So You Want To Be A Waiter

The best book on waiting tables that you have never read – yet

Daily Archives: May 31, 2009

New link posted – Steakhouse Blues

I highly recommend this blog from “old school steakhouse general manager–80 hours a week putting out fires [sometimes literally], correcting grammar, opening wine, directing traffic, trying not to kill everyone, and happily receiving the financial tributes of our adoring guests one benjamin at a time

It’s not often that a post on a blog almost brings me to tears. But this is one of them. I demand that everyone go to this blog and read the entire post. It’s too long to reproduce here, and even the extract that I’m posting is longer than I prefer, because usually you can get the gist of a post in the first paragraph or two. However, to get to the essense of the post, I had to include the following:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I claim to be an average man of less than average ability. I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith“–Mahatma Gandhi

“Where’s Mr. O’Leary been?”

The question from one of our longest-tenured servers catches me unawares. Mr. O’Leary is one of our most prized guests and one of the richest men in our generally very prosperous city. He is a legend throughout the local dining community–out to dinner six or seven nights a week, choosing from a small group of favored restaurants and literally showering them with his largess.

Every time I see Mr. O’Leary I think of the scene in “My Blue Heaven”, an otherwise exceedingly ordinary comedy about a gangster stuck in middle America as part of the Witness Protection Program. Steve Martin plays the mobster, who attempts to tip his FBI caseworker [Rick Moranis] upon first meeting him–When Rick Moranis‘ character questions the action, the gangster responds matter-of-factly by saying, “Ay…I tip evvverrrrybodddy!”

Mr. O’Leary tips everybody as well. To use another gangster movie allusion, this one from “Goodfellas“, when Mr. O’Leary is in the house, the bartender gets $20 just for keeping the ice cubes cold.

Once the server mentioned Mr. O’Leary’s absence, it occurred to me that indeed we probably hadn’t seen him for nearly six weeks–immediately I was both concerned and embarrassed. Concerned because while in good health, he is an older guy, and I was afraid something might have happened. Embarrassed because over the last few months my attention has been diverted by other things and my observational powers have suffered as a result–I hadn’t noticed his absence at all.

You simply must read this entry. In fact, this blog is a definite keeper. The posts are detailed, well-written and full of humanity; the first being a common trait of GMs, the second a sometimes quality that you find because GMs do a lot of their interaction on the phone and in person plus, they generally don’t have time to do a blog in the first place, and the latter, a quite rare quality in a GM . Therefore, it’s being enthusiastically added to my blogroll.
Let’s all welcome Steadkhouse Blues with a rousing Hurrah!

Cookbook of the day – Cooking With Fire and Smoke


Cooking With Fire and Smoke

by Philip Stephen Schulz

Simon & Schuster (May 15, 1991)

  • ISBN-10: 0671733095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671733094
  • Well, it’s the Sunday after memorial day and many people are dusting off the grill and icing down the beer, inviting their friends and family over for the communal event that we call “barbeque”.

    This is a book that would be useful to novices and experienced grillers and smokers alike.

    The subtitle of this book is almost longer than the first chapter:

    “Recipes for great grilled, barbecued, and smoked dishes – a user’s guide to equipment, fuel and accessories – from hibachis to gas grills”.

    This describes the book to a tee. The first 11 chapters is all about the mechanics, logistics and safety issues of cooking food over flame and smoke.  With lots of advice on equipment selection, matching flavors to food, and how to keep your eyebrows, this book is a godsend to those whose grandpappies haven’t passed along their esoteric and private hints about feeding the clan outdoors during the spring and summer. The advice is spot on and full on practicality.

    The last 2/3rds of the book  is recipes scattered with charts on cooking times and cooking styles and advice on seasonings. The recipes are well-chosen. They don’t go far afield with obscure and sometimes off-putting ways to shoehorn a cuisine into a grilling box.

    There’s a reason why this book has hung around as long as it has. It doesn’t pander to the whims and fancies of a dining public, but it doesn’t just stick to basic recipes and concepts.

    And that’s a reason why it should be on the bookshelf of any self-respecting charcoal and wood user.

    That, and the fact that it’s an inexpensive paperback.

    Sometimes it’s the little things…

    Grabbing a handful of forks or plates and having exactly the number you need to set a bunch of tables, especially when you make a conscious effort to estimate the number that you’re going to need.

    A child’s delight at being in the proximity of a live lobster.

    A table saying, “We know you want to get out of here. Why don’t you drop the check now”?

    The feeling of a pen with the perfect kind of ink.

    The smell of cooking bacon from the prep area.

    An unexpected $6.34 check from a bonus from a contest that you had forgotten all about.

    The sight of a cherished regular’s name on the reservation list, even if it isn’t in your section.

    The guest who listens to you when you say that you wouldn’t recommend leaving a certain ingredient out of a dish.

    The glass that doesn’t break when it bounces twice on the floor.

    Your first table ordering a $100 bottle of wine.

    Your last table not wanting dessert or coffee.