Aug. 10, 2021

Helping Food Businesses Navigate the Evolving Kitchen Environment with Chef & Attorney Chris Yates

Helping Food Businesses Navigate the Evolving Kitchen Environment with Chef & Attorney Chris Yates

This week I have chef and attorney Chris Yates. Chris occupies a unique space in the legal and hospitality industry. As a DC-based chef, Chris has worked for multiple Michelin-starred and James Beard Foundation recognized chefs and operators. Chris was on the opening management team for the critically and popularly acclaimed restaurant and bakery, Elle, earning a James Beard Semi-Finalist nomination for Best New Restaurant. His work as a chef has appeared in the Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, Washington City Paper, and Eater. Prior to becoming a chef Chris had years of trial experience as a public defender and criminal defense attorney, developing a reputation as an expert in the investigation and litigation of child welfare cases. Combining his knowledge of restaurant operations and management systems with impeccable legal skills Chris represents successful as well as new restaurants in business law matters such as real estate leasing, liquor licensing, contracts, branding and trademark, employment matters, and litigation.

On the show, we talk about how and why he's made these career transitions. We discuss some of his favorite foods, and his love of soy sauce.  We also talk about many of the current issues in professional kitchens today such as employee wages, staffing shortages, toxic environments, and burnout.

Looking to hire employees for your restaurant? This week's sponsor is Savory Jobs, a job site only for restaurants. For just $50, get unlimited job postings for an entire year. Use discount code SAVORY10 to save 10%.


Chris Yates

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Welcome to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. I'm your host Chris Spear. On the show. I have conversations with culinary entrepreneurs and people in the food and beverage industry who took a different route. There caterers research chefs, personal chefs, cookbook authors, food truckers, farmers, cottage bakers, and all sorts of culinary renegades. I myself fall into the personal chef category as I started my own personal chef business perfect little bites 11 years ago. And while I started working in kitchens in the early 90s, I've literally never worked in a restaurant. This week. My guest is Chris Yates. If you follow the Washington dc food scene, you might know him from his time at the Dabney,Elle or ABC Pony. What you might not know was that he was an attorney before he was a chef, you get to hear that story and find out what he's doing next. combining both backgrounds, Chris wants to provide operational expertise and business and legal strategy to both new and old business operators in an affordable and streamlined manner. With Yates Law, Chris will be providing operational expertise and business and legal strategy to both new and old business operators in an affordable and streamlined manner. And this isn't just limited to restaurants. If you're a personal chef, caterer, food truck operator, etc. you still might have some legal or consulting needs. Chris is looking at different fee structures, and it might be more affordable than you think. And because this is a food show, we also talk about some of his favorite things to cook as well as his love for soy sauce. We also talk about the issues going on in food service today. You know, we kind of dive into anxiety and stress, work life balance, labor shortages, pay issues, and just general working environments and kitchens. So I think this is something that everyone can relate to. And you know, myself, even as a personal chef, I've had to hire a lawyer to work out my trademark. I know some of you might need help with contracts. So I think this episode's gonna be very beneficial to a lot of people. And I think Chris is a great guy, and I just really enjoyed talking to him. So I hope you enjoyed this episode. And now a word from our sponsor savory jobs. Are you shocked at what it costs to post a job ad instead, imagine a job site for restaurants only where you could post as many jobs as you wanted. And it only costs 50 bucks. Not for each job you post but for all the jobs you post for an entire year. Well, my sponsor savory jobs has made that a reality. They've launched a revolutionary easy to use job site just for restaurants. And it only costs $50 for unlimited job posts for an entire year. Plus, for our loyal listeners, use the code savory 10 and get 10% off. That's s a VORY. One zero. So you go to savory jobs, calm and discover the job site that's shaking up the restaurant industry. Forget the big corporate sites like indeed and monster during the revolution at savory jobs calm and remember to use code savory, 10 for 10% off. And now on with the show. Thanks so much and have a great week. Hey, Chris, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for coming on. Hey, Chris. Happy to be here. Glad we could catch up. I haven't seen you in a while.

Chris Yates:

Yeah, I think it's been a couple years. I remember chatting with you at Ellie over lunch. Back in 2018 or 2019.

Chris Spear:

Yeah, you have that weird COVID here.where it's like, Huh, like I really haven't seen anyone in a year. Well, so briefly, I guess I'd say you're a lawyer turned chef turned lawyer helping chefs. Is that about right?

Chris Yates:

Yes. Sure. So I got the cooking bug, I guess back when I

Chris Spear:

That's interesting You know, I didn't even kno that you were a lawyer before. just knew you as a chef kind o was in college. I remember reading.I think it was Ming size out and about in the DC area. S kind of walk us through that cookbook. And I was like, Oh my god, this is like, the coolest I'd love to hear like a bit o backstory. You went to schoo for law and then got int cooking. How did that end u thing I've ever seen. Like, this is nothing like the food that I happening? eat in restaurants when I go out. And that's one just kind of memory that pops out. But I remember like, cooking dinner for my college roommates pretty frequently. And I went to school on its college for political science. And I remember meeting with my guidance advisor. And we were talking about, you know, future careers for people in physical science degrees. And he's basically like, well, he's become a lawyer, or you can spend another eight years and get a PhD and basically become a political scientist than a statistician. And I knew right then that there was no way I was going to, you know, do eight years of graduate level math. So I've sent the law school. I wasn't the greatest when I'm more currently, but I'm hired applying for putting an application for college deadlines, or graduate school deadlines. Never my I've never personally strong on it. So anyway, I basically did what I had always done at that point, and decided to apply to law school, basically, at the last minute, and I didn't get in anywhere. And I was waitlisted at one school, and I decided that law school probably wasn't in the cards anyway. So I was going to pursue this thing about cooking professionally and get a long term job and try. So my first garden ma j position at this country club down in South Jersey, I went to a New Jersey State School down in glassboro, New Jersey. And I was there for a month, I think when I got the letter from Northeastern law that I had been accepted off the waitlist. And I was like, Alright, I'm putting my three days notice is they say, I have to be there by Monday if I want this position in school. And so I moved up to Boston, and went to Northeastern, I graduated in 2009. I pretty much knew right away upon, you know, entering law school that my interest was being in a courtroom, you know, the thought of like, representing banks and big companies that really appeal to me. I just wanted to do something exciting, because I was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, although I didn't realize it at the time. So I graduated from law school, and I moved back to New Jersey and I started practicing in New Jersey, primarily as a criminal defense attorney. I mean, I'm handling criminal offenses, everything from traffic offenses, to detail DUIs, to, you know, serious felony cases, not quite murder cases, because you don't usually get those till you're like 10 to 20 years into your career. But, you know, pretty serious felony cases where clients were looking at 1020 years in prison.


Yeah, so I did that for five years, was fairly successful. I mean, it was fulfilling, but I was also burning out as it happened. And I didn't really know at the time, that was what was happening. But I mean, looking back now definitely happens. And so you know, that kind of like, gradually got to a point where I just didn't want to be work. Didn't want to do much other than, like, watch television or get off my couch. So I at the time I was practicing with a I have like kind of a dual situation going on. I have my own small, firm solo practice. And I was also working for another attorney doing some work. So I wound down my practice, I basically, you know, finished out my cases. And I had a old college roommate that lived down in Greenville, South Carolina. And him and I talked at that point for a number of years about opening a bar and restaurant or a bar or food truck or something in the hospitality industry. You know, I was very interested in food, he's very interested in beverage. And he had kind of had this thankless nine to five corporate job that he was looking to get out of. I was looking to start practicing law. So it seems like a natural fit. So I moved down there and got my first serious line cooking job. And you know, did that for basically like a year before I found a nicer restaurant in town. That was like making their own bread and making their own pasta and their own charcuterie. And that's when I really started to think seriously about it as a career. I mean, I knew I wanted to pursue it as a career, but I was getting like a sense of satisfaction and advancement that I felt like I hadn't gotten when I was practicing law. So I stayed at that place for another year and a half. And at some point, I reconnected with a friend of mine, a female friend of mine from law school. And we started kind of dating long distance between choose living here in Washington, DC, and I was living in Greenville, South Carolina, and we started dating kind of going back and forth to see one another. And at some point, we started talking about me moving in with her. And for me, it was like a natural personal and career progression, I kind of wanted to get back to the Mid Atlantic area, I'm from New Jersey, like I said, and new I kind of wanted to live in like a larger city. And I have basically been working at the best restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, and there wasn't a whole lot of upward mobility, like a more complicated restaurant or like a tasting menu only restaurant for me to go work, I basically would have had to stay to the place that I was at and wait for a sous chef or Chef de Cuisine to move along, and then potentially take their position. I was also earning like, $11 an hour in South Carolina. And it's a lot of jobs. So there was a financial motivation as well. It's like move to a bigger city with more plentiful job options. So that's what I did. And that was back in 2016. And my first job, I was at the Dabney after that, I started running the charcuterie program at Pluto tavern. And shortly after that opened le, and, you know, my job after le started working through the pandemic. And you know, basically, in a nutshell, the same thing that happened to me while I was practicing law started to happen to me while I was cooking was that, basically just again, burning out, and that was when I really started to realize like, hey, when I taught practicing law, I sort of told myself this story about how, you know, wiring is in for me, I'm just like, in the wrong profession. And like, this is a bad map for my personality. And when I realized that the same thing was happening to me while I was cooking, I realized maybe this problem is internal and not external. Do you think you got burned out? Because of the pandemic? Like if things if that didn't happen? Do you think you'd still be cooking? Or? Because I mean, that's been a really hard year plus for a lot of people. Yeah, I mean, I was starting to burn out before the pandemic, the pandemic just got stepped on the gas for me. I think for a lot of the reasons that, you know, before, before today, I listen to like a couple episodes of your show. And like, for example, Matt Jennings, a couple other people, I've been on your show, like, I'm having very similar experiences to what they're talking about, you know, working in high end, independent restaurants, and sort of this all consuming, you know, lifestyle and the career and, you know, chasing accolades and Michelin stars, and James Beard awards, you know, that was sort of the place I put myself in. And it just, it was, it was destroying me from the inside out slowly. And then when COVID happened, I mean, it all just kind of got ratcheted up, right, I mean, I was working 70 and 80 hour weeks, instead of 60 hour weeks, I was working six and seven days instead of five to six days. And seeing my family even less than last, except, you know, my parents are in their 70s. So it came with like the added weight of knowing that there's this deadly pandemic and my parents were in this high risk category. And I can't necessarily see them, you know, in person. So, yeah, I think it was it was gonna happen one way or the other. So, now you want to work with helping restaurants and people in the food industry on the legal side. So when did you kind of put those two together, I was celebrating a birthday party at some cinema in Mount Pleasant, celebrating a birthday for a friend. And while I'm talking to another attorney, who had spent a pretty good amount of time and in the front of the house, and she was the one that kind of planted a little seed in my head that slowly started to grow and grow over the next like two years. And, you know, I had been at work I, when I started to take on these like upper level management roles. I was increasingly applying skills that work Coming from like the lawyers part of my brain, like analyzing p&l information, thinking strategically about the menu, and you know how we could use that to boost profits and reduce costs and labor, you know, how we could strategically market, you know, a new offering things like that. And I was getting more fulfillment out of that, basically, that I was with my day to day cooking tasks. So, all those things kind of were happening at once. And it was just this, I wanted some free time from work, to do things other than cook and think about cooking, as exciting. And as much as I love them, I realized, you know, there's more to it than this. And, you know, I slowly started to realize that I was so woefully unequipped to deal with the everyday stresses of being a chef. And being a lawyer, and perhaps it could have been any career at that point. But it's not something that's taught in colleges, it's not something that's taught in law school. And I think I seen personally, you know, very susceptible to stress, and I'm 37, I had never developed solid stress coping skills. And, you know, I realized that there was a need for that, in Restaurant Management, basically. And so I, my thinking was, I could provide this very concrete legal products or legal service, but also, you know, kind of like a hybridized service where you know, that those legal recommendation or are essentially informed by operational expertise, and like, you know, an understanding of the business, and also understanding how my own experiences burning out, I mean, there's just, there's a better way to run your business, it was, you know, that's a simple way of saying it, it was anxiety driven in the kitchen, but it didn't have to be that way. And, you know, you can be intense and you can cook at an extremely high level. And you can execute, you know, Michelin level and James Beard, you know, level food, whatever that means. That's probably a conversation for another podcast. But, you know, without making yourself so stressed out that you don't want to go to work anymore. Well, there's been a lot of talk recently about problematic kitchen culture, poor benefits, now, a staffing shortage, but change needs to start from the top. Are operators open to changing this? Or is it a little too little too late? I mean, I think the operators, the ones out there that are screaming about how $300 you know, unemployment supplements are going to be the things that put them out of business, you know, I think those are going to be the ones that die. I think that's more indicative of an attitude of the top of their organization and of their management skills than it is like, you know, an actual analysis of what's happening, and are a reflection of their anxiety, essentially, I think I'm seeing a lot of reason for hope. And a lot of that is like sort of the old guard that don't get it seems to be dying out. And then you see chefs from younger generations that just embrace these things as normal, everyday elements of life. And, you know, having a job and a career and they're implementing them in in business strategies, and employment compensation systems that actually value their staff and the restaurant, those restaurants seem to be staffed and, you know, poised to flourish over the next six months to a year. So do you have a target customer, you know, I'm looking to work with people, perhaps chefs and restaurant tours, that old guard that maybe don't have the skills and the toolbox to perhaps confront the problems that are now becoming, you know, impossible to not confront. And basically just giving them some operational expertise and knowledge to navigate those situations. I'm looking to help restaurant tours, and chefs of a younger generation who perhaps are doing their own solo project for the first time and want to use strategic thinking and tack to kind of deliver their legal solutions and some consulting and management solutions, you know, in as affordable and streamlined and efficient way as possible. Yeah, you said affordable. I mean, when I hear lawyer, I think it's something that's crazy, expensive. And foodservice operators are notoriously frugal, you know, so I'm sure that's maybe a barrier. Is that something you've thought about? I'm sorry, I'm experimenting with different fee models. You know, I think flat transparencies for a lot of these things is, is a solution for a lot of people. I think everyone's terrified that like the retainer model in, you know, in the hospitality and restaurant setting, I don't think works unless it's a, you know, a multi unit operation that has recurring legal needs like on a weekly if not monthly basis. And by life, what I mean by retainer model is like, Here's $10,000, I don't know what I'm what legal needs I'm going to need, but I know I'm going to need them, you know, small restaurants, independent restaurants are not going to that $10,000 can be payroll for a week, you know, it could be a sizable amount of inventory, depending on the size of your restaurant. So I think, you know, using a retainer model is, it's all around that. And an arrangement that I'm exploring is, I'm calling outside General Counsel for small restaurants. Traditionally, that hasn't been something that restaurants I think, could afford, but it's like kind of a hybrid subscription model where basically they'll pay a monthly fee, say, 1000 $2,000. And we'll essentially develop an ongoing strategy, business and legal strategy for the next six months to a year for you to tackle various things like, you need an HR system, but perhaps it doesn't need to be implemented for a few more months until you actually have staff. So while we're waiting for you to step up, we can address you know, licensing issues and things that are more pressing. But one thing I've been kind of knocking around and experimenting with, with some clients, well, what about all the changes that came about during the pandemic? You know, you have all these things like, whether it be the to go cocktails, or having, you know, kind of taking over the sidewalk with a parklet for dining, I'm sure some of that's gonna stay some of it's gonna go away. And obviously, it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So are you staying on top of those kinds of things? And what are you seeing there? Yeah, I am. I mean, I saw yesterday Uber's announcing this to go liquor program. They're rolling out in Canada. The week before that Andrew Cuomo decided overnight that they were going to rescind the to go liquor program in New York City. Honestly, those are like kind of my, the things I think our bread and butter, they they're not labor intensive for me to, you know, give business strategy advice to clients on, it just requires me to basically, you know, read the news and stay up on current trends, which isn't all that difficult for me. And, you know, it's there are things that can really set a client's mind at ease, like, you know, I think just for a restaurant tour to hear that, sure, you can rely on this alcohol to go program being around for at least six months. You know, I think that's the kind of clarity the restaurants are looking for right now. Because they don't have any clarity. I feel like beyond like, the next week on a lot of these things. So yeah, absolutely being informed on those topics and like, having stress free conversations with clients about them and thinking about how they can maneuver around them. And do foresee maybe even working with, you know, like, I'm a personal chef. There's a lot of caterers, their food trucks, are you targeting only restaurants for work? Or do you think you could also kind of work with people who are outside of traditional restaurants? Yes, I can help people out, you know, Chefs Without Restaurants are definitely a model client. You're gonna have issues with trademarking, you're gonna have issues with licensing. You may have issues with, you know, contract issues, you know, might not be as involved as a small unit restaurant, but there's still absolutely like, legal needs. There. For example, I did a it's like a flat fee of under $1,000, basically, for a form contract. But I don't just like send you a Word document and send you on your way. There's some attorney consultation time that basically explains to you how it works so that you're not just getting a one shot contract, but you're getting something that's easily modifiable, you know, across multiple engagements. So you know, you as a personal chef, you have a contract for I assume, like you know, doing a private dinner outside but let's say a client wants to hire you for menu or recipe development or something like that, you know, providing a legal product that can be covered both of those and giving you some enough education to modify for your own reasons. Well, I think a lot of us now we're getting into much more bigger things. You know, as my brand continues to grow, I have companies reaching out to me to do brand deals and endorsements and partnerships, and, you know, I'm getting contacted all the time and they want to know My terms, it's like I don't know any of that stuff. And as I look to grow and take on sponsors for the podcast and things of that nature, it's like, well, I don't really have like a lawyer, so someone's got to look over that stuff. For me. Precisely. One thing that's coming out of the pandemic's is that, you know, you kind of mentioned that you came at it from a different angle, but chefs, you know, it's more than more than ever, I feel like it's capable of chefs are capable of having a culinary career that is not tied to a fixed physical location, like a independent restaurant. And they're still, you know, their services are in demand for, you know, various things, whether it's cooking a dinner, or a partnership, or something of that nature. And those are all legal transactions, that, you know, have terms that need to be evaluated and negotiated over. And I mean, chefs just don't have the knowledge to do that. What are your thoughts on trademarks? So I hired a lawyer a couple years ago, and got Chefs Without Restaurants trademarked now, you know, especially my audience, how many of them are in food media, and doing that, how important is trademarking your brand, if you want to do media projects, and things of that nature? I think if you're getting into media projects, it's more important, you know, you know, as a standalone restaurant, unless you have a franchise, or, you know, an extremely powerful brand to protect. Not that I'm not all that important. But you know, if you're, you're getting advertising revenue, and you're out there in the digital media space, much more important. Yeah, I mean, that seems to be a really viable income stream for so many people these days, and it continues to grow. I mean, there's a lot of people who've actually just left restaurant cooking, and are exclusively doing internet content and making a pretty good living from what I understand on it. I mean, you have to get, you know, you have to get a pretty decent following to make it a full time career, but it's at least some good side money, you know, depending on how much of it you're you're doing. Yeah, I mean, if you can monetize a large YouTube or Instagram following, you could easily, you know, match or surpass the amount of money you can earn as a restaurant chef, I would imagine. So when are you looking to roll all this out? Or have you started already? Yeah, it's sort of a slow, evolving process. My firm is open for business, my social media is just starting to roll out some of the announcements. And this week, I have like, some content planned. And from, you know, here, going forward, you're going to see a lot more content on my Instagram, if you happen to follow and want to be one of the 900 people that already follow me. And so I'm, yeah, I'm going to be jacking up my visibility over the next month to a point where people hopefully will be annoyed by my presence. Well, I don't know that anyone be annoyed by your presence. But yeah, yeah, it'll be good to see that out there. So, you know, never say never. But are you done with restaurant cooking? No, a part of the reason why I, as I said, earlier, I went, I went from college, high school to college to law school, I was extremely immature when I started practicing law. And it wasn't until I started cooking on the line. and managing that I felt like I really had developed a series of ways that I conducted myself in a quote unquote, professional manner. And hospitality just kind of raised me. And I still look in the kitchen, I still, like look on Instagram, I see all my colleagues in the restaurant world, or that's all restaurant jobs, cooking and posting beautiful things and talking about it. And I want to be out there doing those things, too. This is a really long winded way of saying that. I felt like I was never going to become financially independent working as a as a chef. And I became a chef because I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted my own restaurant or my own business or some time, whatever it looked like, I realized that, you know, I was basically going to need to put another five years in on the line or you know, as a rest in a restaurant, while I basically beg, borrow and steal the stolen money to start a restaurant, or I could start practicing the law, again, become financially independent, in a much shorter amount of time. And then start to think about a business for myself. Back in the restaurant and food worlds. That's a tough life for sure. Both working in it, and having your own business and you know, they say don't turn your passion into your job. I mean, I think if you start a career, it should be something you're passionate But you know, it's like, I moved up in the food world, and I was cooking less than less. And it's like, I got into the food world because I wanted to cook. And then it's like, well, how do I cook more and I was like, oh, start my own business. But then that's a different hamster wheel. Like, now I've left a job to start my own business, so I can cook what I want. But the reality is having your own business, I also had to do all the admin tasks and stuff that I didn't really like doing when I worked in someone else's place. So I don't know. It's kind of like a never ending cycle. Yeah, it's definitely a catch 22. Yeah. Which is why, you know, I don't know, I don't know where I was going with this, what the advice is, like, don't get in the restaurant business. I don't know. Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, I just I, I realized about myself that I was never going to be happy, I didn't necessarily know it was gonna make me happy. But I knew I was never going to be happy, taking orders from someone else on a daily basis. And I knew I wanted my own restaurant or my own spot of some sort. And that's very difficult to have to make happen as an independent restaurant or with, you know, unless you're independently wealthy. And so, there are plenty of people that are not like that, that are happy to be worker bees, in both in the legal world. In the food world, I think across any industry, I just realized about myself, I'm not one of them. And if you try to make me do it, I will become very unhappy very quickly and make the people around me, I'm happy as well. So from a cooking perspective, what's your style? And where do you find inspiration. I kind of came up from this, like, American South inspired cuisine, lots of pork, lots of like, like fish, and lots of farm grown vegetables. And, like a lot of pork fat. And when I got here, that was, you know, down Greenville. When I got here, you know, working for Jeremy Langhorne at the Dabney. It was more of that. And that's why I got why I took the job in the first place. It was familiar to me. And the food was excellent. And he was clicking extremely high level. From there, I kind of developed more of this, you know, I was working for Brad the boy at Blue duck tavern, and he has this fermentation foward kind of wacky style. And so I picked up a good amount of that. And as a proud fourth generation Italian American gentleman from New Jersey, you know, my love of bagels, pizzas, meatballs, pasta, anything with tomatoes in it, I hate to be to, like live up to a stereotype. But, you know, that's the food that makes me very comforted. And I also love to cook that food for the same reason. So I guess you could say I have this good mix of American, Southern French and Italian American. And what gets me excited. I mean, I love to travel is probably the thing, you know, if I do have like a core passion that so far has never, like, suck my energy away. And it's always, you know, made me feel vibrant and full of life that's traveling. And it's cool, because I get to see, I mean, like, I feel like you go on Instagram for inspiration. You're being inspired by the same thing that's inspiring every single chef. That's why everyone cooks rap pasta in the spring. It's why, you know, everyone's gonna have some kind of lamb dish on the menu right now. We're going to see a bunch of dishes with peaches in it, like next week or something like that. And that's exciting and fun. But when you're traveling, there's no one, you know, looking over your shoulder working from the same source material. And that is, to me is like exhausting. Yeah, there's no hidden treasures in the food world anymore. I mean, maybe there are, but it seems like once that one thing is out there and someone snaps a photo and puts it on the internet, then everyone's going to be copying it. Yes, I'm certainly guilty of it. I mean, you know, I see chefs putting burgers on Instagram. I'm like, I want to make the best burger ever now. Oh, yeah, like kimchi. labneh. Toast is amazing. Right. But I think there's a place in DC that makes it and I've had it a couple times. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah, you know, it's before the internet. It used to be so hard. And now it's so easy. And it's, again, another one of those things that there's benefits and negatives from but it's like now the whole world. things you've never seen before. You know, just take places like Copenhagen like nobody knew what people were eating in Copenhagen, and now it's a hotspot like who ever would have thought that Copenhagen would be one of the hot culinary spots in the world, a place that most people have never even been to? Yeah, I mean, and I don't mean to be insulting when I say this, but like, you know, they I'm famous for it seems to me, like, you know, putting moss on a plate or something like that. It's like, not only his, as you said, has anyone ever been to Copenhagen but it's not like, you know, everyone here in the states is like, oh, that Danish beef is like the best in the world. I got to get my hands on it. You know, like Italian sell parmesan round the world. You know, the entire world knows what sushi is. Copenhagen? Not so sure. Yeah. Do you have any go to pantry staples, like what do you always have on hand that you like cooking with, you know, just around the house. Um, several different kinds of soy sauce. I tried to keep like three or four different kinds at a time for I worked with a Filipino guy followed dunka my last cooking job, but I was working for Taiwanese Belgian American chef Eric Garner, Yang. And, you know, as as a white dude, I you know, I thought so I saw society's eyes, and seeing how it's cooked with our clothes and recognizing the nuance and that there are so many sauces of varying, you know, salinity, texture, and each of them has a different use, and, you know, using them together can produce results and using one of them by itself. I am by nature, I think most chefs are an extremely lazy home cook. So being able to really get a ton of flavor out of a shelf stable product, like soy sauce, and, you know, being able to do it very quickly. It just, it's like the foundation of a lot of meals that me and my partner eat our home just because it's quick. It's inexpensive, and the results are fantastic. And I felt like when you know, I been taught the nuance of how to deploy it and use it. I'm not saying by any means I'm good at it, but better than I was. I feel like the results I get are that much better. Well, that's intriguing to me because I don't know enough about soy sauce either. And I find it intimidating. Like you go to a regular grocery store like Wegmans, they have like Kiko Mon and Wegmans brand soy sauce, right. But then I go to h Mart, and they have hundreds of types, and many of them are not even in English. That's like, I don't even know where to start, like, just pluck a bottle off the shelf, I guess and try it. I don't know. I mean, serious eats is like has some good resources on the different ones. There's, I'm thinking of an article they have that like, kind of breaks down some of the regional variations. But DC has a extremely talented community of Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian chefs. And I learned a lot from them. And so, I mean, I was gonna say find yourself a chef to take you to the grocery store if you have one in your orbit. Yeah, I mean, Paulo, really, I had no knowledge of Filipino cooking whatsoever. I have very little knowledge of Asian cooking period, the coconut banger vinegar, he introduced me to I think it's a cane vinegar or sweet potato vinegar. I think it's cane vinegar. And Filipino jellies. I think we have to go to h Mart today after this conversation. Yes. So what Haven't we gotten into that you want to share with our listeners, before we get out of here today? I think what we all see on Instagram and in the restaurants in the cities that we're working in is that restaurants are figuring out that their staff are not coming back and new staff aren't going to be coming. And I think they're figuring out why. And I'm hopeful that they're actually responding by increasing hourly wages, and you know, they're offering benefits. And, you know, there's some expanding recognition that this isn't necessarily just an issue of hourly pay. But in like, overall sustainability, as a career, you know, can you have a job in the hospitality industry? And can you raise children? Your I think a lot of people are asking that question and figuring out the answer, or at least, finally accepting the answer. I mean, these problems existed long before the pandemic, but the pandemic certainly exaggerated them. That's why I think the whole $300 a week extra is bullshit, because you can find good cuts before the pandemic even started. So I'm hopeful that, you know, restaurants, the culture may actually be starting to change. I had some, you know, glimmer of hope for the first 16 months of the pandemic where you saw lots of clients coming out that seemed extremely supportive, that we're, you know, over tipping, that we're verbally very appreciative that, you know, went onto social media and kind of amplified a lot of restaurants messages. And their, their media, their marketing. Unfortunately, I felt like it was short lived the other side of the coin we've seen for the last 16 months, and I can't help but wonder how much of that was virtue signaling, you know, now that we're back to in person, it just seems terrifying for, you know, on the on the guest, and essentially, that the goodwill doesn't seem to be there. I imagine it's still, you know, a poignant reminder to many hourly workers as to why they were struggling, or, you know, they had these concerns in the first place. So yeah, I mean, dark times ahead. But, you know, I think the destructive forces that were unleashed by the pandemic are going to force a lot of places out of business that probably shouldn't have been in business. And that's really cold, hard to say. But I think it's going to open up some room for some serious cultural changes. And as you said, they do have to start at the top. I mean, every restaurant I've ever worked in, has had some of the elements of toxicity that you see, you know, publicized every day, I'm guilty of doing it, like, I was a terrible manager for, you know, I think that now, I was trying my hardest, I certainly wasn't attempting to go out and be a terrible manager, and I wasn't trying to, you know, become complacent, and stay that way and not grow. But when you're cooking, and you're managing, you know, direct reports, and maybe because the front of the house manager isn't there for the day, you're managing the front of the house as well. And then you have to do inventory, and you have to maintain vendor relations and make sure they get paid that day, because maybe you're counting on the check. I mean, when you're getting pulled in 1000 different directions like that, it's extremely difficult for, for anyone to manage properly under those circumstances. Yeah, I've been there as well. I, I actually said like, I could not continue working where I was, and be happy with the person that I was. And that's when I knew it was time to leave. Like when you're made to make decisions that you morally don't agree with. It's like, this is what I need to move on. Yes, absolutely. Well, thanks so much for coming on the show. I really enjoyed having you, Chris. Thank you so much for letting me ramble. I really appreciate it. Yeah. Well, I think this is gonna be great. And I can't wait to share all this information with everyone. So I'll link up all your links in the show notes, and people will be able to find you and hopefully take advantage of the services you're offering. Thank you, Chris. That would be great. And to all our listeners. This has been Chris with the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. As always, you can find us at Chefs Without and on all social media platforms. Thanks so much, and have a great day. Thanks for listening to the Chefs Without Restaurants podcast. And if you're interested in being a guest on the show, or sponsoring the show, please let us know. We can be reached at Chefs Without Thanks so much.