On Monday evening I had some friends in for dinner at the restaurant. While they were visiting they asked me if I had seen the recent tweet from celebrity John Cleese, directed at one of Edmonton’s finest hotels, about their lack of a concierge working at the concierge desk during his visit.Well, to say his comments unleashed a flurry of responses would be an understatement. At last check, the comment had over 1700 likes, over 200 retweets, and a plethora of replies, ranging from comical, to hospitable, to downright mean.The greatest irony in the ensuing twitter storm was obviously that the man himself was most well-known for his role as Basil Fawlty, an inept and slightly out of his head English hotel manager, in the famous British sitcom, Fawlty Towers.There were several jokes and memes that mocked the very idea of he himself complaining about the service at a hotel, even suggesting he should have jumped behind the desk to provide the service himself.There were comments suggesting that a concierge isn’t needed in this town because there is nothing good worth pointing out, which I wholeheartedly disagree with.There were comments suggesting that he was just experiencing a first world problem and should get over it.While I watched the mess unfold I couldn’t help but feel for the head concierge for the hotel, who I have come to know over the years. She is hands down one of the finest people at going above and beyond for her guests that I have ever come across in this industry, and yet, this man, a celebrity, happened to show up at her desk, while she was away, and whomever the responsibility fell to in her absence was nowhere to be found.Because this man was a celebrity, he was immediately taken at his word, opinions were formed, and the reputation of the hotel, it’s staff, and even the city of Edmonton, was tarnished as a result.Sadly, this is the world we live in today. One person has the clout to stir the pot do some serious harm without further explanation. Perhaps the employee fell ill and the hotel was short staffed. Perhaps there was a medical emergency.Who knows, maybe someone screwed up with the schedule and no one noticed until it was too late.Perhaps recent increases to labour costs have forced the hotel to make tough decisions about when they can afford to staff the desk.Do these “excuses” sound far-fetched? They shouldn’t. They are all things that I have had happen to us in our years since opening. Alas, none of that matters, as the damage has been done.While I feel for the hotel and the people involved, it also reminds me how easily the reputation of our business can be damaged, however deserving or not.It also got me thinking about how much we have been squeezed in recent years, making us far more vulnerable for being in this very situation. A sluggish economy has made people far more aware of what they are spending their money on and how often they are going out to dine, which means lower overall sales.We have seen virtually all costs increase, including labour, utilities, and cost of goods, which has hit us extra hard in a slow economy.I know that these things have affected our overall dining experience and left us asking our teams to do more with less time. Ultimately, this has an impact on the three groups of people that matter most to small business owners. It has taken a toll on our families, who see less of us, as we work more to make up the slack, it takes a toll on our staff, who are pushed harder than before, and it takes a toll on our guests, when they don’t receive the type of experience they have come to expect.This is just another in a long list of things that make owning a small business one of the most difficult things a person can do. It takes a little bit of crazy to keep going. Good thing, I’m a little bit crazy….Here’s a tasty, yet simple, dish, that you can make at home, assuming you have access to very fresh fish, and a little bit of knife skills.Sablefish CrudoPrep Time: 15 minutesCooking Time: N/ASpecial Tools: a sharp knife and access to fresh fish, mandolin slicerMakes: an appetizer for fourFor this dish, we use fresh, sushi grade, sablefish. You don’t necessarily have to use that, in fact, it may be quite difficult to find, but you can definitely find some great, fresh options to prepare this if you visit rob and his team at Effing Seafood. Fresh Ahi or Salmon would be a great choice too. Even some fresh scallops would be nice.400 g fresh loin, skin removed2 tbsp. fresh orange juice1 tbsp. fresh lime juice1 tbsp. fresh grapefruit juice1 ea. orange, segmented1 ea. radish½ ea. jalapeno, seeds removedFresh herbs, like parsley, cilantro, basilTT pink peppercornsTT sea saltTT chili oil, we make ancho oilSelect the platter you wish to present the fish on Start by preparing the condiments Combine the citrus juices Using the mandolin slicer sliver the radish very thin, and place in cold water to ensure it’s crisp Slice the jalapeno into thin coins Peel the orange and slice into segments Using a sharp knife, and cutting slightly on an angle slice the fish thinly and evenly Lay the fish down on the platter flat as you go, being sure not to stack Now drizzle the citrus juices over the fish Now season the fish nicely with the salt and pink peppercorns Garnish the fish with the radishes, jalapeno slices, and fresh herbs Finish the dish by garnishing with a few dots of ancho oil Let fish stand about 5 minutes to temper slightly before serving, this will help to warm the fish ever so slightly, and allow the flavours to be accentuated Who’s hungry?