Round two with Eric Uffelmann, exec chef of Marlowe's
This is part two of my interview. Part one of my interview with Eric Uffelmann, exec chef of Marlowe's, ran yesterday.
How do you handle customer complaints -- and what should customers do when they're peeved about a dish? I immediately speak with the guest and solve the problem, then go above and beyond expectations. That said, customers are responsible for reading the menu extensively and asking questions, although some questions are better than others. A woman came in recently who didn't know that halibut was a fish.
What are your thoughts on social review sites, like Yelp, OpenTable and Urbanspoon? It is what it is, and for better or worse, we live in a world where everyone gets to put their own two cents in. That said, if you have a legitimate complaint or accolade, why not tell someone at the restaurant? And if you do decide to write something on a review site, at least make a conscious effort to make the review useful for everyone. Writing "The patio was hot in the middle of summer in Denver" is not useful. If you feel like bashing something, or someone, just remember that the phrase of the day is "constructive criticism."
Biggest compliment you've ever received: People from the coast praising the pristine quality and preparation of our seafood.
What's the best food- or kitchen-related gift you've been given? A nine-day vacation to Seattle, Portland and British Columbia with Eric Rivera, the chef at Cafe|Bar. He booked it for us, and our owners ended up paying for the trip, which was a great gesture. And not only was it an amazing culinary trip, where we got to check out all the foods of the Pacific Northwest, but we also ended up flying first class. It was seriously one of the best trips ever.
You're making a pizza. What's on it? Broccoli rabe, homemade Italian ring sausage, pepperoni, garlic oil, mozzarella, and fresh herb-plum tomato fresca.
Guiltiest food pleasure: Fur seal. I don't feel guilty -- it's food we're supposed to eat. We should save the guilt for when we really do something wrong. By the way, I'm just kidding about the fur seal thing...unless someone has a connection for it. Okay, my real guilty pleasure is pretzels. I love pretzels.
Weirdest customer request: Nothing really stands out. People like what they like -- that's the beauty of food. The only thing that really struck me as odd was when a customer claimed to be allergic to salt. That's impossible. I didn't get mad; I just laughed and then cooked the food using no salt and pepper.