8/31/11

Happy 1000th post!

Wow. I can't believe it's actually been a thousand posts since we started blogging here. To celebrate, I'll explain a few questions I've gotten from a couple of customers either via email, or in person.

Why isn't the menu split into Protein and Complex Carb Tapas anymore?
For one thing, all foods have protein. Continuing the myth that only certain foods have protein makes it seem like vegans need to watch their intake of protein and do all kinds of gymnastics to lead a healthy, happy life. Whether it be soy, gluten, or beans, nuts, fruits, seeds, whole grains, or vegetables, as long as you're eating a varied and colourful diet, you'll be fine.

But aside from that, having the differing price structures was confusing to some, and not representative of the labour or expense of the food involved. A plate of the BBQ Seitan doesn't cost us near as much as a plate of the Sesame Steamed Collard Greens. When we were looking at the menu, and realised the unfair pricing, we decided to make a change, and shift it so that those things that cost us less will cost you less as well. :)

How do you come up with your ideas for food?
It depends! Sometimes, I or Bossman will get inspiration from reading food blogs, magazines, or watching TV or movies. Sometimes we'll think of something that we had pregan (pre-vegan) and want to make it vegan. Other times (in fact, this is the most common way), we'll discover a recipe from another culture or country, where all the ingredients are vegan to begin with!

Then, we toss ideas back and forth, refining and perfecting, until we both are satisfied with the concept. Then, one or both of us will execute it, and taste for seasoning frequently. Once it's perfect, we'll have the wait staff and kitchen staff taste it, so that everyone is on the same page as to how that dish should come out. Finally, I'll put it out as a special.

It's why sometimes it takes a bit of time for completely brand new recipes to appear on the specials menu. I love to explore different foods, but I'm not going to make something here that isn't going to be perfect for our customers. I can experiment all I want at home, but at work, it's all about ensuring that everything is exactly as it's meant to be.

What's your kitchen like? Is it anything like the ones we see on TV/movies?
I get this question frequently, and I'd have to say that working here is like working nowhere else that I've ever been. There isn't a stressed out boss, shouting at everyone to get things done. Bossman doesn't work that way. He's about making less, not more violence. Instead, he tends to collaborate, ask for input, and then come to an understanding of how best to work with the folks we have, and how to make sure that the customer is happy.

Granted, there are times when either I or he have to make policy changes that are absolutes. However, it's done in such a way that it's (again) not angry, but matter-of-fact. "This is what needs to get done, and here's why." Similarly, the kitchen tends to work in a fairly genial atmosphere. Even when things are a little hectic, because of the volume of food that needs to go out, we're still polite to each other, and say please and thank you frequently.

Why?
When you permeate your work place with loving kindness, and gentle attitudes, you foster an environment where people are happy to be there. I work hard at my job, but at the end of the day, I am happy doing what I do. I'm proud of the food that I make, and of the people that Bossman and I are reaching.

My mom always believed that you should cook only when you're in a good mood, and keep the anger and negativity out of the kitchen. Good words to live by. Not only does it prevent you from making mistakes, or hurting yourself (if you're distracted or angry, you have more chances of not paying full attention to your work), it also makes the food taste better. Call it confirmation bias if you will, but every time I step into the kitchen with the thought of, "This is going to be part of someone's life as they eat it, and I need to fill my thoughts with good things", my food ends up coming out fantastic.

I hope you enjoyed the little peek into the thinking that runs this place. If you have any more questions for me, or if you're curious about anything else Chow related, feel free to leave a comment here, or email sacredchow at aol dot com.

Thank you to all of you for reading along, and sticking with us all these years!

Love,
Sacred Chow
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