Chain restaurants rarely use fresh herbs. They’re uneven, unreliable and expensive, and most diners have been conditioned to want food that’s more processed and bland.
The same is true for most of what we buy and sell. It’s becoming ever more predictable, pre-processed and cost-reduced.
The pressure tends to go in one direction–turn your work into a commodity, smooth over the edges and fit in all the way. That seems hard to argue with, particularly if you want to be popular and profitable.
But the restaurant that makes the best sabich in all of New York City takes a different approach. At Nana, in an obscure shopping mall on the outskirts of an outer borough, they’re serving memorable food that doesn’t match the prevailing industrial model. You can’t get something similar from your grocer’s freezer. It’s distinctive and probably a lot more difficult to produce on a regular basis.
The same could be true for what you choose to do. It might not get you a Fortune 500 company as a client, and probably won’t make you #1 on whatever bestseller list tracks the one that’s for everyone, but it might be exactly the work that you’re proud to do.
Thanks, Gina, for caring. And for anyone who goes out of their way to add fresh herbs when they don’t have to.