Today I had the pleasure of speaking to my girlfriend at lunch. I had just sat down at as local pizza buffet when she called. We talked about how her day was going and a few other things. In an effort to make more pleasant conversation, I asked where she was planning to eat lunch. She began to read me of a few menu items from the nearest kitchen. As I heard the items I was able to place her at K-16 the high volume (and sometimes low quality) kitchen at the school. After hearing the menu items I assumed she was going to be eating there.
I then jumped her with several questions. “Why do you eat at those kitchens, there not that good?”. She then informed me that she wasn’t eating there but just checking out the menu. “Why don’t go eat Cuisines of Asia’s or Med’s?” She then gave me some insightful information: “I can’t eat at Med’s.” When I asked her why she told me that she and nearly half of her class had gotten quite sick from food poisoning when eating at the Med’s kitchen. Now the chances of getting food poisoning from a culinary school where students are coming to learn is higher than it would be at a restaurant. Still, to me it seemed like the chances of her getting sick again were still relatively low. That didn’t change her mind though.
I find it absolutely amazing how just one bad experience can ruin a restaurant’s reputation with ease. I find the quality of the food the comes out of these post-extern kitchens fabulous. It is always well presented, well seasoned and great quality. That doesn’t matter. Fabulous food is trumped by one bad review. My girlfriend is a perfect example of that. If she was ever asked whether Med’s was a good kitchen to eat at by a new student she would tell them no. She probably would volunteer that she had gotten sick in order to qualify her point.
Now even without eating at this kitchen the student would go around, scared to eat there, telling others the same thing. It is a vicious circle that is extremely hard to fix. It takes minimal momentum to kill a reputation and maximum effort to correct the problem. This is something that has been made clear through school, but hearing it from another person and seeing it action is a fascistic motivator.