Saturday night we had a notable guest at the restaurant. I say notable guest rather than celebrity out of fear that many of my readers would only know her from Dancing with the Stars or Raising Hope. The older folks out there would then facepalm remembering all of the great work she did in our childhood and before we were born. A server, apparently not at all familiar with the etiquette in this situation, told their tables she was there. Which lead to another server practically having to tackle a pair of guests on their way to disturb her. In etiquette situations like this, I always look to Helena Echlin over at CHOW Magazine for the right answer. She is the Dear Abby of restaurant etiquette in my mind and addresses this topic very well on her blog. She has answered any number of restaurant etiquette questions and I agree with her on most all of them.
The blogosphere is filled with servers voicing their gripes about guests. The voice that is most seldom heard is that of the chefs. I stumbled across a couple of stories this week that change that. The Daily Beast went straight for the celebrity chefs to get their horror stories. The Chicago Tribune went for lesser-known chefs, but found some more interesting tales. Both are a nice view of the insanity that happens on the other side of the wheel.
Speaking of chefs, there are many stereotypes that abound. Anthony Bourdain in his book Kitchen Confidential confirmed any number of these. James Beard Award winning Chef Michelle Bernstein wanted to give her take on the topic. On the CNN Eatocracy blog she gives her take on some of the more lurid stereotypes of chefs. I found this take to be more honest and less salacious the Chef Bourdain’s take.
There are certain conversations that I have had with guests so many times that I could really do without having again. Rapidly approaching the top of this list is the “cork versus twist top” debate. Inevitably someone pipes in with the idea that we are running out of cork. This is untrue. Wines and Vines addresses the concepts of cork taint and carbon footprints. Mongabay has a great interview with Patrick Spencer director of Cork ReHarvest discussing recycling corks, sustainability, and the biodiversity that cork trees foster. Both are good reads if you would like to know more about the topic.
Finally, I wanted to mention a few topics from around the server blogosphere. Yellowcat over at “Do you Do That At Home?” wrote a great piece on the things cook do to drive her crazy. I am sure most of these are very relatable to anyone who has spent time in the business. The Bitchy Waiter has started a new job. One of the benefits of remaining as carefully anonymous as he has is being able to say what he really thinks. He skewers his new management staff in a continuing series introducing us to all of them. He and I take very different approaches to the content we post, but he never fails to entertain me.
That is all for this week. I am still looking for a much more catchy name for this series. If you have any ideas, please leave them in the comment section. Tomorrow I return to stirring the pot with a post by a non-server friend on why it is acceptable to leave less than 15%. I expect it to generate some interesting thoughts from both sides of the apron. Lots more fun and excitement planned for this week as well. Might be worth keeping an eye on.
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