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As good as your last meal...by Simon Warde


Working in a hotel kitchen decades ago, there are a couple of phrases that remain stuck in my head.


If you ever had a grumble, the head chef would simple say “if you don’t like it, there’s the door”. This was a reminder that this was the path you had chosen, you knew the hours it entailed and the set wage, so if you didn’t like it, then go. Although you took this response personally for a few seconds, he was very right and there was all but one person in HR and union was a word you never heard.


The other phrase I remember the head chef saying was “You are as good as your last meal”. This was a reminder of the fickleness of the trade and how a customer’s meal would be their last memory. The fact that the customer may of visited the restaurant several times before and thoroughly enjoyed their meal was almost irrelevant, if what they had just been served did not live up to the expectations they had now built up. This would instead plant a seed of doubt in the customers head and why take that risk again. They had worked, earnt some money and wanted to take a friend or family for a real treat. The customers understandably wants to feel that it was worthwhile, a special occasion and money well spent.


This is a phrase that often returns to my thoughts for a number of reasons.


It is clear to see how much things have changed over the last couple of decades and on our expectations as we consume. This is partly due to the efficiency of the internet and the ease to gain access to what you want 24/7. The expectation we now have of ordering something online at 10pm and for this to be delivered the next day, or the day after. If these demanding expectation are not met, then we question returning as we now feel some doubt. Why does this really matter to us, as there is countless other online shopping providers to turn to.

I remember an evening meal being a real night out, a special occasion that would last for several hours. This is now rarely the case, with an expectation that a plate of food will arrive on your table in 15 minutes and you have left in an hour and a half (which isn’t very special at all). If that plate of food had taken 30 minutes to arrive, then we question the level of service, instead of appreciating it is something that is being cooked to order and actually fresh.


There are lots of services in life we have the control to change. Whether this be where/how we shop, who provides our broadband, or who we pay for our gas and electric supply.


Does this however feel very different for housing and being a tenant?


Does the term ‘as good as your last meal’ have any relevance at all? When we do not meet your expectations at times, you would forget the previous times we did meet your expectation?


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Hi Bremda, this is a totally fantastic response and a very healthy attitude.

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Every good chef relishes the challenge of creating a new recipe and using new ingredients they have not used before. Sometimes the outcome needs adjusting before perfection is found and other times the result is a complete and utter disaster,

The current situation caused by this virus has thrust a new ingredient into our kitchens so lets start experimenting to produce a great new dish that we can relish.

We have put new items on the Tenant Involvement menu in the past. Some we relished and some were tasted once and were never repeated.

So let's work towards producing a gourmet dish that every one will want a taste of.

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