Seattle Met's restaurant reviewer Kathryn Robinson picked up on a new trend, of restaurants listing kitchen- and other staff on menus. She questioned whether the reasons for this practice are magnanimous and egoless or the opposite: "More than anything else, a lavish list of menu credits would appear to hint at a restaurant’s sense of its own impressive culinary gravitas, no?"
Robinson identified/cited Jason Stratton of Artusi and Spinasse as one of these trend-setters. Stratton may be vacationing in Spain, but he jumped quickly in on the comments to explain why he lists staff on menus:
I’m so not sorry to disagree with this. The difference between naming the authors or editors of a magazine’s articles and the cooks and service people producing and serving your food is?
What I do as a chef is dependent absolutely on the amazing people that I have working for me.
This has little to do with looking for “rock star” status or the gravitas of a Michelin star. The people making the restaurant work are in it for their life; this is their career. And it’s time to give them credit. We work as a team, we strive absolutely not to look for, nor rest on accolades. We want to provide an amazing experience, apart from what one may infer from the “credits” of a menu.
As someone who began washing dishes, I recognize that no one could care less about the dishwasher. I’m proud to call him out by name. We couldn’t open every night without him.
Robinson seems to give Stratton a pass but questions the motivations of other chefs: "Dig the team spirit, Jason. Would that all chefs were so magnanimous." Stratton later tweeted that his passionate defense of listing staff on menus is not meant to be prescriptive: "It isn't about that they[restaurants] should. But the implication that they shouldn't is absurd."
· Latest Trend in Restaurant Menus: Listing the Staff [Seattle Met]
[Photo: J. Stratton/Facebook]