The Usual Whipping Boys
January 12, 2010
The Usual Whipping Boys
As I drove into WLR studios this morning to put out my weekly piece, Food Matters, I was listening in to the current stories on Waterford radio.
Teachers were getting a hammering because they had closed their schools during the current freeze, or at least the ones that had shut were, the ones that had stayed opened were also being hammered for “allowing the children to sit cold and wet in the classroom”.
It became evident quickly that teachers were damned no matter what they did.
It is funny really but I can so often remember driving into the same station to hear all out war being declared on restaurants.
“How can they dare” was the mantra “charge ten Euros for a pork chop which I can buy for three euros in Dunnes”
The trouble I suppose with restaurants is that everyone knows (or thinks they know) the price of food which then makes them an expert.
What they never did know was that the price of the pork chop was often the least element in the cost of the dish.
Also had to be costed in were the rental in the premises, the overheads of electricity gas and oil, the kitchen staff wages, the waiting staff wages, the small matter of the vegetables, sauce and garnish which appears on the plate with the chop, the fresh flowers on the tables, the advertising of the place, the incredible wastage which happens even in the best governed kitchens, the fact that restaurants are supposed to feed their staff- they don’t do that much in banks.
I have a friend who has a jewellery shop and he puts 100% mark up on an engagement ring for the simple matter of opening the box and showing it to the customer.
Yet jewellers are never on the first firing line when people have a rant about prices.
Anyway how many fat cat restaurateurs are there ?
Most of the restaurateurs I knew in my many years of cheffing were just scraping by or, more often going dramatically bust. It is tragic to see “Bang” one of Irelands true value and quality restaurants hitting the wall last week.
So I suppose this rant is one against the past.
Why is it that both Sile and I both chose professions which are always the first to be pot shot at when times get hard.
Clearly if we wanted to avoid this we should have been lawyers or jewellers.
But then again we both loved our jobs while we did them, maybe a slagging off from the public was a small price to pay for that.