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.