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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Angry Chef stirs the pot


Besides work, I don't do much. I don't golf. I'm fat, so I don't work out. Although I know a lot of people, I don't have many friends, so it's not like I'm playing poker with the guys once a week. I like working. I love music, but regret never learning how to play an instrument. I'm a chef, so I like drinking, but that's not always been the best outlet for me. And I really love stirring the pot, both literally and figuratively.

Initially, I decided to get a Twitter account for several reasons: curiosity, a way for me to write, and (because I'm a workaholic) it was an outlet for me to have some fun yet feel productive. Twitter's been a great tool for me. Hopefully this column will be fun trip, too.

Almost every aspect of my life touches the restaurant business in some way — not just food, but the business. And while food might be the most important part of the restaurant puzzle, it is just a part. As a chef, I'm wrapped up in the food, in the sourcing, in the cooking. But it's not what I'm interested in writing about here.

Not to come off as arrogant, but the food really isn't that hard, especially if you truly love it and you're smart enough to work with good product. And the people who support our restaurants seem to get more excited about food by the day, giving our dining landscape in Atlanta an exciting and prosperous future. That being said, some (and remember, I said "some") of the people who dine at our restaurants seem to get crazier and more difficult to deal with by the day. Enter the Angry Chef.

Now this is precisely the juncture where we need to keep all of this in perspective. I'm not saying, nor did I ever say, I won't deal with these people, resorting to exiling them from my restaurant. I deal with you folks every day, and I must admit, I owe you a debt of gratitude. Without you, what would I be writing about? As much as I love food, I don't think I'll ever want to write about it.

But I do love the restaurant business; I mean, if the restaurant business was a porn movie, my wife would definitely find that one in the VCR. There is so much more than meets the eye. As a true student of this business, I've immersed myself, sometimes way too much, in every single aspect. The 15 some years I've spent in restaurants have been a study of humanity, on two different fronts. It's not just about the customers. The people who work in restaurants (a lot them, anyway) are just as crazy as the rest of you, if not more.

My maturation in this business has been anything but conventional and right. While I've been very fortunate to surround myself with some very good people, I've also interacted with many freaks, misfits and straight up assholes. I never went to culinary school. I've never been to Europe, never had some great chef take me under his or her wing and spoon feed me all that he or she knew. When I first started cooking, weed was the herb that I knew most about. Shit, I've never worked in a really, really good restaurant — you know, four-star or Michelin rated. I didn't know corn didn't come of out a can until I was probably a teenager. So what's point of this? I'm not sure yet. I just get on Twitter each day and write.

But 140 characters isn't enough. So thanks Besha Rodell and CL ... I look forward to making people laugh. Some of the columns will be more controversial than others, but hopefully they'll all be entertaining. If you don't like what I'm saying, well I guess be thankful for the media and all its magnificent forums of expression. Stay tuned for the Angry Chef.

Ron owns and operates Rosebud restaurant and the soon-to-open Family Dog bar in Morningside. He also makes people laugh on Twitter and makes other people incensed on various blogs and websites.

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