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Give us this day our daily bread ...... and a bill


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Author Topic: Give us this day our daily bread ...... and a bill  (Read 581 times)
Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: August 23, 2010, 01:39:08 pm »


Bread charge is a restaurant rip-off, says Aussie critic

By KIM KNIGHT - Sunday Star Times | 10:13AM - Sunday, 15 August 2010

NO EXTRA: Jacob Brown, owner of The Larder in Wellington's Miramar, says he serves his own sourdough and ciabatta free to diners.
NO EXTRA: Jacob Brown, owner of The Larder
in Wellington's Miramar, says he serves his
own sourdough and ciabatta free to diners.


GIVE US this day our daily bread and a bill for at least $7.

No thanks, says a top Australian restaurant critic, who warns the practice of charging for bread is about to bite Kiwi eateries.

Simon Thomsen, former Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide co-editor, says making people pay for something that is free overseas won't wash with international Rugby World Cup visitors.

"All the Europeans are going to have a WTF moment. If the Italian guys turn up and New Zealand restaurants are demanding seven bucks to put some bread on the table... there's going to be riots."

Thomsen, international guest judge for the Cuisine Magazine restaurant awards (announced in Auckland tomorrow), says without bread, "there is a barren space in the meal".

"It's a part of the natural hospitality of a restaurant. New Zealand lacks a sense of hospitality on that front."

As an undercover critic for the country's only national restaurant awards, Thomsen says "a couple" of establishments gave free bread while others charged up to $10.

Steve Mackenzie, Restaurant Association chief executive, called Thomsen's complaint "bollocks".

"We've had overseas visitors coming here for 100 years and not one person has complained about being charged for bread."

"It used to be free, way back in the 1970s, but we've moved on. There is a level of skill being demonstrated in bread-making that means there is a true cost behind it, and we should be recovering that."

Simon Gault, MasterChef judge, and master chef for the Nourish group, including Euro, Shed 5 and Pravda, says he spends around $18,000 annually freighting product from Canterbury artisan baker Rachel Scott. "I'm not in the business of giving away free stuff, I'm in the business of selling good stuff."

And he says Australian restaurants can afford to subsidise bread, because the rest of their menus are so pricey. "Have you eaten out over there lately? The cost per head is outrageous."

Locally, fine dining restaurants are more likely than bistros to offer free bread. One neighbourhood eatery bucking that trend is Wellington's The Larder.

Chef Jacob Brown says he makes up to 18kg of sourdough and ciabatta daily, serving it free with butter or olive oil.

"I believe in that generosity of spirit. You've come to my restaurant, here's something from me, from my heart."

At Auckland restaurant Pure, Swiss-born chef Stefan Loetscher says his free bread "doesn't cost me that much to make, just a bit of time, and it's something special for the customer".

He says diners don't abuse the complimentary offering, which last week included a quark mousse. "They get two slices each... and if they want more, they get more, but mostly they're happy."

Last year's Cuisine awards guest judge Ralph Kyte-Powell was also unhappy with the way New Zealand restaurants served bread. "Just when you need it to mop up the remnants of the chef's outstanding sauces and dressings, it's gone with never an offer of more."

A phone survey of top-end Melbourne and Sydney restaurants found all offered unlimited complimentary bread to diners. At Melbourne's Ezard, customers receive an endless supply of casalinga bread, served with infused olive oil, and a trio of dry dips.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/4026090/Bread-charge-is-a-restaurant-rip-off-says-Aussie-critic
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 01:40:56 pm »


Top chef speaks out in bread debate

By KIM KNIGHT - Sunday Star Times | 10:38AM - Sunday, 22 August 2010

BREAD VERSUS DOUGH: The Kiwi chef in charge of Gordon Ramsay's only Australasian restaurant has risen to the free bread debate.
BREAD VERSUS DOUGH: The Kiwi chef in charge
of Gordon Ramsay's only Australasian restaurant
has risen to the free bread debate.


THE KIWI CHEF in charge of Gordon Ramsay's only Australasian restaurant has risen to the free bread debate.

Josh Emett, who heads Melbourne eatery Maze, said New Zealand restaurants and their customers don't understand the function of bread.

"In New Zealand we eat it as an appetiser, but the way it has been done for donkey's years in France or wherever, is that it's eaten alongside the meal, to mop up sauces, and to snack on as you go ... you're not supposed to eat it all in one shot."

Last week, the Sunday Star-Times reported Australian food critic Simon Thomsen's disgust at the Kiwi practice of charging for bread.

The Cuisine Restaurant of the Year guest judge said it wouldn't wash with next year's Rugby World Cup visitors, who were used to unlimited complimentary offerings, claiming "there's going to be riots".

Hamilton-raised Emett has worked for Ramsay (on TV here now in The F-Word and Kitchen Nightmares) in London and New York. Maze serves up $20,000 worth of foccacia-style bread — with seaweed-blended butter — a year.

"We have people who hammer it, because they love it. We take it on the chin."

Thomsen's comments divided Star-Times readers.

"What bollocks," said Geoff Nairn of New Plymouth. "Order a lamb chop in Europe, says Nairn, "and that's what you get ... all alone, desolate and friendless on a plate." The bread might be free, but, he warns, you'll pay for the veg.

One traveller to Italy said she discovered too late that the packaged breadsticks her family left uneaten were added to their bill, regardless.

And John Cameron, back from three weeks of free bread in France, had stern words for Mecca in Auckland's Mission Bay, where he was charged $20.50 for four slices of bread and three ramekins of dip. "We vowed to never return."

Lower Hutt's Marian Hofsteede expected free bread and butter back in 1967 when she went to Australia, but was charged three cents a slice.

"It still rankles."

But the ultimate bad bread experience? Otaki's Jean Saint John says her nephew Steve Carter's visit to the tattooist: Carter Born and Bread.

"He may never live it down."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/4048375/Top-chef-speaks-out-in-bread-debate
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beaker
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 11:02:17 pm »

Went out for a few drinks at a Wanganui restaurant (Indigo) last week.  Yes we got a couple slices of garlic bruscetta each complimentary, but as my friend pointed out, toasted bread encourages you to drink more. 

I was however mortified when I ordered three bowls of chips (dessert bowl size) with a small dish of aioli - was charged $10 per bowl :-s
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