As my memoir writing takes me deep into my past, I see from my current prospective of 2012, that had I run to the nearest patent office on a number of occasions to record my brilliance, I’d be a wealthy inventor extraordinaire right now. Talk about missed opportunities. But I was as clueless as Forrest Gump, without the luck of wiping my muddy face on a t-shirt thus inventing the blockbuster smiley face logo.
Here are my inventions, way ahead of their time:
1) 1988-returning to the US from Australia, I had in my possession my chef coat and wrap-around chef pants purchased in a clothing store on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Much to the dismay of my boss at World Expo ‘88, a mid-western traditionalist, I wore this chef’s outfit in lieu of the standard hounds tooth pants and man-sized bulky white coat uniform, happy to have a little style in my 12 hour workdays and to show off that I actually had a figure. I went to a seamstress in Florida to find out the cost to start sewing and marketing this new chef’s wear. My vision: to use different vibrant patterns for the pants, allowing chefs to show off their own style. I took it no further however, getting caught-up in working (and wearing those god-awful hounds tooth pants and bulky coats again) and motherhood.
2012: There are now several brands of cooking uniforms which utilize many different colors and styles, allowing male and female chefs and cooks to select their own style and comfort. Wow, what a great idea! Duh.
2) 1991: I was working as Executive Chef at a fine dining restaurant in Sarasota and the summer off-season was dead as usual. I decided to lure people into the restaurant with a Pre-Theater menu, featuring smaller plates of some of the main menu items. The small, less expensive menu items would get patrons into the restaurant and they would buy booze, which is where the profits are in restaurants anyway. My main intent here was a personal one: I love to dine out but I’m a grazer and, after several years out of the country, I returned to find American portions gross in their heft. Why not have the opportunity to dine out and experience some fine food without gorging on calories and dollars?
2012: Small plates, tapas, happy hour half-price appetizers, are de rigueur at all types of restaurants, even chains, like Bonefish Grill . (Took them a while to catch on to this one.)
3) 1997: On a business trip sitting in Holiday Inn dining room in New Jersey, with a clearly over-extended and frazzled waitress ignoring me, I thought, Gee, if only there was a computer at my table, I could type in my own order and it would go directly to the kitchen. Then I wouldn’t be subjected to the shortcomings of management to schedule enough staff. And gee, again, wouldn’t that reduce labor cost and make the owner tons of money? Gee, I should get rich off this idea! (I didn’t even own a home computer yet.)
2012: A new restaurant tin Sarasota is boasting their new “innovative customization of the guest experience” utilizing their new Menu Pad app. to view and select menu items. See, I thought of this before iPads!
Gosh, if only a movie camera had been following me around as I bumbled along in my life, I’d be legendary right now…