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Leave it to Anthony Bourdain to cut through all the PR crap about the economy’s effect on restaurants. He tells Nation’s Restaurant News that the recession is a serious wake-up call for operations that still think they can soak diners with overpriced wine and liquor. Says Bourdain:
On the other hand, there’s going to be a very rude awakening for a lot of types of restaurants if they’re not aware yet how drastically things have changed.… There is going to be an apocalyptic shakeout. On the plus side, the bullsh** will be the first to go.
In the same interview, Bourdain also splashes some cold water on all those culinary school grads who think they’re going to be the next Mario Batali, getting fat on their group of high-end restaurants and line of designer cookware.
The backbone of the cooking business has remained the same: immigrants. But there’s been an enormous influx of trained culinary students, fairly educated middle-class kids, for whom cooking is a viable lifestyle option. That was not the option when I started. Some unscrupulous culinary schools are cranking out huge numbers, with massive student loans, and they might have unjustifiable expectations about how much money they will make. Do they know they’ll be making $10 an hour?
Photo by Neeta Lind