One thing, though, that I've noticed is that a lot of writers like to emphasize the point that I "used to be a chef". The implication being, I guess, that since we're a quick-serve burger place with low prices, that my designation has somehow changed.
Even though I'm still running a kitchen, wrote the menu, plan to write specials, manage the cooks, and do all the stuff that makes up the typical chef's job description. I find it a bit strange.
Don't get me wrong--it's not a big deal. Media folks can hang any title they want on me as long as they get the restaurant's name and address correct. But I think it's indicative of how society thinks about restaurants and chefs. In my experience, there's a bit of a disconnect between how people think of chefs and how chefs think of themselves.
People have always been a bit confused about who gets called a "chef". When I graduated from culinary school, my parents were quick to introduce me as "my son, the chef" and their friends acted suitably impressed. But I was quick to point out that I wasn't a chef. I was working at the time as a cook, and so that's how I identified myself. I worked with too many puffed-up line cooks who thought they were chefs but couldn't properly truss a chicken or butcher fish, and I tended to err on the side of modesty, for fear of lumping myself in with them.
Graduating from culinary school isn't the same as graduating from medical school. You're not "a chef" the day you graduate. You're a culinary school graduate. In my book, you're not "a chef" unless someone is paying you to run a kitchen, write menus, order food, etc, etc.
There are notable exceptions, of course. Some chefs reach a status that entitles them to be called chefs regardless of what they're doing at the present moment. But these are few and far between and I'm not in that realm.
It's strange, though, because when I've been unemployed, I haven't followed this rule. If I met someone at a party or something and they asked me what I do for a living, I'd say "I'm a chef". It's just easier than getting into the whole thing.
Anyway, the important thing is that I know I can cook. I've always thought of my vocation--the one that's not tied to any individual position--as cook. I was a cook when I was cleaning out the deep fryers at Spruce in the mid-90's, when I was cleaning cuttlefish in Barcelona in '98, and I was a cook when was expediting at Carlucci and writing menus at Solara in the mid '00's. It's just easier to think of it in those terms, and also, when things blow up and I'm unemployed cooking dinner at home for my family, I'm still just a cook.
I suppose now that I'm running my own place, I'm wearing multiple hats. Bookkeeper, accounts payable/receivable, HR, interior decorator, cashier, kitchen manager....call me whatever, I guess.
At root, though, Edzo's is what it is because I'm a cook at heart, and I kind of like the fact that the restaurant that I chose to open is so low-brow and accessible that people are reluctant to bestow the title of "chef" on the guy running the show.
Joints don't have chefs, I guess. That's probably a good thing.