I'm sorry if this is a bit off topic but your post reminded me of it.....last week the Trib. published it's annual restaurant review. It contained an article about pastry chefs. I thought the piece was poorly written, it didn't seem like the author knew first hand what they were saying.
I took offense specificly to his mention of why many places don't have pastry chefs....in which he said they require elaborate equipment and alot of space. Unforunately I don't have an exact quote, but that was the just of it.
That's soooo incorrect! I bet I don't have over $1,500. worth of equipment that is specific to baking in my department. A good pastry chef knows how to make something from nothing. I have nothing in the way of special equipment and I can make anything! And I don't have enough space for 2 people to work with-out touching.
I find this wrong infomation offensive, mis-leading and a dis-service to it's readers and all people who wish to have fresh pastries served to then instead of the frozen Cr** that most places offer. This kind of information scares many restaurants owners and chefs away from having their own pastry departments! It limits opportunties and closes minds....words written by a critic who didn't do his homework!
How dare s/he! An uninformed food critic is not only a disservice to cooks and chefs, but also to restaurants and diners. He also discredits his fellow food critics.
I am currently reading Dining Out by Dornenburg. It's about the food criticism arm of the food industry. He does extensive interviews with several critics. It seems that food critics who care about their job, the industry and customers can't stand fellow food critics who write only to throw their ego around.
As if pastry chefs aren't disrespected enough. My coworker and I were tempering chocolate on a stainless steel surface because the Exec. Chef didn't want to buy us a piece of marble when all other tempering methods failed. We finally have marble but that's just because we found it on the street when a posh hotel was renovating. We got it cut for free by bartering three desserts with the construction guys.
Yes, pastry stations do need to purchase some of their own equipment because we don't need our products tasting of onions and fish sauce. But it rarely costs more than $300 for our own rubber spats, chinois, and storage containers. Everything else, we rely on our ingenuity. And this is only because we take pride in and enjoy our work and want to share with the customers.
I can undesrtand your frustration, the article makes pastry chefs looks like a bunch of spoiled diva. Pooh is righ, you really should write to the newspaper. Sometimes they need to hear from someone whos been there to see the reality of things.