9 Things Hawaii Chefs Wished You Knew
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#8 You are not actually a food critic
The Internet has made everyone a critic and restaurateurs feel the effects, good and bad. Now anyone can let you know that the new bakery downtown serves cupcakes that are “sooooo scrumptious!” Or they can blame a restaurant because the tacos they got as takeout were cold by the time they got home. People, do you listen to yourselves?
“The fact that I have a first-aid kit in my truck doesn’t make me a doctor,” says Camille Komine, who serves fusion tacos from her Camille’s on Wheels food truck. “And access to a computer and websites like Yelp doesn’t make you a food critic.” Komine says she values professional critics’ writings, because they have “spent years developing their palates.” It’s the Yelpers who cavalierly (and ignorantly) describe her mirin-mayo as “some sort of ranch sauce” that irk her. Or when someone writes “Why pay $8 for something I could make at home?” (as someone did about the Melt food truck), Komine would like to ask them, “So where do you get your Gruyère, and how long has it been aged?”
#9 Meat us halfway
“People need to know we’re not mind readers. When asked to specify meat temperatures, we want them to answer,” says Andrew Le. “All too often meat arrives at their table medium rare, since they left the decision to us, and then they’re like, ‘I wanted it medium well.’ Tell us what you want before we cook it.”
Gone are the days of eating out being a special occasion, especially in Hawaii, where top-tier restaurants accept shorts and slippahs. Still, says Jim Moffat of Bar Acuda, “Speedos are not restaurant attire, and sand should definitely stay at the beach. It doesn’t need to be under my barstools.”