I know a lot of bartenders and servers. None of them go to work hoping to be able to deny service to a guest. And yet it happens frequently. It’s never good, and it’s never fun, but some occasional situations call for it. Continue reading To Serve or Not to Serve
A sous chef speaks to a server in a steamy kitchen. “Okay, that’s the special eighty-sixed. Eighty-sixed, you hear me? And if I get one more order for it, I’m gonna lose my -” (ticket printer chirrups) “OH MY GOD! Get me Lance right now!” Continue reading A Kitchen Conversation, Translated
Per my request, Santa brought me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas, pre-loaded with everyone’s favorite virtual assistant, Alexa.
This morning as I was settling in at my writing desk, I asked: “Alexa: how many days until the Kentucky Derby 2020?”
“2020 Kentucky Derby is in 128 days, on May 2, 2020,” she replied cheerfully.
“What is the date of Mother’s Day, 2020?” Continue reading Happy New Year, Alexa!
I recently stopped in on a Monday for breakfast at a diner near where I work. The place was busy, but not full. I wasn’t greeted, as I had been on each previous visit. Continue reading Two Tales of Heroism in Restaurant Service
Recently, while I was dining out, there was a table of folks nearby. One member of their party was a new adopter of the ketogenic (keto) diet. He was pretty animated as he discussed it, so we could overhear a lot of the conversation. Continue reading The Keto Mosquito
“The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” –George Costanza, “The Marine Biologist” Seinfeld, Season 5 Episode 14, February, 1994
President Donald Trump’s visit to Louisville last week got me thinking about how to properly, politely and successfully send a dish back in a restaurant with minimal disruption to your or your companions’ meals. (“Send It Back! Send It Back!”) Continue reading Speaking of Sending Things Back
The Hype Man got me this week.
If you’re not sure what a Hype Man is, just picture Flava Flav, the guy from Public Enemy who sports the giant clock pendant and oversize sunglasses. His entire function in the band was to get the crowd going, praise the lead singer, and make the people want more. Continue reading Hype, Man
Like the general population, professional cooks come in a whole spectrum of shapes, sizes and personalities, ranging from angels to assholes. But there’s one thing most of us have in common on a daily basis: we’re hungry. Continue reading Milk Crate Blues
Abraham Lincoln once said “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” In a restaurant, “sharpening the axe” is all the prep that goes into a successful service. Continue reading Sharpening the Axe
For hospitality workers, Derby means war.
It’s not a contest against the sea of festive diners. It’s a battle against time and against mistakes, against anything that tries to keep us from the summit of a perfect service. After weeks of preparation, it’s a brief war, lasting at most two days; but a crucial one on a couple of fronts. Continue reading Cry Havoc and let slip the Hot Browns of War