Duffified Live Podcast: What We Learned from Episode I

Conceptually, Duffified Live is about always saying yes to life’s experiences. For the past several years now, Chef Brian Duffy has been learning to never say no, and he’s convinced his life is better because of it. At its core, though, this informative and entertaining podcast is about sharing the things Chef Duffy has learned throughout his journey as a chef, industry expert and well-known personality. You don’t need to work in a bar, nightclub or restaurant to appreciate Duffy’s new podcast; if you love bars and restaurants, you’ll love listening.

Let’s take a look at the debut episode of Duffified Live, without giving too much away.

In the first episode Duffy speaks with a friend of his, bar consultant Michael Tipps. You may know Tipps from working with him, his bar consulting, or Bar Rescue (which is how he and Duffy met). If you don’t know Tipps you should be aware that he has strong opinions when it comes to bartending, mixology, and respect for the craft.

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Tipps on mixology:

  • He’s not anti-mixology, he’s “anti-snooty.”
  • To Tipps, becoming a sommelier or chef requires rites of passage. In his opinion, anyone can call themselves a mixologist if they want to once they’ve learned how to make a couple different drinks.
  • He feels like many of those who claim the title of mixologist dislike one another (on some level).
  • Tipps hopes the pendulum of popularity will swing back towards bartenders just wanting to be great at their jobs and knowing what they’re doing.

Speaking of rites of passage, Duffy doesn’t entirely agree that everyone calling themselves a chef has actually earned that title. He’s come across people who are “line chefs,” “grill chefs,” or even “fry chefs.”

“The term ‘chef’ means ‘head of the brigade,’ it’s somebody who runs and leads a kitchen,” says Duffy. “In reality, the term ‘chef’ isn’t even just about how well you can cook – it’s about being the head of that brigade and running the kitchen.”

The time to take a step back, set aside the need to elevate one’s title, and focus on nailing the fundamentals of bartending, cooking and hospitality is long overdue to some. On the subject of hospitality, Duffy and Tipps discuss a guest experience that motivated the chef to post on social media. That post led to a (somewhat) unexpected skewering online.

I don’t want to reveal too much about this episode of Duffified Live, but I do want to mention a few topics of discussion. First, Tipps is opening a bar in LA which will hopefully open its doors in March or April. Second, Tipps feels that a lot of gastropubs and even burger joints have adopted very masculine identities and atmospheres, and they just aren’t any fun.

“I always joke and I say there’s a rule: With restaurants, bars and nightclubs, and hotels – hotels and restaurants are separate, because you can have a great food program and have a hundred guys in there eating dinner and it works because their menu is amazing,” says Tipps, “But with a nightclub or a bar, Brian Duffy cannot – let’s [say as an] example – Brian Duffy has all the best bar knowledge, best bartenders, the most well-funded, the best design, right next to Michael Tipps’ bar that just says Tipps’ Shitty Tavern right next to it, but mine is filled with women that feel very comfortable and are empowered being there, I just blow yours away every day of the week; twice on Sunday.”

“Women need to feel comfortable in bars and feel empowered in bars,” Tipps continues, and he doesn’t mean that operators need to do anything as tone deaf as paint the walls pink.

While the rule may seem somehow controversial to some (in this day and age it seems that everything offends somebody for some reason) or as though it’s pandering to women, Tipps simply wants operators to remember two of his guidelines for bars: they need to be inviting to women, and they need to be fun.

Listen to this episode to find out why a focus on mixology may be hurting mixologists and the bar owners for whom they work. Also, get some tips on how to deliver excellent customer service and deal with customer complaints. Let us know what you think here in the comments.

Chef Duffy and a select group of fantastic chefs and culinary experts will be at the 2017 Nightclub & Bar Conference and Trade Show, heading up the F&B Innovation Center. You will not want to miss that experience – register now!

Adult Language Disclaimer:

While I feel as though this disclaimer shouldn’t be necessary, this podcast often times features a healthy sprinkling of adult language. We do, after all, work and spend time in adult venues with adults in them, being all adulty and stuff. You have been warned.

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