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Chefs Tell All: Bad Servers and Tired Trends

For our January issue, we asked 24 chefs to give their candid—and anonymous—opinions on overrated colleagues, underappreciated restaurants, embarrassing ingredients, and nightmare customers. We’re posting the results throughout the month.

What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to servers?

Not knowing the menu: “We give them tests, print collaterals, glossaries, and lessons, and then we still get someone who doesn’t bother to study.”

Apathy: “If you’re dumb, I can train you to understand the food at least. If you’re not graceful, you can learn those skills. But if you don’t care about the food and what we’re trying to do, you can get out.”

Breaking out the phone: “Using cell phones and iPhones in the corner on the job. You think that no one sees you? You’ll be fired right away.”

What would you like to see more and less of?

More: Midrange neighborhood restaurants (“like Momofuku in New York”), ethnic restaurants in the District, butcher shops, and seafood (“I’d love to see ten more Hank’s Oyster Bars”).

Less: Cupcake places (“Giant has awesome cupcakes—go to the grocery store and get them”), steakhouses, burger joints, chains, and celebrity chefs (“Get out of my town”).

What menu trends do you hate?

Molecular gastronomy: “Bacon powder—how could that possibly taste good?”

Name-dropping farms: “What were they doing before? Buying at Safeway?”

Using bacon and pork: “It’s a crutch.”

Related:

Chefs Tell All: What They Think of Critics 

Chefs Tell All: Embarrassing Kitchen Ingredients and Fast-Food Choices

Chefs Tell All: What You Maybe Didn't Want to Know About Kitchens

This article appears in the January issue of The Washingtonian.

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