Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I'm not sure if this is the proper forum to vent my anger, but hey, it *is* food-related. And it's *my* blog, so I'll cry if I want to. :)

So I had this client, a chef, you remember...I blogged about him before. And I say "had" because now the Web site I designed for him has someone else's name on it. I wrote to this company to complain that they took my name off the site and now were taking credit for my hard work. I got a snippy response saying that they were not in the habit of advertising for others and so took my name off. Plus, the weren't saying they designed the site, but that the site was "Powered by" them. Ok, whatever you need to do to justify your actions, pal. You're still wrong, and visitors to the site are still going to think YOU designed it. Asshole.

Anyway, Chef Idiot owes me money. Not a lot, but still. He wanted me to design product labels for bottles of hot sauce and water, and to create a logo for a shopping bag. We agreed on the paltry sum of $400 for these items. And then he added that he wanted a logo for some revolutionary new culinary product that he was working on. I said I'd do that for an additional $100. So that made $500 total for four designs. And the labels and bag were a rush, because they would take 6-8 weeks to process and he wanted these for Christmas. Oookkk! I got inspired and cranked out three beauties, which he approved, and had the designs to the printer in 4 business days. So I invoiced him, since that part of the job was done, and I needed the money. I hadn't yet invoiced him for the cookbook cover I did earlier in the year, so added that to the bill.

I heard nothing from Chef Idiot for a month then invoiced him again with a note that the original invoice requested payment "on receipt" and there was no grace period, thus he was 30 days overdue. I got an apology from him with a promise that I'd get a check soon. The week after Thanksgiving, I received two checks from him, one for the amount of the book cover, and another for $250. A copy of my original invoice was included with a note that he still owed me $150. I immediately re-invoiced him for that amount.

In the meantime, while waiting for the checks, I had done two sample logos for his "innovative cooking style," something he was calling "P-Style." Now, ladies and gentlemen, when you see or hear "P-style" relating to cooking, what do you think? No, the cook claims not to urinate in the food. But that indeed is what it seemed like it meant to me, and to 9 of 10 other people I questioned about it. Now, me being basically a good person and not wanting Chef Idiot to look like an idiot to the rest of the world, my logos were red and black, with a tagline, "Cooking with Passion" (for that is what the "P" represents). Red is passion, right? So after a long time, I finally get an e-mail from Chef Idiot--who is pretty near functionally illiterate, from what I can tell--saying that he liked the logos, but could I do them in gold and black. :::facepalm::: Gold, as in a shade of yellow. The color of piss. An association I was trying to avoid. So I did the logos in gold, making the color as close to brown as possible (and inadvertantly creating a new, scatological, connection) and flat out told Chef Idiot why I chose red.

I have not heard back from him since, except for one e-mail, clearly not written by him as it was concise and used somewhat correct English (and was a forward from the original author to Idiot to me), requesting that I put all of the designs I created for him on a CD-ROM and then I'd get the rest of the money he owed me. He was holding my money hostage, despite the fact that I had delivered his product to the printer in record time. And the designs he asked for included the P-Style logos, which he did not approve nor had he paid for. So I added another $100 to the $150 he owed me, re-invoiced him yet again and attached a copy of the e-mail saying that the three product labels would cost him $400 and the P-Style label would be another $100, just in case he thought it was included in the $400.

Now, as I said, I am basically a good person, so I put all of the designs--except P-Style--on a CD-ROM and shipped it to him. And I put the correct, printable-size versions on the disc, despite his ghost writer requesting the designs using the names of the sample jpegs I had put on the Web, images that looked fine in a browser but could never be used for printing, especially not professionally. I included in the envelope yet another copy of my invoice, with a note saying if he paid the additional $100, I'd be happy to ship him another disc with the P-Style logo.

By New Year's, I still hadn't heard anything from him, so sent him an e-mail saying that it was ridiculous that I had to beg for my money, considering I did the job, and that he was currently 60 days overdue. And another copy of the invoice. I'll wallpaper his house with them if I have to. Then I thought to e-mail the printer, to see if they had gotten payment for the three products. Apparently, after discussing cost, the printers never heard from Idiot again. Of course it was too expensive - four-color labels? With bottles and product?? Idiot's not a man who looks at the big picture, and probably had no clue that he'd need to order 10,000 units or similar huge amount, and just wasted a lot of people's time and energy. And now he thinks he doesn't have to pay, and switched Web companies because he can't face the designer he's just screwed.


Have I complained how unchef-like a chef this dude is? Not recently? Ok, let me get into that now (this is a food blog, after all). I've only eaten one dish cooked by him, a tropical chicken dish with blobs of chicken meat, bell peppers, and a sauce that tasted of dish washing liquid. It was disgusting. Now, this guy has owned three different restaurants and is currently a caterer. I don't know about the restaurant days, but his current catering menu is utterly boring: Garden Fresh Vegetable Medley; Swedish Meatballs; Scallops Wrapped in Bacon; Chicken Marsala; Cajun Catfish; and the utterly gross-sounding "Escargot and Chicken Tender Teriyaki." Snails and McNuggets in Teriyaki sauce? Mmmmm, mmmm, good!

Maybe I'm jaded, but I expect a "chef" to create new and exciting dishes once in a while. But the recipes featured on his Web site are trite universal standards like Crab Imperial. So when it came time to design a cover for his cookbook, my expectations were not high. I figured he'd just take some recipes out of his original cooking-school cookbook, that he still uses today, and that's basically what he did. The poor person who typed up these recipes isn't a cook and had no idea how truly bad they were. She didn't know that any chef worth his salt wouldn't put margarine, or pre-chopped garlic in water, or something called "table-ready bag-in-box eggs" in a recipe for public consumption.

Apparently the person who edited the book knew nothing about cooking either, and Chef Idiot didn't bother to check to see if the recipes would translate properly. Keep in mind, the theme for this book is romance in cooking, putting love in food. So why are all of the recipes for SIX people? Orgies, maybe?

Let me share one of my favorite recipes from the book with you. The light text is verbatim from the book, and the red, snarky, comments are mine.

Herb Health Salad
(Yields Six Servings)

3 heads Romaine lettuce Three heads of lettuce for 6 people?
3 heads Boston lettuce That makes six heads of lettuce, one per each I guess
2 pounds Spinach Chopped or whole? Fresh or Frozen? Cooked or raw?
1 bunch Fresh basil Chopped? A chiffonade? Stems and all?
1 sprig Fresh mint My, that's generous of you. One sprig in 6 heads of lettuce.
1 tablespoon Sage Fresh or Dried? Chopped or whole?
1 teaspoon Fresh ginger Chopped? Sliced? Or just in one big chunk?
12 pounds Medium mushrooms TWELVE POUNDS? To feed six? Even if you cook it down, 12 pounds is a lot of mushrooms.
6 each Tomatoes Beefsteak? Cherry? Whole or sliced?
1 cup Alfalfa sprouts I suppose this is the "health" part.

Combine all ingredients. You may add other ingredients as you desire, such as nuts, raisins, grated carrots, beets, and cracked wheat.

Dressing: Vegetable oil and a raspberry vinaigrette mixture. So where's the recipe for this raspberry vinaigrette? And doesn't that already contain oil? Wouldn't olive oil be tastier?

See what I mean? And why would one need a recipe for both fried catfish fillets and fried catfish fingers? Couldn't you just cut the fish into smaller pieces and use the same recipe? And there's that damn recipe for Crab Imperial again. That's so done already, give it up!

I'm just glad I didn't have to pay for this piece of crap. At least the cover is nicely designed.