Life is filled with wonderful things and terrible things. During interviews, however, we pretty much only get to hear about the wonderful things. Ten Things I Hate is a chance for people in the food world to get things off their chest. We ask them what they hate, they give us a list. Next up: Matt McCallister.
If you haven’t heard of Matt McCallister yet, you will. The 32-year-old chef learned the food game under big names like Stephen Pyles, Grant Achatz, Sean Brock and Daniel Boulud before opening his own place a little over a year ago. Since then, FT33 has become a breakout star in Dallas and the self-taught McCallister has become the city’s hottest chef. He grabbed Food & Wine‘s People’s Best New Chef: Southwest award this year and he just picked up his second consecutive Chef of the Year award from Eater Dallas. It’s all well-deserved for a man serving house-made beef heart ham in a town that skews more towards giant slabs of beef. That doesn’t mean everything is all rosy for McCallister. In fact, he’s got a quite a bit to get off his chest — and we’re going to let him do it. Here are 10 things that Matt McCallister hates:
1. Chefs Who Don’t Taste Their Food
Being a cook is about developing your palate, when I tell you that something isn’t seasoned right – whether it is too salty, too acidic or not enough – fucking fix it and then try to remember how to do that all the time. Too often I watch cooks these days never taste a thing. Even worse is watching a chef just let that happen. It’s your fucking name on the menu, it’s your reputation. Even worse than that is a cook who tastes his food but all he is really doing is going through the motions and he doesn’t really give a shit either way. TASTE YOUR FOOD. I taste everyone’s food all the time. I never settle and every single person eating at my restaurant is a VIP.
2. Soft Cooks
Cooks these day are too soft. They have no sack. I have had guys that I have not even yelled at, but firmly let them know how the fuck this show runs… and that they aren’t the lead act. Then they come to me and say they can’t handle the stress. I usually say “thank you” at that point… ’cause I can’t handle it either.
The country is full of people like this. I have no place for them.
3. Culinary Schools
Here’s my story: I work and will always work harder and faster than you. You will never come close to keeping up with me. While I dream, I am working and I don’t even like sleep because it cuts into the time I have in a day to perfect my craft. This industry is hard and 95% of the kids going to and coming out of culinary schools are shit. YOU are WASTING your money going to school. You can learn all that by going and getting a job at the best restaurant and learning from the best. “Shut up, listen and work harder than anyone” is what my dad taught me and it has served me well.
I was paid shit when I started. I didn’t even know how to make a beurre blanc when I started working at a 5-star restaurant, but I had the willingness to stay up all night reading books and trying new things and reading and learning.
4. The “I know it all” attitude
Hey, guess what? “You’re fired.”
I own and run what I think is one of the best restaurants in Texas and I don’t know shit. Never have and never will.
Go ahead and talk all the shit you want about me. This industry is very small and your words usually get to me pretty fast. At the end of the day, I [couldn’t] care less what you think about me. I’m just getting started, so there is going to be a long line of all you assholes.
6. Not cooking with the season and not respecting your ingredients and where they come from
You know who you are. And what is even worse are the idiots that don’t even know when things are and aren’t in season. Just because it is at the grocery store doesn’t mean it is in season. That is what is wrong with the world.
7. LOUD DINERS
Nobody cares about anything you are really talking about two tables down from you, so please SHUT THE FUCK UP.
If you know me, you already knew that.
9. “Compressed, Sous Vide, Pan-Seared”
You really are going to waste valuable real estate on a printed menu with these bullshit terms? I get it… you sear stuff… in a pan… thanks.
Nobody really gives a shit that you have a vacuum pac machine. We all do. Yes, 99% of us have circulators.
10. People who smoke pot
I know. I smoked it for a long time, and yes, I can tell you are stoned. You are lazy and cut corners. Grow up.
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