Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chef Debbie Says Urrrgh!

What is it with people these days!

Do I have a sign on my forehead that proclaims "Yes! I LOVE spending hours planning your party so you can give my menu to your friend who's a fabulous cook."

This has happened twice in the last couple of weeks ~ and I'm not happy about it. In fact, I'm downright PO'd.

The first one was a small dinner party for 20. Black tie servers, beef tenderloin, scallops gratin, appetizers and the rest of the goodies.

Her phone call..

Uh Debbie? I have a friend who's a "fabulous cook" and said she could do my dinner with your menu for only $30 per person. You've quoted me a lot more and I wonder if you could match her price.
Yeah right. If I bought ground round at Costco and told you it was tenderloin. And used cheese in a can. And finished off the rest of the dinner with samples from McDonalds, Taco Bell and made snow ice cream.
I'm sorry if I gave you the impression my price is negotiable. I've spent years perfecting my trade and can guarantee that your meal would be of the quality of one of Cincinnati's finest dining establishments.
I also have a $1million liability insurance policy in the very small chance that I'd break something in your home or that one of your guests would become ill from something I cooked. If you have a price of $30 per person for my menu, then you should go with your friend.
I highly suggest you ask if she has liability insurance ~ just in case.

About that same time, I received a phone call from a local organization who needed a very large, black tie, super elegant event. Servers, valet service, sous chefs, you name it. I was going to need about 20 people, not including the valet service. And elegant, gourmet, sophisticated, eye~popping food and decor for 175.

So I put together a killer menu. More than 20 passed canapes, raw seafood bar, dessert and chocolate fondue bar, sushi bar, blini bar, and don't forget the cocktail bar.

They loved the menu. And. Then. Nothing.

Until the phone call.

Hi. This is Debbie.
Hi Deb. I'm calling about the event.
I could probably lose my job over this but I felt you needed to know what was going on here.
Uh oh. That's never good when somebody starts the conversation with I could lose my job over this, but...
OK. Tell me. Did you change the date, decide to change the menu, what?
No, we love the menu. I mean we really LOVE the menu. But my boss has a friend who...
Here it comes. I know what's going to fall out of her mouth now.
...is a caterer and said she'd take your menu and beat your quote by 15% automatically.
Visions of my good 12" chef's knife sticking out of the caterer's back dance through my head. Oh wait. The caterer wouldn't know what my menu was unless somebody gave it to her.
Thank you so much for calling ~ I know it must have been a difficult decision for you but I truly appreciate it. I have spent over 8 hours pricing this out already and could have easily spent another day or more working on it. Not to mention the time it takes my vendors to give me their prices.
So what would you have done? Sweet devious husband said I should give a quote of around $2000 for the entire event. And then back out.

While I would never never never do anything like that, I must admit that in the far back reaches of my once~in~a~while mean streak, that did sound like good fun!

But. I've decided, the old idiom is true. What goes around, comes around.

I just hope I'm around to see it!


Erin Swing said...

Oh no they didn't! I can't believe that crap . . . but this IS Cincinnati. People here are cheap and rarely has any taste - literally and figuratively. Yes, karma . . . ohm . . .

Toni Scott said...

Oooh, Debbie! Reading your post was cathartic! You've said everything I've wanted to say about situations like this, but didn't have the guts.