Reservation? Booked online. Restaurant reviews? Also online. Menus? Food photos? Daily specials? Open positions? All of it. Posted online. The list of ways the internet has changed dining habits and restaurant operations is pretty much endless. But how has it impacted the goings-on on the other side of the swinging door? How much of a role does the internet plays in a chef’s creative process?
Matt Starr, Brand Manager at Boston Showcase Company, asked friend and James Beard Award-winning chef Jamie Bissonnette (of Little Donkey, Coppa and Toro fame – you’ve probably read about him on the internet) to chat about some of the changes he’s seem since he started working in kitchens more than twenty years ago…
As a young cook, I didn’t have e-mail or the Internet. It was harder to get information. It required constant talking with other cooks about what was going on in our cities, and around the world.
I loved it. I remember calling Gotham Bar & Grill and pretending that I was an admin for someone coming to town on business so they would fax a copy of their menu to me. And I remember how mad my boss was that I was getting a fax at work…as a line cook. Taking a bus to NYC from Hartford for the day, eating at four restaurants and then walking in to get menus at ten others, was the only way I could get to see what was happening.
Flash forward 20 years and I am on my computer, e-mailing this blog post to Matt Starr, with five tabs open on my browser of restaurant websites, blogs, and Instagram, still looking for that information and knowledge. I love how much more I can access it and how quickly I can. But sometimes I wish that the younger generation had to work for it, had to forage a city for a copy of a menu.
I am jealous, for sure, but also impressed at how many cooks know more about food than we did that early in our careers. I think this is why food trends happen so quickly and why chefs aren’t keeping as many secrets anymore. Now, where do we go from here?
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About Matt & Andy Starr
Matt and his cousin Andy Starr represent the fourth generation of family ownership at Boston Showcase Company, which helps restaurants with tabletop design, restaurant equipment, kitchen design and supplies. MORE INSIGHTS & TIPS on tabletop and kitchen design from Matt & Andy can be found here…
Boston Showcase Company installs dozens of new tabletops every year with china, glassware, flatware and accessories and recently received national tabletop awards for their work at Island Creek Oyster Bar (Burlington) and The Hourly Oyster House (Cambridge).