle of explaining my firm policy of abolishing the tipping system so I can take from the undeserving waitstaff and give to my kitchen crew. Now what these front of the house types don’t understand is that everyone who works in the kitchen never had the opportunity to choose our profession. We were never able to walk into a restaurant and make a decision all by ourselves regarding whether we’d like to toil away in a hot, sweaty kitchen for $10/hr or work with the general public and increase our income potential astronomically. We never had the option of choosing a job that literally anyone can do which pays hundreds and hundreds more dollars per day than the other job that anyone can do, which we opted for. I knew that my hands were crafted by a god to do much more important work than dropping off plates, illegibly scribbling down orders, and smoking cigarettes before work.
So I’m in the middle of driving this point home brilliantly when this little bastard looks me straight in the eye and says, “Chef Todd, you DO understand that, if given the choice, a very high percentage of the world’s population would wholeheartedly agree that the job of the garbage man is exponentially more important and indispensable than the work that a chef does, right?”
While my knee-jerk reaction would be to drag this little worm into the bathroom and drown him in the toilet over the course of 5 or 6 hours, I knew that would take time and I, as previously mentioned, had a hostess/guest relations liaison interview in 10 minutes. I picked up the phone and started to dial 911, I figured I’d let the police sort this one out while they keep this little Neanderthal on ice. However, before I could even finish explaining his crimes to the dispatch person, he had neatly packed up his things and walked out the door, stealing one of my sought-after Bestiality ink pens in the process.
My rage knew no bounds, and I decided that I would write him a letter explaining exactly why I’m more important than a garbage man. I got up and left the public library in a huff, completely blowing off the hostess interview, and headed home to pen my retort. On the way, I passed the space where I think I may one day finally open Bestiality and realize my restaurant dreams.
Once safely at home with my laptop, I snipped a handful of fresh chervil from the garden, muddled it with Genever, and poured over ice. I needed a very special cocktail for this and as it turned out, the flavor program was just right. I will have my head kitchen farm bar mixo-chef-ologoist add this to our future cocktail list immediately.
First off, I do not believe in “garbage.” When I open my restaurant, not only will we secretly compost in all of our neighbor’s yards as a special favor to them, but all of the other refuse will put to use to create and beautify parks along the side of the highway. This Chef Todd museum/monument/gift to the people will be my way of giving back to the community while completely relieving myself of any need for trash pickup. This trend will one day be as important as solar power and electrical cars, and you can remember where you heard about it first.
Admittedly, I am too distracted to properly compose the letter, given that I have so many irons in the fire. In addition to trying to find a space for my debut restaurant, Bestiality, I am also in talks with investors about a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th space, including a better version of the edible forest from Willy Wonka at the Bestiliaty GastroPettingZoo.
If you are on my mailing list, you are very lucky. Not everyone’s inbox can handle the kind of tidings I bring, and this next announcement is no exception:
To commemorate the grand opening of my first restaurant, I will be holding a pop-up at my third restaurant, the virtual reality, “gotta shuck em’ all” oyster shanty, to promote my second eatery, a buffet that exclusively serves different interpretations of traditional communion wafers, each made with water and salt from different parts of the globe. Tickets will be $273/head (not including gratuity because I’ve stopped all of that) and will include pairings of natural, biodynamic, house-blessed holy waters – including the famous dessert holy water, Lacryma Chef Todd, a blend of hand-harvested tears from the rare occasion that I find myself crying over how perfect my food is. These pairings will be lovingly coordinated by our team of Holy Water Sommeliers.
I am out of time, but will leave you with a quote as always,
“If you are not extreme, then people will take shortcuts because they do not fear you”
– Marco Pierre White