Submitted By Simon Hardy Butler, April 12, 2017

One of the most vivid culinary memories I have is of a childhood visit to a local restaurant outside Paris where the chef, following our repast, met everyone in the parking lot to shake hands with his customers.

Including me.

Why don’t chefs do this more often? I’m not saying they should go into the parking lot necessarily (especially if their restaurants don’t have any), but it might make sense to introduce yourself to the people you’re creating meals for if they clamor for it. Or even if they don’t clamor for it. Makes for good PR, in my opinion.

Of course, this isn’t for everyone. Some people are shy, and some people just like to do their own thing without being bothered. Yet many of the toque-bearers I know are both garrulous and gregarious, and they love to chat about gastronomy. I think more people should ape their behavior. They like to talk to folks. Isn’t that a good idea?

Oftentimes, diners want to know the inspiration behind their dishes, as well as find out who devised them … and what makes him or her tick. It’s like reading a great novel by a fine writer and wanting to hear more about the source. Or listening to a beautiful piece of music by a famous composer and looking for more information on the individual.

We’re a naturally curious species. And consuming the artistry isn’t always enough. We seek the foundations for such work. We seek the motivations.

Chefs meeting their clients more frequently after feasts would be a good way to address this.

So I say: Let’s do it more. Let’s welcome this new era of communication and discussion. It’s a powerful way to connect with gourmets. It’s a strong means to an advertising end.

Plus, it puts a face on those who cook and do a terrific job of it. What’s not to like?

In my book, and I’ll tell you honestly, nothing.

You’ll always find a fan in such dialogues with me.

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