Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Foodie Cred Check

Are you a foodie? There are a hundred names for that term now, but you know what I mean. Have your Simpson's quotes turned into Anthony Bourdain quotes? Have you drawn a line in the sand to say what precisely you won't eat (usually somewhere in the offal category no doubt)? Do you recount Iron Chef and Top Chef like you recount Football games? How do you feel about Rachel Ray? we have definitely begun turning into a nation of foodies. This isn't a food blog though, this is a wine blog, specifically, a wine business blog.

So what does being a foodie have to do with being successful in the wine industry? Short answer: everything. Longer answer: your credibility.

At this stage in your career, it's unlikely for you to turn back and go back to the restaurant business. Hopefully, you got some good foodie chops while you were in it. Hopefully, you speak chef. What does that mean you ask? Well, it's hard to describe, but it's knowing the shorthand when someone orders a steak Medium Well. You know what it means when an employee calls to talk to the chef (they're not coming in), or why you want to strangle the waiter for saying a fish is mild, like salmon or tuna. There is a comfort within a restaurant that you can't pick up from any books or cooking shows. The rhythm of a bustling restaurant is like the tide. If you do a dinner or a tasting, it says a lot about your foodie cred in the way you move, the way you say "corner" or "behind". If the chef likes you, you WILL sell more wine.

Chefs are becoming celebrities in their own right these days. all of us can name drop til the cows come home. Regardless of their fame level, they're still chefs before celebrities. If you sell them wine, don't kiss their ass. Don't get your picture taken with them. Don't ask them to autograph your menu, or magazine cover. The tough thing to do is to be the person that loved them before they were famous. Again, you can't go back and do it now. The good news though, is that the people that make chefs famous are slow moving, you should be able to pick up on it beforehand, and treat them like you're genuinely interested in their cooking. Then again, chefs are like dogs and bees, they can smell fear (and B.S.). Be a genuine foodie. If you can't love that aspect of this job, my advice to to see if anyone needs a widget salesperson.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips. You tend to forget the other side of the restaurant.