I looked at the definition of a restaurant this morning and here’s what I found: “a place where people pay to sit and eat meals that are cooked and served on the premises.” What I find interesting is the phrase: “cooked…on the premises.” What does the word cooked actually mean. Cook is defined as: “prepare (food, a dish, or a meal) by combining and heating the ingredients in various ways.”
I feel many restaurants have lost their way when it comes to what it means to be a restaurant. The term cooked has been replaced with the terms purchased and reheated. This is evident every time I go to a food show. Food shows are events put on by food suppliers specifically for restaurants (and other food related organizations). Walking up and down the aisles, very rarely is anyone actually cooking anything. They are mainly reheating frozen meals and putting their names behind the pre-cooked purchased products. How many menus have you seen where they say “try our new cheesecake” or “try our new pretzel buns”? You get the idea – very few restaurant actually mean it when they say “our”.
Why is this? In my mind there are two reasons: profits and convenience. It is often times more expensive to cook from scratch. You need to pay a skilled employee to do it, there is the risk of it being made incorrectly or over cooked – therefore having to throw out the batch and start over. It is obviously more convenient to order pre-made items than it is to make them from scratch. All-that-to-say, a majority of restaurants these days, in hopes of higher profits and less work, have become food re-heating establishments.
Often times, a restaurant’s menu will make you think that their food is actually prepared from scratch behind the swinging doors of the kitchen. I’ve seen some restaurants use the phrases: “made fresh daily” or even “homemade”. These can often be misleading. I had an employee once who said as long as you add 3 seasons/ingredients to a product, you can call it homemade. Buy a can of chicken noodle soup, add parsley, extra salt, and maybe some pepper and, according to him, it now is “our” homemade chicken noodle soup. This simply isn’t right, but it’s the way it is in many restaurants.
At Noble, our tagline is: “Honest Scratch Cooking.” We chose this because this is what we do. Is everything made from scratch? No, our organic breads, all natural ketchup and mayo are all purchased. It would be almost impossible to truly have an entire menu without any pre-made products on it. Are a lot of our items made from scratch? Yes. The reason we do this is because we believe it is important. The more we make from scratch in our kitchen, the more control we have over what food we are providing our guests. We believe our guests deserve good food, made from scratch as much as possible, in a pleasant environment for a fair price. Thank you for reading and we look forward to serving you soon.