Many of you read (and reacted to) my critical post on new Melbourne restaurant My Mexican Cousin (MMC).
In the aftermath of the post, the owners of MMC reached out to me via Twitter and proposed a meeting.
My initial concerns were that I was going to get an aggressive lecture by several very irate business owners and a seriously pissed off chef. However, I wrote the words and so believed it was important to stand behind my views. AKA, owning my shit.
MMC had several options for how to react to and “handle” my post. They could have ignored it. They could have responded with a public stance condemning me and my opinions. They could have disregarded the post publicly and bitched about me off the record.
What they did do is acknowledge that there was room for improvement. To their credit, they recognised that the best way to move forward was to hire someone who was well versed in Creole and Cajun cookery to assist with the menu. To get it right. And they decided, after my passionate display, that person should be me. So I am now working as a paid temporary consultant with MMC.
MMC has been constantly and consistently busy since it’s opening night, and by no means did they need to engage me in order to make money. The difference is, they WANT to get it right. To move from a very diluted version of inspired to a closer version of authentic. So they put their money where their mouth was.
There are challenges that lie ahead, not the least of which is sourcing ingredients which are generally unavailable in Australia. But I am exceedingly pleased to participate in the process of moving MMC closer to having an authentic Creole menu.
FINAL UPDATE, FEB 2012:
My contract with My Mexican Cousin ended amicably in late January (as scheduled) after two months of interesting and challenging work. In my final week I participated in the Fringe Food Festival event, “A Crash Course In Creole”, which was effectively the culmination of my work and launch of the new menu. It was a great event, and a fabulous night and I was pleased to be able to show my work to interested parties.
The thing I found most challenging during my consultancy, was that despite handing over complete recipes and in some cases demonstrating how to prepare the dishes, the dishes were sometimes executed in a manner different to how I had described/taught/shown the kitchen. This meant that on occasion, the plate served to the table was not accurately representative of the dish I was intending to reproduce.
Mostly I wanted to clarify: the chef at MMC implemented menu changes within two weeks of my contract finishing. I can no longer take responsibility for or “authenticate” any of the dishes at MMC. It seems the period my recipes and ideas were implemented was a limited time only.