Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Curious Case Of The Half A Million Dollar Chef

The chef of my favourite restaurant has recently become almost like a celebrity chef after his salary of $500,000 a year was published in the newspapers. This report stirred up a storm in a teacup ... er ... i mean soup bowl, a mini tsunami of dissenting opinion against the chef, the restaurant and even the restaurant's patrons.

Some have criticized that the chef or chefs in general should not be paid so much. They should not be cooking for high salaries but just for the fact that they love cooking and it is their calling. Some have criticized the restaurant's management for paying such a high salary to the chef and accused the management of mismanaging the restaurant's funds while some have mocked the restaurant's patrons for being fools to contribute to the income of the chef.

I dare say most of these critics have never tasted the food cooked by the chef and don't ever intend to. I think the crux of this issue is that many people do not value the work of a chef highly and consider that $500,000 is gross over-payment even for a top chef who attracts thousands of patrons to the restaurant.

Just imagine, it is not unusual for a top player in the English Premier League to earn more than $250,000 a week! There are people who place much value on the ability of a man to kick a leather ball around and willing to pay top dollar for it. I think it is time for people to change their mindset and not consider the job of a chef as a lowly profession but should rightly accord a chef double honour.

However, I suspect that despite or maybe even because of all the brouhaha, the queues outside the restaurant are going to get even longer. My brother-in-law was recently asked by his friend, a regular patron of another restaurant, to "ta bao" (i.e. take-out) some dishes for him to sample as he was curious to know how the food cooked by a Half A Million Dollar Chef tastes like.

The restaurant will be moving to a new and bigger venue in a few years' time to cater for the ever growing numbers of patrons but after all this free publicity, I think the new venue may not be big enough.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

This confirms it. Religion and business do get mixed up in some places.

Anonymous said...

Blessing by god. Decision by people.

zoe said...

Thank you. Great parable, well shared.

eekpil said...

Bravo. Enjoyed reading it. Thanks bro! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley,

I may visit this restaurant one of these days. Hope to meet up with the Owner.

Shalom,
Benjamin

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Brilliant analogy =D Lol!

Anonymous said...

yeah, brilliant. serrving poisons. LOL

Timothy Tan said...

I have been visiting the restaurant since 2002. It was out of curiosity as my thought then was 10k visitors could not be wrong. I should give it a try. I never regretted looking back. Indeed, I am well fed and grown stronger each day. It turns out to be serving nourishing meals. Please do not merely listen to others. Try it for yourself. Of course, trying one course or two is not enough. Determine to try at least 3 months before coming to any conclusion or verdict. Visit only if you care enough to have good nourishing meals ...

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous_4April_818PM,

Are you the same anonymous of 1137AM and 1143AM?

Are you choosing to remain anonymous for fear of being poisoned for speaking nonsense?

All the chefs in Singapore are using the same pool of ingredients to cook their food. However, it is important to note that while certain ingredients are harmless on their own, mixing them together can have a poisonous effect.

I'm sure the Half A Million Dollar Chef doesn't do that because the many thousands who have tasted his cooking are alive and well-nourished and coming back again and again for more.

A case in point is Bro Timothy Tan who testifies to being well fed and growing stronger each day. Perhaps you might want to join him and drop by the restaurant and taste the food yourself.

Don't worry, I don't think you would be singled out for targeted poisoning since you would be anonymous in the midst of a 20,000 strong crowd.

Anonymous said...

Business and religion normally should not get mixed up, may be when you add some poison, they do.

Look like it's wasn't the boss who decided the salary but some boss assistants who did.

Wait till JD comes, the boss will be really angry with the assistants and those who spoke up for them !

Ha ha

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous,

You said,"Business and religion normally should not get mixed up, may be when you add some poison, they do."

Let's take a look at Luke 5:1-11.
Jesus made use of Simon Peter's fishing boat as a platform to preach to the crowds.

After He finished preaching, Jesus directed Peter to move the boat into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.

And what a catch they had! They caught so much fish that the nets began to break, so much fish that filled the boats so full until they began to sink, so much fish that Peter was moved to leave everything to follow Jesus.

A curious mix of business and religion by Jesus, don't you think?

**********************************
1One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a]with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, 2he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down[b] the nets for a catch."

5Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets."

6When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

8When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" 9For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." 11So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
**********************************

Anonymous said...

Here's the complete parable.

Yes, the news of the Half a Million Dollar Chef is out. Now, more and more people start talking about him.

Some of these people happen to have patronised the restaurant before. Some of them, only one time but for others, over a period of time. They explain why they don’t visit the place anymore. They all say the food taste good but just different.

The Boss of this restaurant actually has many more of such restaurants. He anticipates that he will have very good business. So he wants to control the standard of his food by making sure that they use the right ingredients. The Boss has written 2 books: 1) Old Ingredient Book, 2) New Ingredient Book. He has sent his Son to all the restaurants to instruct them to use the New Ingredient Book.

For those people have patronised other restaurants before, they find that the food here does taste good and the texture is excellent but it’s just different. The food at other branches is largely similar, but this one is just different. They take the food and analyse it. They find that the food is loaded with Trans Fat!

Previously, people don’t know much about Trans Fat. They all think that margarine is better than butter. But now, it’s proven that Trans Fat is harmful for the body. It does not kill immediately though and because it gives a better texture, people like it and think that the food is more nutritious.

How does this Trans Fat come about? It’s because the Chef does not follow the full instructions from the Son of the Boss. He chooses and picks the ingredient according to his own experimentation.

But people who patronise other branches deliberately stay away as they now know that the food contains Trans Fat. They try to tell those who partronise this branch about it but they are too mesmerized by the texture. Some patrons actually do not eat the food. They come to this branch to socialise as they just want to maintain their business contacts who find this place very conducive for networking.

After hearing these comments, the Boss assistants and the restaurant patrons try to defend their Chef. They ask those who have not visited this branch and thus could not have tasted the food to shut up. They do not realise that many patrons have bought take away and posted them on the internet, such as YouTube. In fact, many can be found there! The Boss does not blame those who do not come to this restaurant but comment. He is very happy that they do make those comments. By commenting, it helps the public to stay away from this branch and go to those branches that cook truly what He intends the Chef to do.

So what is the Boss going to do about this? He is really a smart Boss. He has already anticipated that some Chefs would defy His orders. He has fixed a date to meet up with them and he would mete out the harshest sentence ever. But isn’t He the One who rewards this Chef with the handsome pay? Actually, no. It isn’t the Boss but His assistants who also eat the Chef’s cooking. They would face the same sentence.

What about those who continue to eat the food? Same sentence.

And what will happen to those who commented? He will reward them far beyond the imagination of the Chef, the assistants and those grudging patrons.

Malcolm Loh said...

The chef uses Old Ingredients as well, but they are all filtered through what the Son of the Boss has done.

In fact, the chef uses all 66 ingredients.

The trouble with other chefs is they sometimes do use Old Ingredients but ignore the work of the Son of the Boss. That is why their patrons feel shortchanged and are still hungry or even worse, get food-poisoning.

When they see patrons queueing up at Christos Restaurant, they pass rumours that the chef is using trans-fat.

Little do they realise that their breath smells of extremely sour grapes.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Mal,

LOL! Maybe they imitated the Son of the Boss and drank sour wine ;-)

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley

It's interesting that you actually select “The Calling of the First Disciples”! There could be 2 outcomes:

1.Simon did not follow Jesus and continue catching his fish (Business)

2. Simon left everything and followed Jesus (Religion)

Simon had chosen number 2. Therefore, there was no mixed up of Business and Religion. In fact, by not selecting number 1, Simon had demonstrated that Business and Religion should not get mixed up!

Anonymous said...

Here's the latest news. Heard the patrons of this restaurant likes to scratch each other's back.

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Stan, I am beginning to see that there is no point talking to people if they are convinced that their points are irrefutably right. There isn't room even for an open discussion.

I just have this to say - Jesus is our advocate, our pastor's advocate, our church's advocate.

I honestly am so tired talking to people about this issue because instead of focusing on Christ and edifying each other, the comment page is becoming a warzone.

Perhaps it is good to follow one of Adonai's prophets and say - Let him/her/them say what they want to say, perhaps God in Heaven will hear what they say and bless us all the more for it. =D

Shalom,
Geri

His sheep said...

Let's just feed and leave the judgement to the Perfect One - who was not quick to judge...(To Stanley: Thanks bro!)

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous,

It's interesting that even though I cited the scripture passage to demonstrate the mixing of business and religion by JESUS, you chose to twist my point and shift the focus on Simon.

Your point of business and religion should not be mixed was originally meant to be directed at the preacher, wasn't it? But now you conveniently choose to redirect it at the follower?

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley

I couldn't find the part on the preacher doing business in your citation. So naturally, I found it in Simon. So sorry for that. It's wasn't intentional. Just limited intellect on my part.

Let's then focus back on the preacher which is Jesus. Are you trying to convince me that Jesus was doing business when he was preaching ? Where was the transaction ?

For Simon, I can see that he gave up his business.

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous,

My apologies, it seems that I have over-estimated your intellect.

Jesus was preaching (religion) from a fishing boat (commercial craft) and later directed Simon Peter to go fishing (business).

I hope I have clarified my point sufficiently, otherwise my apologies again, I may have once again over-estimated my already lowered estimation of your intellect ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at your ability to do connections, Stanley.

First you linked tax and donation and can't tell the difference. Now you manage to call anything a Business.

A fishing boat is a commercial craft, may be. But I don't suppose you sell anything there. You probably take the fish to the market to sell them. That's where the business is done.

Neither is the act of fishing considered a Business. The act of selling the fish is the Business.

If I were to apply your logic, then a drink seller in a school canteen can be considered working in the "Education Business".

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm getting a taste of the effect of this Trans Fat.

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous,

My apologies, I guess I have to lower my estimation of your intellect further.

I suppose you are expecting Simon Peter and his mates to haul the nets-breaking, boats-sinking load of fishes home and eat them for one whole month?! You mean to say they are fishing only for leisure or self-sufficiency but not for commercial profit?!

You yourself implied that NCC building a commercial building in order to hold its services in the 5,000-seater auditorium in one-north is mixing business and religion, so I draw a parallel of Jesus preaching on a commercial craft, is there no connection?

Going by your logic, since there is no commercial activity conducted in the auditorium, then there is no mixing of business and religion then.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley,

I used to like reading your blog on my friends' computer because I truly believe in the grace message. However, recently I have been very disappointed because it has degenerated into a 'blood bath' among Christians trying to split hairs. My question is where is the grace? How is Christ now edified? If right believing leads to right living, where is the love which Jesus said that we should love one another.
When you started this blog, it was to edify Christ. It may be good to ask yourself, is Christ edified now? Remember, all things are lawful but not all things are expedient. Paul said this in context that if he causes someone to fall, he would rather not do it.
There is only one perfect man and that is Christ. I know that recently there has been a lot of talk about Pastor Prince who I also respect. Please note that he is human as he himself said that there is no perfect church. I believe that there are some valid issues which needs to be addressed but let it be done within the church. No point arguing it outside and degenerating this blog into sacarstic name callings. Think about it, has anyone been stumbled along the way? Even if there is one, Jesus would be very sad, remember the parable of the lost coin.
Just one last comment. Please remember your original intention when you started this blog. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. The gospel revolution is indeed true and it will spread. However, if we are fighting within the body how can it spread? Remember when they accused that Jesus is from the devil, he said that a house divided cannot stand. Just keep on edifying Jesus and His wonderful grace and just LET GOD! Paul said I planted, Apolos watered, how it grew, I knew not...

No need to respond to me as I will not be replying. This is just my opinion. Thanks.

In His Love,
John

Stanley Wong said...

Dear John,

You don't need to reply me. I am writing for the benefit of others reading this too.

I do not moderate comments on my blog and people are free to speak their mind here. Sometimes this results in vigorous debate as people of differing opinions state, explain and defend their positions and also attack opposing positions. Sometimes sarcasm is also used to drive home certain points.

I accept all this as part and parcel of the cut and thrust of debate. I particularly dislike it when people, who cannot or do not appreciate such exchanges, use the excuse of "we have to show grace" to avoid arguing over issues.

You may think that this arguing is not edifying but I feel that it allows the different angles of an issue as viewed by different people to be freely expressed.

I agree with you that everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Therefore, as you will notice, I do not censor or delete dissenting voices in my blog.

Everyone, including you, is free to draw his own conclusion from reading all the different angles of opinion expressed here.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley

"I suppose you are expecting Simon Peter and his mates to haul the nets-breaking, boats-sinking load of fishes home and eat them for one whole month?! You mean to say they are fishing only for leisure or self-sufficiency but not for commercial profit?!" - No. I didn't say that. Jesus was preaching and he happened to demonostrate God's power on a fishing boat. Jesus already knew that he will leave everything and follow Him. He does not intent to eat them or sell them. He only wanted to demonstrate his power to bring Simon to Him. But how you link it to Business.... I really shake head.

"You yourself implied that NCC building a commercial building in order to hold its services in the 5,000-seater auditorium in one-north is mixing business and religion, so I draw a parallel of Jesus preaching on a commercial craft, is there no connection?" - I thought this thread is about the Chef's salary ? When did I imply this ? My intellect is low and I'm beginning to forget things. Please just point to me where I implied this. I'm not being sarcastic. I've searched and couldn't find it, honestly.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley, question for you.

Initially, you were flabbergasted by the Chef's high pay "What? $500,000 just to cook food? This is too much! I am never coming to this restaurant again!" but later, you try to justify his pay by comparing it to a profession in a totally different field.

How come ?

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous,

I guess for the sake of your self-admitted low intellect, I shall "imitate Christ" and explain the whole context of my article.

I was writing a parable ... a story ... to illustrate the absurdity of people making a big fuss of Pastor Prince's $500k a year salary; I was not writing a factual account of an actual visit to a restaurant.

I used the analogy of a restaurant because I felt that it was appropriate since a pastor is dishing out spiritual food to the congregation every Sunday.

I wrote that I was flabbergasted ... it is a technique of story-telling ... my character in the story is representative of the typical view of people outside the church. I used the character of my wife in the story to say why that view is wrong.

I thought you implied about one-North based on your very first comment:"This confirms it. Religion and business do get mixed up in some places."

Since you say you did not imply this, could you explain in what way did my parable about Pastor Prince's salary confirm for you that "religion and business do get mixed up in some places"?

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley

>> I was writing a parable ... a story ... to illustrate the absurdity of people making a big fuss of Pastor Prince's $500k a year salary; I was not writing a factual account of an actual visit to a restaurant. <<

I find that this statement itself is absurd. You think that fussing over a Chef's high pay is absurd, but do you realise why there is a fuss? The pay! No wind, no tide. The wind causes the tide and now people blames the tide!

>> I used the analogy of a restaurant because I felt that it was appropriate since a pastor is dishing out spiritual food to the congregation every Sunday. <<

Stanley, I’m beginning to get better acquainted with your thinking process now. Spiritual food… ah … food … ah…. restaurant! There, the link is made again. There you start writing a parable on restaurant without considering the fact that a restaurant is a Business while a Church is religion! This is what I meant by mixing Business and Religion. Making use of a situation in a different context to validate another. Business is about making money. Is the Church also? I guess in your mind, the answer is yes. That’s why you can make the connection. But I think many people don’t think like that (except for those who awe, brilliant, great, bravo you)!

>> I wrote that I was flabbergasted ... it is a technique of story-telling ... my character in the story is representative of the typical view of people outside the church. I used the character of my wife in the story to say why that view is wrong. <<

Technique or what, is not the matter. The content has shown that you were flabbergasted as the *patron* and not as an outsider looking in. You also said “I am never coming to this restaurant again!” You can’t run away from these facts. Is your character representing all the patrons of this restaurant? If yes, then I take it that the patrons of this restaurant are also flabbergasted by the pay and will not come back again. The above facts reveal that this is the true spontaneous thinking in your mind when you first write this. As a patron, it’s too much and I won’t come back again. And I guess you review your parable before publishing? After reviewing, you still think that way and publish it. But I wonder why you change your stand in the follow up article. Ok. You don’t need to follow up on this one. I just take it as a Technique issue.

>> I thought you implied about one-North based on your very first comment:"This confirms it. Religion and business do get mixed up in some places."

Since you say you did not imply this, could you explain in what way did my parable about Pastor Prince's salary confirm for you that "religion and business do get mixed up in some places"? <<

Mixing Business and Religion… read above. And aiyo… when does One-North ever come in? The article is about the restaurant. And the comment is about One-North? Faint!

Putting aside our differences in the Chef’s pay... I want to share something with you: Praises don’t make you a better writer. Criticism DOES.

Anonymous said...

no wind, no waves.
no moon, no tide.

Shalom

Anonymous said...

The way things are going you may not have a new venue to go to in a few years' time.

Stanley Wong said...

LOL ... the way things are going, we may have to speed up the completion of the new venue as all the free publicity seems to have attracted a larger than normal crowd last Sunday, and if this trend continues, the present venue will overflow sooner than expected :-)

Malcolm Loh said...

Ya, I was at Gallery West for the 11:30am service and it seemed more crowded than before.

People are beginning to sit up and take notice and become curious about a phenomenon that is supernatural.

And once they taste for themselves the wonderful cooking of the chef, they will come back for more and tell others about it too. Hallelujah!