Recommended Reading 11/8

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I love recycling pictures

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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10 Responses to Recommended Reading 11/8

  1. skippymom November 8, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    You sure do your research for this blog – thanks – always such a good read.

    Oh, I can’t wait to read that post – that should be interesting.

    • tipsfortips November 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

      It actually comes in handy at work too. I was waiting on a guy Saturday night. I was recommending the Wild Salmon and explaining that the season would be over soon. He rolled his eyes at me and said, “Salmon grows everywhere, there is no season.” I proceeded into an explanation of salmon spawning habits and extinction problems in the Atlantic. He looked up at me and said, “you know far more than I expected you to.” He did not lip off to me again during the meal, ate the salmon, and loved it.

  2. skippymom November 8, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    You sure do your research for this blog – thanks – always such a good read.

    Oh, I can’t wait to read that post – that should be interesting.

    • tipsfortips November 8, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

      It actually comes in handy at work too. I was waiting on a guy Saturday night. I was recommending the Wild Salmon and explaining that the season would be over soon. He rolled his eyes at me and said, “Salmon grows everywhere, there is no season.” I proceeded into an explanation of salmon spawning habits and extinction problems in the Atlantic. He looked up at me and said, “you know far more than I expected you to.” He did not lip off to me again during the meal, ate the salmon, and loved it.

  3. yellowcat November 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    Thanks for the mention!

    One time Harrison Ford came in to eat at a restaurant where I worked. He was all decked out like a biker and I didn’t recognize him, but he was familiar. I asked the bartender who the guy was and he told me and asked if I wanted to meet him. Now I’ve had the most amazing crush on Harrison Ford since I was a teenager, so I did what any self respecting person would do in that situation. I left him alone. He was having dinner with some friends, obviously out of his celebrity personna, and I didn’t think mobbing him would be very nice. Unfortunately, some people who thought they were much more high class than me (cuz I’m a waitress and they’re not) insisted on meeting him, made a huge scene, ruined his dinner and caused him to leave. Jerks.

    • tipsfortips November 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

      One of my childhood heros comes into my restaurant regularly. I had always heard around that he was a jerk. He has always been completely cool with me. Now when people tell me he is a jerk I ask why. Generally it has something to do with them walking up to him at a restaurant and him not taking the time to talk with them extensively. Makes me wonder who is really the jerk in that situation.

  4. yellowcat November 8, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    Thanks for the mention!

    One time Harrison Ford came in to eat at a restaurant where I worked. He was all decked out like a biker and I didn’t recognize him, but he was familiar. I asked the bartender who the guy was and he told me and asked if I wanted to meet him. Now I’ve had the most amazing crush on Harrison Ford since I was a teenager, so I did what any self respecting person would do in that situation. I left him alone. He was having dinner with some friends, obviously out of his celebrity personna, and I didn’t think mobbing him would be very nice. Unfortunately, some people who thought they were much more high class than me (cuz I’m a waitress and they’re not) insisted on meeting him, made a huge scene, ruined his dinner and caused him to leave. Jerks.

    • tipsfortips November 8, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

      One of my childhood heros comes into my restaurant regularly. I had always heard around that he was a jerk. He has always been completely cool with me. Now when people tell me he is a jerk I ask why. Generally it has something to do with them walking up to him at a restaurant and him not taking the time to talk with them extensively. Makes me wonder who is really the jerk in that situation.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Weird Restaurant Stories 11/20 « Tips on improving your Tips - November 20, 2010

    […] restaurant stories” tab at the top of the page.  I will be back on Monday with another batch of recommended reading.  Then next week I will be discussing some of the most difficult situations servers face.  […]

  2. Weird Restaurant Stories 11/20 « Tips on improving your Tips - November 20, 2010

    […] restaurant stories” tab at the top of the page.  I will be back on Monday with another batch of recommended reading.  Then next week I will be discussing some of the most difficult situations servers face.  […]

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