In the Words of the Immortal Fog Horn Leg Horn: “I says what I means and I means what I says!”

This is just my fourth entry in “blog world” and already I’ve spurred on great controversy. It seems my colorful use of language has encouraged many readers to, in a myriad of gutteral almost primal responses, voice their opinion about said entries. I have to admit, I am not the least bit surprised. It’s quite common and often times correct to assume that the use of slang, profanity, sexual innuendo and the like would suggest the users inability to express themselves.

I think I can go as far as to say that most would tend to agree with this point.. Well……not me. In fact, I very strongly believe there is great strength in all types of language. All of the negative stigmas about the use of profanity aside, I see it as punctuation, a way to drive a point home with vivid and specific intent – think: George Carlin, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor – (not that I am comparing myself to these fantastic comedians)  The way I use these words is, in no way, gratuitous, actually, truth be told they are sprinkled about to illicit a response. “Is this guy really serious?” “He’s just trying to be controversial” “He must be out for a book deal or something” I hate to break it to you folks but the restaurant business is not all kittens and rainbows. If it is kittens and rainbows that you seek when reading this blog then I have some bad news for you, it’s not going to happen. I write about what happens to me in my day-to-day dealings with my guests, my staff, and my suppliers, There are a ton of blogs out there that litter the page with the regurgitation of what the author would have you believe is their “Passion” for cuisine. I am here to tell you that this is all a variation on the same theme. I will admit to you I actually started out to be just that–another Chef proudly proclaiming what a wonderful cook I am and asking you to drink that kool-aid. But why? Why would I want this blog to be like countless others? This is a place you can go to hear the real stories about the restaurant business and all the good, bad and ugly happenings within.

Trust me, I could expound endlessly on how many happy customers I am LUCKY enough to be able to feed on a daily basis. I will ask you this, do you care? I wouldn’t if I were you, the reader. After all, that’s my job for the love of God! If I had to run around telling everyone how good I was would you not begin to believe that I, myself, was not so sure. It is exhaustively boring to read someone babble on about their God-given talent and how fortunate you all are to be allowed to experience it. Give me a break please! Talk about an over exaggerated sense of self-worth.

This blog is here to showcase my shortcomings as well as my passions not simply for cooking but for the restaurant business as a whole. If you want kittens and rainbows go to a pet store at the end of a thunderstorm and pray for sun. (Before I get a bunch of emails from animal rights activists please let me state that I get all of my pets from the Anti-Cruelty society) Getting back to the original point of the use of profanity… In the world in which we live, can anyone honestly say they are shocked by my use of language?  I think it may be closer to the truth to say that in the age of the internet with all of its forums, chat rooms and feedback sites, that we all have a “Soap Box” upon which we can voice our opinions unfiltered in any way. Except, that is, when the court of popular opinion chimes in. Well not me! I refuse to bend to such a court’s opinion. In fact, I will run as hard as I can in the opposite direction.  A customer behaves poorly, either abusing my staff or spoiling the experience of eating in a civilized restaurant for their fellow patrons and I will react harshly. I always have and I always will.

Please understand, I LOVE AND RESPECT MY CUSTOMERS! You are the lifeblood of my restaurant. I cannot begin to express how unbelievably flattered I am to this very day that 120 people will actually take the time and make the effort to come and enjoy my cooking on a Saturday evening. It is truly a blessing. With the amount of restaurants there are to choose from today and after nearly 15 years of owning and operating my own establishments, to be selected as your dining destination for the evening is a privilege. That being said, can you now understand and relate to the fact that the actions I take against those that are out to lessen your experience in some way are on your behalf? That’s right. It’s not about me anymore. I am the oldest 41 year-old man you will ever see, I have little to prove to anyone but you, my customers. So please, cut a brother some slack if I drop the F-bomb here and there or rail the occasional savage dim-witted, would be trouble maker that happens to be out for the sole purpose of stirring up the bottom. If these folks happen into my establishment with those types of intentions then they get what they get. I am actually proud of the fact that I will not allow them to disrupt your dinner! (Or mine for that matter).

Now, for the sake of disclosure, if foul language is offensive to you STOP READING…… HERE!

For those of you that get a chuckle out of my colorful use of profanity rest assured. Another one of those fuckin’ entries is just around the bend!!!!   See, I knew you were going to read on anyway just to see what I would say. Now you get the point, sometimes it’s fun just to see what the author has to say. Unfair you say? We were tricked! Well write your own blog and you will be free to substitute “silly pants” for “fuckhead” anytime you like.  See, now that was gratuitous……. Tee-Hee!

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5 thoughts on “In the Words of the Immortal Fog Horn Leg Horn: “I says what I means and I means what I says!”

  1. Just read your blog for the first time Michael, loved it. You leave me wanting to make reservations for Restaurant Michael; oh how I miss you since I’ve moved downtown. I wil be seeing you soon and keeping up with you via your blog.

    Warm Regards,
    Mary Byrne

  2. I think the correct quote you are looking for is by Popeye: “I am what I am” Fucking existential, No?

    I don’t know where that Quail and Tuna review came from, but one dimensional doesn’t come to mind in describing the Michael experience; your flavors are bold and remind me of Gray Kunz in more ways than one. Before he vanished from New York and returned as a shadow of himself he could meld flavors like fish and cocoanut, shrimp and orange in magical ways. Your recent lobster menu was in that class.
    We have been fortunate enough to experience Bocuse, Senderens, Alain Chapel, Troigros Brothers in their prime as well as Le Francais under the 3 masters (as you can tell; we’re fucking old). You may or may not be the last butter and cream man as those morons at Chicago Magazine suggest, but you are still the Man,

    Scott and Mary Reynolds

    Scott Reynolds

  3. Michael:

    This new “blog” of yours reads more like a rant. Of course, you are perfectly entitled to rail against all things distasteful and all customers obnoxious all you want, and use gratuitous off-color language, run-on sentences and typo’s to your heart’s content. I REALLY mean it. And I’m really sincere when I say that your restaurant has no peer when it comes to a magical combination of wonderful food imaginatively and lovingly prepared, attentive but non-intrusive service, incredibly accommodating staff, relaxing and unpretentious atmosphere, and incredible value. And we will continue to patronize it for those reasons. But this blog could be so much more…

    There’s an old saying about how a person would never eat sausages if they could see how they are made. I feel a bit like that with your restaurant now. I had this fantasy about how things worked behind the scenes in your kitchen, and based my impression of you on your food and your demeanor when you came out of the kitchen for an occasional table check. But this blog blows all that out of the water. (I feel a bit like Anton Ego, the infamous food critic in the movie Ratatouille who, despite actually loving the food that comes out of Gusteau’s kitchen, is distressed when he finds out who the real head chef is, and can’t quite reconcile things).

    But now that you’ve got all of your complaints off your chest, how about actually discussing things that might add to my enjoyment and/or knowledge as a Restaurant Michael customer? Where you get your ideas from, your mentors, your opinions on how to and how not to, memorable dining experiences of your own…in short, something positive/upbeat?

    • Please let me begin by thanking you, with the help of a run-on sentence, for your kind permission to pen MY blog any way I see fit. You are clearly a gentleman. I will however take a pass on your sugestion to write happy-go-lucky stories of how much fun and pleasure their is in the restaurant business. Nor will I turn this into a trip down memory lane in regards to my past dining experiences. There are thousands of those blogs out there, they are boring and not very interesting. That’s not what this blog is about. I do apologize for bursting your bubble of your fantasy scene you had about my kitchen. To be honest, any kitchen worth its salt should be judged on just two things………

      Ready? 1.) Sanitation 2.) The strength and quality of the food being produced.
      I am quite proud of the fact that my team and I have very high standards in both. I’m not here to inspire anyone except those I choose to mentor. In fact, your comment inspired me to make a list of those folks. I counted 86. That is 86 cooks/chefs out there that are also cooking with a bit of my influence (good or bad) for you and the general public. Your enjoyment of Restaurant Michael should indeed be focused on the food, service and surroundings. I’m sorry if you don’t agree but truthfully speaking, I don’t care, I guess I didn’t realize I was being graded…….. Did I spell that correctly? Hope to see you in the dining room soon, oh but wait, I won’t know who you are because you didn’t tell us your name. By the way, Ratatouille was a cartoon, I’m real. Are you?

      If you choose to reveal yourself I would love to buy you a glass of Champagne. Thank you for your comment. Michael

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