It’s no different from most trades: Buy low, sell high. In a certain city, this has led chefs to open bars and call them restaurants–the money comes from the 400% mark-up on cocktails and the 300% mark-up on beer and wine. Bonus: Cheap cuts of meat and farmed fish that add to the kitty.
Eating every part of the animal wasn’t inspired by philosophical considerations or a desire to sustain resources. It was a recognition that chefs and wait staff are in the business. The business of selling. And you make more selling heads, feet, organs, and other parts of creatures that cost the restaurant less money.
Me? I’m not eating that stuff routinely. Secret revealed: Most chefs aren’t much either. Go to their homes or dine out with them and they enjoy vegetables, salads, high end protein, and, sure, a bit of beasts that they are curious about.
Any business needs a plan. A good future plan for a chef wanting to open a restaurant would be to cook the food he or she enjoys eating. More specifically, the best item on the buy-low-sell-high spectrum?
Cooking with vegetables emerged at L’Arpege. It’s happening with Ducasse and Vongerichten. Bittman just put his money where his mouth is by joining up with a terrific vegetarian company. And more places are opening that use vegetables–far cheaper than meat, poultry, and fish–as their focus.
The challenge though is that vegetables require cooking skills you do not need when serving animal fat.