This Foodie Friday I’d like us to have a think about accessibility and food. No, I don’t mean wheelchair ramps into restaurants or menus for the blind. Maybe a better word might be “pretense.” Let me say what I’m thinking about and you can fill in the blanks. Either way, it relates to business as well (what a shock!).
I watch a lot of cooking and food shows. Some of them feature chefs who give off an air of superiority – they know a lot more than you do. That may be true about the methods but it’s not true about the taste. Any of us knows what we like and dislike and I, for one, am not going to let some dolt with a few years for cooking school under his belt tell me what tastes good. Let’s face it – many of us probably know as much about cooking techniques as they do. What really good chefs have that we might not are moments of inspiration through which they transform food into something etherial.
I don’t want to paint with too wide a brush. As this piece pointed out:
Plenty of big name chefs are popular in large part because of how accessible they want food culture to be (Anthony Bourdain has made an entire career of sharing his love and understanding of food), or how they want to share their knowledge rather than lording it over us simple peons (Wiley Dufresne is as much an enthusiastic Culinary Biophysicist as he is a Chef). Chefs who want to join in the conversation rather than control it are myriad, and they’re a vital part of the discussion.
All of this is applicable to you no matter what business you’re in. We need to spend time making what we do accessible – to our consumers, to our partners, to our team. What I mean is that we need to demystify it – take the very complex and help others to understand it so they in turn can engage in the conversation. It may mean a meeting to explain the types of data you’re gathering. It could be a video inside your factory to explain how a product is made. It’s all really a recognition that the benefits of letting others in and engaging in conversation far outweigh the downsides. No chef is going to tell me what I like. No brand is going to either. Be accessible – ask me the question and I’ll answer and hopefully you’ll respond.
That’s my take. Yours?