September 19 was “Talk Like a Pirate Day” – one of those internet-created faux holidays everyone loves to talk about on social media and at the water cooler. (Do people in offices really gather around a water cooler anymore? I picture them alone at their desks hunched over their $5 pumpkin-spiced Life Water, scrolling through Instagram on their phones.)
Having worked in restaurants for many years, I can usually spot a line cook in the wild at 40 paces or less, even if they’ve eschewed their every day uniform for civvies. Continue reading Talk Like a Line Cook Day
I am, in modern parlance, “an old,” so I remember the unsettling scene from 1976’s “The Marathon Man” in which a Nazi war criminal, played by Laurence Olivier, repeatedly asks Dustin Hoffman “Is it safe?” while laying out dental instruments with which to torture him with. Hoffman – terrified, sweating, strapped to a chair – replies “Yes, it’s safe, it’s very safe, it’s so safe you wouldn’t believe it.” Whenever I see the blue polo shirt of a Metro Health Department inspector slip into my place of employment, my brain coughs up this scene. Continue reading Is it Safe?
It’s tempting, isn’t it? You’re out with a bunch of friends, or maybe with a date. A server leads you to a table; menus open. You can’t resist. You lean in and speak the magic sentence: “I know the chef.” In your imagination, this will be met with surprised, quiet gasps of pleasure. Don’t chance it. At this stage of the game, it’s a crap shoot, and so many things could go awry, it’s not worth that one moment of smug satisfaction. Continue reading I Know the Chef
A few weeks back, someone I worked with briefly at another restaurant opened a restaurant of his own, with partners. They’d renovated and re-fitted an empty restaurant which had been a neighborhood institution years ago. Continue reading Love, War and Restaurant Openings
I answered the phone at work the other day, and a guy from Yelp was on the line. He gave off sort of a greasy vibe, if you know what I mean. Continue reading A Yelp in the Wilderness
Should a restaurant employee ever lose their job due to a social media post? Well, in a word – yes. But are there situations in which a cook or server should be able to vent a little on Facebook or Instagram without fear of retribution from their employer? Almost never. Continue reading Social Media and the Restaurant Worker