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Running a Fabulous Restaurant: More than Just a Job

There is fast food, and there are restaurants. Just what is it that sets a fine restaurant apart? Some would argue it's the price, some would argue it is the exotic menu; some would argue it's the ambience.

Restaurant Management, Passion Required

I believe that what makes the difference between a mediocre eating establishment and a fine restaurant is the conviction of the restaurant management and employees that running a restaurant is more than just a job. Restaurant management is a job, and a great one if you are truly passionate and committed to food and to the experience of eating.

Lucinda's: A Restaurant and a Home, but Never a Job

One of the finest restaurants I've ever enjoyed a meat at was a small, family run restaurant - a restaurant I don't even know the real name of. It was always just known as Lucinda's. Lucinda, the chef, the head of restaurant management, sometimes the server, and always the hostess made you feel like you were at home, and you practically were - at her home that is. You hardly felt like you were at a restaurant. Lucinda made you feel like a guest not like a customer, and certainly not like just another part of her job.

The Menu, Simple and Splendid

The key component to a fine restaurant is of course the food. Lucinda's menu is not complicated. She offers just one dish per day and it varies depending upon the fresh ingredients she is able to get and her mood. The menu ranges from roasted rabbit to salted codfish baked in a clay pot to fresh wild boar. All dishes are accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables and sometimes fresh fruit or a sweet rice custard.

Food, Not Fame

Lucinda's has never been rated by Michelin, Zagat, or Gourmet magazine, and I hope it never is. First of all, they would be hard pressed to find it. Lucinda's is on a tiny street in the small city of Covilha, tucked away in the mountains of northern Portugal. Second of all, and somewhat selfishly I suppose, I hope that Lucinda's never changes.