By any measure it has has been a great two months. I am sure most of you readers are aware of the recognition REPUBLIC has received recently. It has been a bit overwhelming and, to be honest, a bit humorous. It started with our James Beard Foundation Awards’ nomination, followed by our ascension to semi-finalists nationally. On the local level, we were awarded the first certified farm to restaurant in the State of NH, then on to the HIPPO PRESS’ BEST OF 2012 READERS’ POLL, where we seemed to run the table. Today, we were interviewed and over photo’d by Merrimack Valley Magazine for a feature article, and if that does not fill the dance card, a travel magazine based out of DC is coming on Friday for an interview and photo shoot. Man, now I know how George Clooney feels trying to fend off the paparazzi! Nothing like being a 30-year overnight success. Don’t get me wrong, this is great. It’s great for sales, for my staff that has worked their collective backsides off, and for all of my guests that have given their support and two cents, but in the grand scheme of things it is a bit overhyped
Since the advent of the FOOD CHANNEL, awards shows and cooking challenges where there are winners and losers have become the rage. Pitting one chef against another, or sending in a star chef/consultant to tell some owner how lame they are, or watching some poor wannabe chef try to come up with a great recipe for cuttlefish and watermelon only to be humiliated in front of millions of viewers, takes away from what we at REPUBLIC (as well as all the other hard-working kitchens) are doing every day. I have told my staff that the best and only recognition they should ever be concerned with are the people that poke their heads in the pick-up window (or say at the table), “Great job, thank you, WE WILL BE BACK!”
Objectively, a restaurant is the most unique of any manufacturing enterprises ever conceived. When an entrepreneur decides to produce a widget, it is predetermined through exhaustive due diligence that when the ON button is pushed what comes out the back end is exactly what was intended no matter how many zillions of them are extruded. Humans may or may not be involved in the varying levels of production and delivery.
In a restaurant the menu is the product offering, and the menu description is written to entice the diner to purchase. Once that order is placed into the black box you see the server stare into on your way to the restroom, production starts one dish at a time by trained, motivated and skilled workers.
When we at REPUBLIC are given awards and are singled out for recognition, Claudia and I are more than willing to accept them, but we do it for all of our staff. They care. They really care.
We have on occasion, as have all restaurants, received communications from guests that relay they either did not receive our best effort, or our production protocols were not followed. I can tell you without reservation that we put more weight on those communications than any award we may have been given.
On behalf of all at REPUBLIC, thank you! To be honest, it always feels good to be told, “You look marvelous!” even if it is because of good lighting.
See you this week for our current Mediterranean Passport port-of-call: MOROCCO
See you soon