Why restaurant food doesn’t taste like home food?

Manoj Patkar – dydirector@ssca.edu.in

I'm a chef by profession but still my wife or mother or mother in law cooks better. Be it a simple vegetable dish or a complicated non veg. dish, I truly relish home food…not just at my own place but at any of my friend’s or relative’s house. Am sure everyone is on the same page and agrees to my views!

Professional chefs are trained to cook food for the masses, ideally for restaurants or banquets. And if it is do with a la carte cooking, the base sauces or gravies are anyways made in bulk beforehand and only the finishing touches are given prior to service

I thought of penning down certain factors to ascertain why restaurant food doesn’t taste like home food hoping to get clarity on this paradox.

Restaurant Food
Home Food
Food is often prepared by men known as cooks or chefs, who are often under work pressures. Food is often prepared by women, many a times a mother or wife, who will cook without any pressure
Cooks and chefs have been trained by their seniors at work. Women have been trained most of the times by their mothers and the cooking techniques are passed on from one generation to another.
Food is cooked by mind.
Food is cooked more by heart and less by mind.
Food is cooked to earn money Food is cooked to share love and affection, not for money.
A cook or chef does not know the guest personally and has no idea what exactly a guest’s meal preferences are At home, a woman knows best, the likes and dislikes of family members along with their eating habits
Food is cooked with an expectation to earn a promotion in life.
Food is cooked without any expectations.
Food is prepared in large quantities Food is prepared in small quantities
One cannot eat restaurant food daily Home cooked food can be safely eaten daily.
Outside food is expensive.
Home made food is cheaper any time.
Outside food maybe stale or even frozen for days together before it is served to guests, thus not assuring to be healthy.
Home made food is fresh and healthy, thus providing a balanced meal.
Restaurant food maybe tastier at times but the credit most often goes to ingredients such as butter or cream or ajinomoto, which are used in excess quantities. The credit for tastier homemade food goes to the woman cooking food using traditional spice mixes or pastes.
Lacks authentic traditional taste as cooks have not been born up and brought up consuming traditional food. Cooks have probably learnt how to cook a dish from cookbooks or through friends or internet. Taste buds are accustomed to the peculiar taste of homemade spice mix or food flavours as consumed since childhood

But well, as people get more busier at work and lack time to cook their own food, restaurant business shall always grow day by day. Spending power of people has increased but nutritional power has decreased. I have been associated with hospitality training institutes for more than a decade and have observed that the current generation isn’t willing to go through the grind. They want instant success with least efforts. Hotel industry is a wonderful career choice provided you possess the right attitude and are ready to provide a long lasting positive hospitality experience to the guests.

Chef Manoj Patkar Deputy Director SSCA