Ok you guys: I know I'm not perfect, but give me a break! I was privilaged to read the reviews of all the summer trips on Sunday. So, I have not had a good nights sleep since then. My obsessive compulsive brain just won't let go of the not so good comments. I should be able to justify in my silly little head that I can't please everyone all the time and that I do make mistakes, but I have chosen a career (is that what this is?) of trying to please everyone every time! Poor Jack has had to listen to me rant for the last four days. Says I take it way to personal. Me? No way. It feels to me that the more effort I put into the menues, the quality of the product that I serve, the more critical my audiance is.
(I do want to say, before I get started, that we did recieve many great comments and reviews! The critisisms were the minority, I just obsesse about them. I do want to thank all of you that appreciate what I do and are supportive of us! THANK YOU!)
Do you realize that in the last 15 years I have catered 84 bike tours. 84 times the average of 70 participants. 5,880 people have been privy to having catered meals in some of the worst conditions imaginable: I love cooking in 107* heat or sleeting hail. 5,880 people, 3 meals a day: 17,640 meals. 17,640 meals for the average of 6 days of touring: 105,840 individual meals I have prepared. And I'm not perfect? Should be! Don't you think? And of these some 5,880 people that I have catered to, some 806 of them have "special needs" that I try to accomodate while feeding everyone else! That's 4,836 sandwiches that have to be made seperately!
If there is a food allergy, intolerance, preference, like or dislike, I have just about seen it all. I'm supposed to make them all happy all the time!
So: here's my rebuttle: I'm a "chef" so I'm allowed to rebute.
Ok, I put you the vegetarians name on a chicken salad sandwich ONE TIME. You indicated no red meat. It was chicken breast.
You don't want any foods with hydrogenated vegeatable oil? Margarine was all I had in the truck. I will try to provide butter from now on, but bring your own REAL maple syrup. Yes, I can put more of my budget into providing it for you, but forget the seafood feast at Bayview State Park. I do that beacause I want to share our fabulous local fare. It's not in the "budget", just ask Jack. And I won't splurge and buy the amazing cheeses in the wine country. Jack tried to reel me in on that one, but I won. They were good!
If you don't want a rice and lentil wrap, Veggie person, there is ALWAYS peanut butter and jelly and bread at the lunch stop, as you suggested.
Hate my job? What did I do to deserve that one? Oh, I know: your darling youngster took 14 pieces of watermelon, 6 ears of corn and 15 desserts. (who's counting?) Maybe I wasn't gentle enough in addressing this issue during the week. For that I apologize.
More fresh foods: what do you think $2000.00 of organic, sustanably grown produce is doing in the back of my truck. I didn't pick it fresh that morning. I did in Colorado, but that opportuinity doesn't come up in Utah where nothing grows. Guess I could have served cactus.
Yes, the bananas on the last day were a little soft. They were not mushy! But it's still a banana. Good fuel!
And about recycling: I try to recycle whenever possible, but it's not my fault the majority of the states that we're in don't recycle. I drove around following a park ranger in Borrego Springs for an hour trying to find a recycle for glass: the state cut their recycling program because of budget cuts, and Montana has to ship the glass too far so it's not cost effective. And what is the logic behind, "wasting our time washing dishes to cut the amount of garbage when we don't recycle?". We are saving almost 4 large bags of trash a day on the low end by washing our own dishes. I will, however, try harder to recycle. I cannot haul it 2000 miles home. Though, at home I am a recycling maniac. Just ask Jack and Scott.
Breakfast on the last day was cold? It was in a chaefer with sterno, but when you show up 3 minutes before breakfast is over, you're having a good day because there was breakfast. AND: we're outside for goodness sake. It's cold out here. Hint: I have on long johns and a hat.
About food safety: I have my food handler's card. As well, I am HACCP certified by the State of Washington. My restaurant was recognized for our food safety practices in our county. I sat on an advisory board with the health department for two years. I think I know a thing about food safety. 106,000 meals later, I have never had a food borne illness outbreak. If you had a tummy bug on the last day that you think was from your sandwich, I don't. No one else got sick. Sounds like a tummy bug. And, I don't make the sandwiches the night before. I got up at 4 that morning to make them before breakfast. (I did make the sandwiches the night before on Washington, but had a fridge to put them in.) I have thrown away 50 pounds of lunch meat in Colorado because when I tempt the cooler, it was not in the safety zone. Oh yeah, I do know what that is by the way. I have tossed out breakfast sausage, eggs, chicken, and much more because I was not comfortable with it. Jack makes fun of me because I smell everything: the nose knows.
More protein at breakfast? Tough one when you don't like eggs. There is always a bowl of walnuts with the oatmeal. Great source of protein. I will never, as suggested, put out a bowl of protein bars. Logic behind this? History has shown that when a group, presented with an unlimited supply of gooddies, will pack every pocket available with extra bars that will then get packed to go home. One year the comment was made that I should provide a blender and protein shakes at the water stops. OK.!!!
Yes, I am ranting. Not being really nice? Just frustrated. I really do try to make this an enjoyable experience for everyone. AND I DO APPRECIATE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITISISM.
But you don't have to be mean. Mean is reserved for me at 5:30 in the morning. Just ask Jack. I am constantly learning and changing on these tours. I have had many suggestions from participants that are great ideas! But just know, I am not perfect and I can't make everyone happy. I will, however, keep trying as long as you'll have me.
I love what I do. I have a passion for what I do. (There are days that I really question why I am doing this to myself.) (My family questions my sanity quite often.) But, I will keep on keeping on. Hopefully I'll see you on your next tour and we can laugh about my ranting. And, I'll try to be nice. :)