There is something so ridiculously off putting about being put on a 6 month waiting list to eat a steak and a side of veg or waiting in line for 3 whole hours for a sandwich because (insert celebrity chef's name) has his or her restaurant so hyped by social media or their hit tv shows.
I don't need "the experience," I need food because my blood sugar is getting dangerously low. I don't need to tan waiting in a line outside in the hot sun crisping me up like the bacon they are going to conveniently run out of before I even get to my table. And yet, people do this. They love this. "(Insert celebrity name's) restaurant is hot sh*t" the weekend paper reads emphatically, "and you better get a table now, or else." Or else what...exactly? Or else... I can just walk next door to a place with no line and get seated right away or better yet, walk 10 steps to my fridge and stove and make the same exact omelette that I've seen said chef make on TV. Just because someone has name recognition doesn't actually mean their food is better than every other chef on the planet or the line cook down the street or something you can make yourself.
What am I both paying and waiting for? It's not as if (insert celebrity name) is in the kitchen right now cooking his or her $100 gold leaf organic burger for me personally. No, that chef is somewhere chilling on a beach that you and all the other hopeless peasants helped pay for, thinking you're going to get a glimpse or a taste of what that chef is about. I mean, let's think about it. That chef potentially came up with some recipes and trained a staff of other chef's to make them. I'm not eating celebrity chef's scallop sashimi with meyer lemon confit, I'm eating chef Larry from Brooklyn's, scallop sashimi with meyer lemon confit, except he will never get the credit for making the best dish you ever had, because when you're done eating it, you will praise celebrity chef who had nothing to do with what you ate other than the idea, but you can't eat ideas. They have to be made...by Larry.
Even worse is what tends to happen with some of these places. Once they get a strong following, the portions get smaller, the quality becomes more questionable, and the prices go up because you think you're paying for something downright magical like that ridiculous "experience" we talked about earlier. Nah. Even if I can afford it, I don't want to.
I want grandma down the street who's cooking because she feels an ache in her bones when she isn't surrounded by her 30 year old hand me down pans she's made the same dishes in for years. I want that line cook who can't afford culinary school, but everyone knows he's the sh*t. I want that female head chef that doesn't need a television show to prove to anyone what she's been taught and has implemented in the kitchen her whole life. I want some Mom and Pop named Earl and May who greet you warmly and remember to ask you how you did on that job interview. I want a place where there is no need for 2 month reservation and everyone can find a seat at the table no matter who you are, or where you're from. I want the "experience" of eating regular food with regular names I can pronounce, made by regular people.