The attraction to things well done: Grandma's recipe
It was the year 2008. I took care of booking at a restaurant in The Garrotxa, a Catalan region of volcanic soil where cooking is delicious. We got to the right place, not before strolling through The Fageda d'en Jordà, a bee in the middle of a nature reserve of great beauty, especially in autumn. The surprise: no one opened the door of the restaurant. After pounding on the door, a man told us that the place had been closed for years. But if I had booked by phone and was told there was no problem!.
We were made the 3 of the afternoon and hunger lurked. moreover, it started to snow unexpectedly. My minivan, in which we traveled 6 People, he wasn't prepared for that and gave some skating. We were doing kilometers without seeing anything until we met a detour with a sign at the height of Hostalnou de Bianya: “Restaurant La Peça, 1 km”. Tired and hungry, we were fed one of the best dishes of fesols that I had never tried. Simple kitchen, soups, salads, grilled meats. But at the exact point, that of grandma's recipe. Few tables and few people at the tables, just a couple. Afterwards, very comfortable armchairs around a fireplace invited us to a wonderful nap.
Less is more. Sometimes you have to go back to the origin, simple
A few days ago, my friend and colleague Andrés Pérez Ortega treated exquisitely in his post “What less can I do” the issue of simplicity. My friends and I came back every year to La Peça because we were seduced by simplicity, quality without unnecessary dressings, the parking of a plate of duralex white with a single costella amb seques (lamb rib with beans). And so we did until 2013, year after year. Always few people, always a lit fireplace, a good nap without haste (the family lived in the same farmhouse, did not close).
In 2014, Unfortunately a great friend died of the group. She was the cohesion maker, the organizer. We didn't just lose a great woman, we lost the link. That kept us away from the annual visit to La Peça. Until this year 2018.
The contradiction: lower quality, but the full place
Returning five years later, we were surprised to see the outside parking lot of the farmhouse full of cars. Luckily, had booked a table the day before. The full room. We've never seen it the same.. The fireplace, Off.
We were greeted by the granddaughter, excellent public relations. He asked if we wanted the letter in Spanish. The fesols were not in the letter: bad omen. Asked. Yes, they had and could prepare us without problem. The letter was still very simple, prices, very reasonable. But the fesols they weren't the ones we remembered; were cold, little matequillosos, more like the standard. The more than two hours we invested to get there were long watching the result. It was clear. Grandma would be sick or would have passed. That's how it went. The granddaughter confirmed it to us.
The granddaughter asked us how we had eaten. And we confess that we were disappointed with the quality of the fesols that we remembered so fondly. She, talking to his mother, said he would dare to reproduce exactly grandma's recipe, because when she was a child she spent hours watching her in the kitchen. “I remember waiting to have the oil very hot so that the beans would be toasted and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside”.
Upon leaving, after a nap attempt (there were too many people and too much noise), we could see behind a window that whoever cooked was not from the family. The funny thing is that despite the qualitative change, now the restaurant was full to overflowing. It's hard to conclude that quality doesn't matter, and what matters is the deal, the place… I think grandma's recipe is more than just a personal brand, was the brand of the restaurant, and it seems that that brand is maintained by a thread.
The hope is that the granddaughter wants to improve. Ask customers. Asks Feedback. Will you be able to recover those fesols from grandma's recipe? I have seen that there is a will to recover that personal brand of a woman we didn't see but who delighted us with her way of cooking.
I give you my vote of confidence. Next year I'll be back.
Food photo by Nito on Shutterstock.com
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