5@5 – Chef Josh Grinker
November 1st, 2010
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

We mentioned in our Lunchtime Poll that you'd be hearing about those fine folks at Stone Park Café again, and whaddya know? It’s 5@5 time.

Meet the man behind our managing editor’s Brussels sprouts epiphany - Josh Grinker. He’s the executive chef of the Brooklyn restaurant where he crafts the roasted marrow bones, smoked chocolate ice cream and hanger steaks that ultimately earned the restaurant two stars from the New York Times.

The old adage goes, "everybody has a secret," including chefs - and Grinker should know because, well, he is one.

Five Things Chefs Don't Want You to Know: Josh Grinker

1. There’s butter in everything
"No, that’s not true - there’s also cream and oil.

In every culinary school in America, they hammer home the same three-word mantra to students day after day, year after year, until it’s like a little voice in your brain that guides virtually every culinary decision you will make for the rest of your career: 'Fat is Flavor.' And you know what? It’s true.

You know how you cook a great steak? You slather it in butter, throw it on the grill, paint it with more butter just about constantly, take it off the grill to let it rest - and paint it again. Then you slice it, put a nice big dollop of butter on it and let it gently melt under the broiler. Voila."

2. They aren’t in the kitchen
"The mark these days of a successful chef is that they don’t spend much time in the kitchen. In fact, it’s almost an inverse principle that the better the restaurant, the less chance there is that the chef is back there cooking away. And, it’s almost certainly true that the chef hasn’t picked up a knife since his last appearance on 'Iron Chef America.'

People don’t really seem to understand this. I have a friend who is a waiter at Po in Brooklyn, a small Italian restaurant that opened about four years ago. The original Po, in Manhattan, was once upon a time co-owned by Mario Batali before he sold it and went on to found a restaurant empire.

My waiter friend has people ask all the time if Mario is in the kitchen tonight. Actually, he’s just off the red-eye from Vegas, in a cab this very minute, racing back here to make sure your eggplant Parmesan is up to his specifications."

3. There’s salt in everything
"This simple fact is what separates good cooks from bad ones, or at least flavorful food from bland food. Good restaurant cooks know how to season food and that’s why their food tastes good.

It’s not some genius alchemy of exotic ingredients, or zig zag farm-to-table freshness that makes you coming back wanting more - it’s salt.

I don’t know why lay cooks are so resistant to this ideal, but they are. I taught a class on grilling a steak once and when I showered the beef with a crust of salt there were gasps from the audience as if I had just stabbed a small child. The result was a perfect steak.

When I give people a recipe that invariably ends with ‘salt to taste’ and they tell me it wasn’t as good as mine, I know the reason: not enough salt."

4. Your food was cooked by minions
"Well, not quite - but migrant workers, would-be criminals and mindless idiots? Yes, most definitely. The restaurant business, despite its celebrity pretensions, is a tough business. Profit margins are razor-thin and competition is brutal. Restaurants, to be successful, must get the most skilled laborers possible and pay them as little as possible. That means lots of immigrants. And if you think they’re all legal and paid handsomely for their six-day weeks, well, just enjoy your soup.

The other major demographic working the skilled restaurant job are dumb blue-collar kids who have been lured by the chance of stardom, sort of like playing the lottery.

Oh yeah, there’s one group I forgot: alcoholics."

5. Chefs are jerks
"This is a fact that is nearly universal and one that chefs most certainly want to conceal. The culture of the kitchen is one where abuse is assumed and condoned. Combine that with the pressure of feeding hundreds of diners, lots of details and a militaristic hierarchy and you get some out of control egos.

Many, although not all, chefs are savvy enough to realize that their baby tantrums would be laughed at in the real world, so they step into the dining room in full regalia, all smiles and charm. Rest assured, the more gregarious and charming they are to you, dear diner, the more draconian and out of control they are to that poor fry cook."

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. Debra Hudson

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Career Cook. I have a new idle and its you! Very eliquant and EXACTLY right to my heart! Who am I ....... I am one of the culinary students spoke of in this article. I am also a career changer. I have been a nurse, I have been a customer service agent, and I have been an inside and outside sales rep. Not one of these career choices left me feeling good at the end of the day. Most days I felt sad (as a nurse) stressed (nurse and csr) or not morally straight (sales). When I work in a kitchen at the end of the day I am Happy, delighted, pleased with myself, all be it exhausted, the exhaustion feels satisfying. I wrote a poem once about being a voyeur... but not in the same areana as most people would assume. I am a different kind of voyeur. I love to watch people eat something I created. From the moment they thier eyes first gaze at the food presented before them. The eyes smile if I did my job with a pleaseing presentation. I watch when the diner lifts the fork or spoon to his lips and his facial response as my masterpiece hits the tastebuds awwwwe I did it well at least nobody has spit it out yet It makes everything else un important. Yes, every other job I have had I made a considerable amount of more money more that twice what i am making in the kitchen (side job for now while in school), but at some point your job has to be something that you can live with. I agree chefs for the most part are egotistical jerks, and so .... the brigade makes it possible for an exec chef to be a jerk. He/She learned from the best before him/her. The brigade is longstanding in tradition. I am entering my externship at a very high end French bistro in a very posh area and I consider myself so lucky and so honored that this particular chef has agreed to take me as his extern. This exec chef is a self proclaimed "son of a b****" but he says he is fair. He also gave me a speech about bringing my "A" game and he in turn will push me further than I believe I can go, but the opposite is also true if I don't bring it I will not be pushed I will not be yelled at I will not be a part of his kitchen. I can chop onions for 6 weeks for all he cares .....That seems fair after all the good chef who wrote this article forgot one very important rule "THERE IS NO CRYING IN THE KITCHEN"

    November 9, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  2. Moriah

    Point 5. yes. Chefs are generally jerks. I have worked as a server for many years and their ego's are typically out of control. I often think of them as losers, unable to understand true social function. I will say however, that for the past six months, I have been working for a Chef that is somewhere between Jesus and Ghandi. He is kind to everyone, rarely raises his voice, and apologizes almost immediately if he does express anger. He calls his two little girls every day at staff meal, and he treats his kitchen staff and the front of the house with utmost grace and respect. He is the only chef I have truly respected. Ever.

    November 4, 2010 at 10:00 am |
  3. CareerCook

    As a person who decided to follow his passion over money and have the ability to wake up looking forward to a day at work I am proud of what I do. Too many outsiders are quick to scrutinize without realizing what really goes into your meal. The food service industry is exactly that, service based. It is our ultimate goal- a credo if you will- to provide the best experience to every table and diner as you are our raison d'etre. Hours before the first guests arrive a crew (frequently immigrant, delinquent, and slightly crazy) is working hard butchering, slicing, cutting, braising, cleaning, and preparing the massive amounts of proteins and vegetables that compose your meal. This crew, unbeknownst to you, is often working 6 or 7 days a week for 12-14 hours a day on their feet to make your meal what it is. We often refer to services as "battle" because in searing heat and fast paced movement we are fighting the lackadaisical service staff, needy customers and personal struggles. If you want to label us as crazy do so because it takes a fool to endure this treatment on a daily basis for meager pay, rewarded only with cuts and burns. You as a diner know not who we are, you may only know of the chef you came to enjoy, yet our personal moment of glory comes as your empty plates arrive at the dish washing station. At that moment we have the pleasure of knowing it was all worth it, that you are going home happy with a full stomach and a (hopefully) memorable meal. Gripe if you will when we make mistakes, (remember we are people. Be glad we are not surgeons, an overcooked steak is better than a dead relative,) but when everything goes as it should... revel in the struggle of the fools, delinquents, and immigrants that made that one special moment happen just for you! Thank you

    November 4, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  4. like.. wait a minute... wait...

    is this what housewives and people with desk jobs do all day... respond to this shit all day. i have an idea, go out and have a conversation with someone, and stop having one with your virtual friends on a blogs comment board.

    i cant believe how long this has gone on about this.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:05 pm |
  5. Rick Barbata

    Ditto what El Torbo said. Check out Kitchen Confidential.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:11 am |
  6. Beth

    Oh, and he didn't treat his kitchen staff too poorly, either. It's kind of funny to read the PC reaction to his comments about immigrants and blue collar workers. Congratulations! You provided him with the exact reaction he wanted to provoke! The dude loved to play up his anti-PC, swaggering, rude-dude chef persona. All bark...not much bite. I'm thinking the people who were shocked by this piece have never been in a restaurant kitchen in their lives.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:50 am |
  7. Beth

    I worked for this dude, and trust me; he is getting nothing but kicks out of these comments. While a semi-dick, he was definitely not as flagrantly abusive as many chefs are. I kinda liked him. And his food was sometimes wayyyyy too salty.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:42 am |
  8. billie

    Let's have a toast for the douchebags!

    November 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm |
    • D

      You're going to have to be more specific. Were you referring to yourself?

      November 3, 2010 at 12:54 am |
  9. D

    I've been in the business for 12 years, and I'm hardly a mindless idiot. What Chef Moron Grinker fails to mention is that the truly narcissistic chefs won't hire anyone that they feel is more intelligent than they are, because well it makes them look bad. So, basically they hire people they perceive to be more stupid than themselves, then get pissed off when stuff goes wrong. A chef's choice of kitchen staff is a great indication of the level of intelligence the chef himself and you get what you pay for. My current chef allows us "minions" to create menu items and gives us full credit. He even put my name on one of the items I created, so they aren't all jerks. Also, reading Bourdain's book doesn't make you an industry expert, unless you've actually worked int he business you really don't have a clue what goes on. The stuff chefs really don't want you to know is how often your food gets dropped, picked up, dusted off, and thrown onto your plate. Or how health inspectors are basically too stupid or lazy to realize that no one follows the guidelines when they aren't around. For you jerk-offs that come in 15 minutes before a restaurant closes, you are begging for some nasty surprise in your food, because that pisses everyone in the restaurant off without fail. Servers, cooks, chefs, everyone and they may smile to your face, but they are really hoping you choke on your food at some point or laughing at the cooks spit you are consuming. Enjoy your meal ladies and gentlemen. Just don't piss off the people handling what you are about to eat.

    November 2, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
    • j

      i second that. i work boh and i have yet to experience an obnoxious chef. grinker sounds like a real dick slash bourdain wannabe. i'm sure if i ever meet an egotistic chef i wouldn't even be able to stay at that kitchen through my trail. i'm also not an immigrant, from a blue collar background, or an alcoholic.

      November 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
      • D

        Yeah, I'm not an immigrant either, or blue collar, or an alcoholic. I forgot to mention those gross inaccuracies. I will say there a lot of smokers, I'm not one, but that is simply because most restaurant workers don't get the luxury that their whiny office working counterparts get, like say a regularly scheduled meal break. Plus, we are on our feet for 8 to 12 hours, sometimes more, for one shift. They need to think about doing that five or six days a week, with no breaks, and if you are really busy forget about eating. Most "regular" people would go home crying with post-traumatic stress disorder if they worked a single day in a commercial kitchen. It isn't an easy job, and if you boss is dick it is a thankless job. Also, it is a male dominated industry, so if you are woman you have to be able to hang with the guys. I'm one of two women in the kitchen I'm in now, but I've worked in places where I was the only one. And, believe me just because you are a girl in this business doesn't mean you get any special privileges. You are treated to the same kind of berating and hazing as any of the guy cooks, so you better have thick skin and an attitude. It is a fun job though. You do feel like you accomplished something at the end of the day, especially if the guests like your food. That is why I do it; it is the best feeling in the world when people compliment you.

        November 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
      • gpeters

        You've clearly never worked in BOH. What Ginker says is spot on. Every real cook knows it. I've worked for one or two cool chefs but most are ridiculous. The idea of being a famous chef is on cue now with folks who think because they get cheered at Kareoke they're destined for American Idol stardom. It's unfortunate that the old adage, "an honest day's work for an honest day's pay," is no longer respected. Its undignified how cooks get treated in the kitchen. And despite my excellent skill on the line, during a rush, and handling FOH . . . at the end of the day I probably am an alcoholic.

        February 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Jon

      I think you nailed it on the head. That was a well written response and I appreciate everything you said. I have been in the industry for many years and am a chef. I allow my guys to come up with specials and will give them the credit where credit is due. I like to think I have a pretty loyal staff because I truly try to educate them about food. Most boh people I have run across over the years will leave then they feel that they are not A, appreciated and/or B, learning anything. I think it takes a certain breed to be in this industry. It's really hard work, the pay is generally crap and you have to work in a hot kitchen cooking for Pauly Prissy pants who's now all of a sudden come down with a mystery case of celiacs disease. So to all those boh house people reading this I for one appreciate all your hard work and I thank you.

      November 7, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  10. Chefrito

    I've been a chef for 30 years. Fat is flavor, butter makes it better, and yes, salt is good. Also TV chefs in reality shows are paid to act like that. In real life Gordon Ramseys car would be keyed, his tires flattened, and on day 2 of employment he would be called into human resources and fired. Just sayin.....

    November 2, 2010 at 12:44 pm |
    • gpeters

      Again, clearly not experienced in the industry.

      February 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  11. Jennifer

    Sugar and flour are going to kill us all faster than butter and salt. Enjoy the yummy steak, nobody says you have to drown your food at home in butter and salt.

    November 2, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  12. Evil Grin

    The butter and salt is definitely no surprise to me. That's how you can make exactly the same dish at home with half the calories. The funny thing is that I've actually gone to restaurants before with my mother, who has high blood pressure, and we've ordered the same dish only hers without the salt. While hers does have a little less flavor, mostly they still tasted great. I think sometimes we don't realize how much flavor we can get from the food itself without a ton of salt.

    November 2, 2010 at 11:04 am |
    • Cole

      Given the quality of ingredients high/mid-level restaurants use, and the techniques/equipment involved, I seriously doubt that even a good home cook can duplicate a dish. I doubt most people could even identify half of the ingredient that went into a dish (even when the list includes basics like mirepoix, seasoning, oils and vinegar).

      What stuns me is this notion that all this is bad for you. If you can afford the time and money to eat at a good place every single day, good for you. But, that's not the case for most of us. No matter how much fat/salt goes into restaurant food (And a good restaurant will never add more than it's needed), it's still just a very small % of what you eat.

      November 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm |
      • Evil Grin

        If you look at it overall – as in over a lifetime, or even over a month – I can see your point. One restaurant visit is not going to be that bad. But many dishes from restaurant carry a whole day's sodium, sometimes two day's sodium – in one meal! That's fine if that's the only meal you're planning on eating for the next couple days, but that's not what most people do.

        And please don't discount what people can do. Just because you can't taste the individual flavors and recreate them does not mean no one can.

        November 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm |
      • Cole

        Again, most people don't eat out every single day. And, even then, there are many, many healthy options at restaurants. As for high sodium, I brought up mid/high level restaurants, not Appleby's or other lower levels places. Even including that, it still doesn't matter. For me, sitting down and downing an ENTIRE LARGE PIZZA in one sitting is a norm in a week. Does it impact my health? Not one bit. Not when I'm extremely disciplined with my exercise/diet during the weekday. That large pizza with its 3k+ calories and 3 days' worth of sodium doesn't even make a dent.

        I seriously doubt you can recreate a dish. I'm a somewhat experienced cook and have a good idea of what kitchens are putting out these days and I can barely get half of what goes in. It takes a tremendous pallet and decades of experience to discern most of the ingredients in a good dish. To be arrogant and make claims, I doubt you're one of those people

        November 2, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
        • gpeters

          I agree with you Cole. For the most part, the fat and salt are not part of someone's everyday diet. Dining out is typically special. Now fast food . . . that is a whole other story.

          February 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
      • Evil Grin

        I told you, don't discount what people can do. My roommate has been consistently able to go to a restaurant, eat a dish for the first time, and recreate it almost exactly. It might not be the exact same ingredients that the chef uses, but it tastes the same, and that's what matters.

        This is not completely uncommon for those inclined to copy a restaurant's dish. Additionally, all anyone who doesn't have that talent has to do is get a to-go box and trial-and-error the dish until they get to correct ingredients and flavors. Incredibly, some restaurants will give you a recipe for certain things if you ask, and there's a bevvy of cook books that have recipes for popular restaurants' coveted food items.

        November 3, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  13. Julie Lovelass

    Clearly you've hit a sore spot in the restaurant world by calling the Chef out....very interesting

    November 2, 2010 at 11:03 am |
  14. sarah

    i've worked in all types of restaurants – mom and pop cafes, chain restaurants, and a 5 star/5 diamond restaurant. it's all true in all types of places. immigrants do all the cooking, are berated by the higher-ups, the chef is in the office, not the kitchen, butter is on everything, half the staff are alcoholics. but one thing not mentioned in the article? the staff are all sleeping with each other. wait staff, kitchen, management, everybody.

    November 2, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Sweetenedtea

      Wait...even mom and pop are sleeping with each other?

      What has this world come to?

      November 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
      • j

        i would think that it's a given if mom and pop were called what they were they'd already been sleeping with each other

        November 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • tgif

      So true! That was one of the first things I noticed in my first restaurant job. They were all sleeping w/ each other!

      As for the various "minions" he mentioned – that's true too. GENERALLY SPEAKING. Why are people so offended by what he said? If a kitchen is staffed by illegals, it's staffed by illegals. By blue collar workers? Fine. Dumb blue collar kids? A bit harsh, perhaps, but whatever. (That should only offend dumb people.) Criminals? Well, the daycare wasn't hiring.

      In the south, it's often segregated by race: the FOH is mostly white, the BOH is mostly black. Sad, but true. Because I have eyes to see this fact that is glaring me in the face, am I a bigot? Lots of alcoholics on the line too; and they do drink on the job. It's a perfect job description for an alcoholic who stays up late, looks for little responsibility in a job, no real dress code (half of them came to work dirty and stinky), no social correctness, etc... with rare exception. F&B people work all evening in one restaurant, then go blow their money together in someone else's restaurant or bar until early morning, then go sleep with each other. It's true. That being said, the day time workers are typically much different. They are often still segregated by race and social class, but they are responsible, respectful, polite, and just there to do their job and go home. Generally speaking.

      There is one demographic not mentioned: college students.

      November 3, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
      • gpeters

        This is extremely accurate as well. tgif is right 100 percent.

        February 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Sarah Young

      Ah yes–everybody sleeping with everybody, just like in any big political campaign!

      June 11, 2014 at 10:27 am |
  15. Heilama

    Everytime I've cooked steak in the past with salt it comes out tough. I choose to marinade my meats with natural spices or good old Italian dressing. That goes for fish, pork or any other meat and the result is simply delicious.

    November 2, 2010 at 9:46 am |
    • bob

      Salt pulls moisture out of food, and should be used at the end of cooking meats. Plus salt is on the table for the guest to decide how salty they want their food.

      November 2, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • AGeek

      The key to using salt with steak: allow the steak to come up to room temperature. no more than 2 or 3 minutes prior to putting it on the grill, apply a *moderate amount* (not three grains and not encrusted!) of coarse salt (not iodized table salt – use a high quality, coarse ground salt) to both sides. Ensure the grill is right around 410-425degF – no cooler, no warmer. Put the steak on the grill and don't touch it for two minutes. Flip the steak after two minutes. Repeat this twice (2 two-minute grillings per side). Pull off the grill, put on a rack, covered w/aluminum foil for 10-12 minutes. You will have a perfect, medium-rare steak every time. The timing is for a 3/4" – 1" thick steak. Adjust accordingly for thinner or thicker slices. If you want your steak well done .. go ask someone else. :-)

      November 2, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  16. Secrets ?

    Those aren't secrets. It's what readers want to read and this chef wants you to know.
    But of course nobody actually wants to read a revealing article about food handling and all the 'exotic' ingredients that are not listed on the menu.

    November 2, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  17. Alex

    I see Iron Chef winner Mark Tarbell at his restaurant Tarbell's in Scottsdale AZ all the time. But...he's not cooking. :) He's working the room and checking the food that goes out.

    November 2, 2010 at 9:43 am |
  18. Matt

    Maybe all of that salt and butter is what upsets my stomach every time I eat out. When I eat out I find I'm on the toilet a mere few hours later. Restaurant food just leaves me feeling bloated and unhealthy.

    November 2, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Thomas

      I think you may be right. I have the same problem. I thought I was just going through a period of bad luck with dining out. Every meal seemed to make me feel ill afterwards, despite ordering different types of food.

      I think the problem is not the type of food, but how all these foods are prepared. I stopped eating out and don't seem to feel ill after meals any more.

      November 3, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  19. natnem

    What a great opportunity for a defamation lawsuit CNN. Let's start with my dad, shall we? He was a chef, and yes he used butter (not on steak, THAT was a NO NO), and yes he used salt, but to condemn chefs are all like tihs? Just how stupid is your editor to allow such publications? My dad owned his own restaurant in the midwest and people came from miiles around. He was very good in the kitchen, hired the BEST of staff and made sure their wages were very well above minimum wage (20 years ago, he started them at $10 for dishwashing alone). He paid good money for good staff.

    Oh Wait, i see now. it's only the really big, way over priced restaurants that are like this, right? Service the 'little guys' people, you'll be glad you did. My dad made a wonderful penne pasta combined with asparagus and shrimp, sauce, and lots of flavoring as one of his 3 daily specials. Chefs these days have no clue what it's like to really cook. But then they don't service real people, do they so with your lack of expectations why should today's chefs conform to reality?

    November 2, 2010 at 9:10 am |
    • John

      Wow, out of the gate seeking a lawsuit. Did you read the begining of the story? The story was about 5 things that Josh Grinker, an executive chef, doesn't want you to know. Appartently, you missed the Rally to Restore Sanity? Or did you attend to Keep Fear Alive?

      November 2, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • Sweetenedtea

      I'd like to offer my services as an attorney for your lawsuit.

      I'm not actually a lawyer, but my dad was one and he never threatened frivolous lawsuits and irrational legal maneuverings. Come to think of it, you're defaming his profession. Are there any CNN readers here willing to work for me as my attorney in my lawsuit against natnem?

      November 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • Damie

      Perhaps your dad is the exception that proves the rule thus strengthening the writer's point.

      November 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  20. Donna E

    After watching Anthony Bourdain's show, and seeing what a jerk HE is, and watching Anne Burrell's QC shtick=dousing the dish over and over again with tablespoons of salt, I agree that the restaurant biz needs to change. I don't cook w/ a lot of salt, and I confess I do use butter rather liberally (but not like they do)–I want my food to taste like the food it is, not like a salted variety of that food. I think my food IS better than what I can buy at a restaurant!!

    Here's one thing you can do: if you see a 'chef' mistreating an employee, tell him you are leaving because of that incident. Make it very public, so others can see and understand what you're doing. Be courteous, not rude, then leave. More ppl will copy you and perhaps that chef will learn that he will lose business if you stand up for those w/out a voice (meaning they need that job to survive). BE the change you wish to see. Butter, salt & people!

    November 2, 2010 at 8:58 am |
  21. smarieb

    I know several award-winning chefs and will confirm all of these insights are true (with respect to the ones I know): egotistical, alcoholic, ugly to their "minions," and eerily friendly to the patrons. ...but the food sure is good...

    November 2, 2010 at 8:53 am |
  22. Leo

    Just an FYI for every person who thinks that everyone needs to follow the same dietary guidelines... not everyone needs to cut down on salt. In fact, some of us have been ordered by our doctors to eat MORE SALT. Some people, rare though we are, have hypOtension, where our blood pressure drops too LOW. Yes, I know we're not the majority, but I get sick of seeing people whining about salt.

    Here's a hint: Watch what YOU eat, and I'll watch what *I* eat. If you go out to a restaurant, then accept the fact that unless you're going to a health-food place, your dinner will probably have a fair bit of salt and fat in it. Some menu choices will be better than others, and you can ask the cook to prepare without added salt if you're that worried about it. But remember, restaurant food should NOT be the mainstay of your diet. In fact, if some lazy people learned to cook at home, their health would improve.

    So stop crying about the salt in the "sometimes-foods" you get at a fancy restaurant, and start worrying about the garbage you eat every day.

    Of course, some people eat McDonald's every day, but that's a whole different problem.

    November 2, 2010 at 8:48 am |
  23. Sokecat

    Krull is right on....Been there, done that!

    November 2, 2010 at 8:38 am |
  24. johnny

    Sorry but I don't buy the notion that profit margins are "razor-thin." Not when so many restaurants, which are basically moderately-priced luxuries, have survived the so-called recession. And also not when I'm paying what I know for a fact is 4-5 times as much what the meal would cost me if I make it at home, especially when I know they can purchase what they use for much less than I do when they buy in quantity.

    November 2, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • John

      At home you aren't paying a host/hostess, waiter, bus boy, dish washer, cleaning staff, valet parking attendant, upscale commercial rent, license fees, all sorts of taxes and I saved this for last-4 or 5 different lower chef or cooks not to mention the name guy they have on staff to get people there in the first place. I'm not saying eateries are not profitable but not many make a fortune owning a restaurant.

      November 2, 2010 at 8:55 am |
    • j

      most restaurants are hardly profitable, which is why we cooks get paid shit. even sous who have earned their spots don't make very much. to actually make money, you have to have a corporate empire. i'm sure jean georges doesn't make money from jean georges, but rather from spice market and mercer.

      November 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
  25. steve

    Julia Child, I believe said, "....if you don't want to use fat in this receipe, substitute with butter..."

    November 2, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  26. Damie

    Back to the subject at hand...

    The article doesn't say salt and butter are the only ingredients that make food taste good but they're prevalent. They don't make Americans get fat and clogged arteries, it's the other crap we eat. Processed sugar and flour has created a diabetes epidemic. Insulin is a fat storing hormone, eat more sugar (carbs), make more insulin, store more fat. The Alfredo sauce on your pasta is not the problem, it's the bleached, over processed, nutrition-less, pasta. Butter is healthier than margarine but both are unhealthy in large quantities. Cutting butter and oil out of your diet is also unhealthy, you're not getting essential fatty acids which are... wait for it... essential. Salt is also necessary but in much smaller quantities than we use. I'm super "lucky" in that I have a condition (vasovagal synchopy) which is helped by electrolyte intake. My cardiologist didn't tell me to eat more salt, he just told me I didn't have to cut back, sweet!

    My brother's a chef and from I've seen and heard, every part of this article is true. Besides, people go to restaurants to get food that tastes outstanding to them. It's a treat, not a right, no one is holding a gun to your head to make you eat out. If you eat healthy, one rich, buttery, salty, yummy (don't forget the garlic!) dinner a week is not going to kill you much less make you fat or give you heart disease.

    Moderation, something we Americans often have a hard time with.

    November 2, 2010 at 8:30 am |
  27. Krull

    Kitchen workers love the cocaine. Almost as much as they love hot waitress'. Most chefs' have failed at life. And they smoke, so they don't even have a sense of taste. Aim higher kids.

    November 2, 2010 at 8:10 am |
    • Damie

      Best comment yet!!

      November 2, 2010 at 8:31 am |
    • Dave

      In my experience it was the waiters that had all the coke, and the kitchen workers that had all the weed. A little demonstration in the economic situation in the staff.

      November 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm |
  28. jay

    Get back to work. All of you. No more "wait for it" or "like". Just get back to work.

    November 2, 2010 at 7:59 am |
  29. here n there

    There are celebrity chefs and Chefs who spend time on the pass or do step in & can cook(really great chefs). If a chef owns more than 1 restaurant then he probably fits into the former.

    November 2, 2010 at 7:57 am |
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