A great little story about a twenty-something who lost her job in marketing, and bullshitted her way into waiting tables at a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant, without knowing the nomenclature.
1. Soup is considered a beverage and should be served and cleared from the right like other beverages.
2. A cocktail is never more full than when it’s dropped.
3. Never ask why (try not to even think it). Say “Of Course” or “I’ll attend to it immediately.”
4. The handle of a teacup is called the “ear” and should be placed at the 4 o’clock position to the right of the guest.
Do: Treat the busboys like a rich old aunt. If you’re nice to them you stand to make a lot more money.
Don’t: Check your tip in view of the dining room. Get mad later, in private.
Do: Channel your inner psych nurse and use a soothing voice with rude guests.
Don’t: Be honest if anyone asks how you like working at Roulette. You love what you do and plan to stay forever, right?
Never: Refold a guest’s napkin and put it back on the table. Replace the used napkin with a fresh one.
Always: Thank your lucky stars. You could be selling ladies shoes at JC Penney or trimming trees in Oklahoma in December.
“The fish special this evening is roasted monkfish with crispy shallots, mache emulsion, and an eggplant and Black Zebra tomato napoleon. The grill selection is a 10 ounce ribeye. It’s organic, free range, slaughtered humanely, and dry aged at high altitude. We will be serving it with a Jerusalem artichoke gratin and red pepper jus. Both specials are $42.”
Dr. Bernitz flips a few pages of the wine list before glancing up.
“How’s the fish tonight?”
“Flown in this morning, sir” Cato says crisply. “If you’re interested in seafood I suggest the wild salmon.”
“It has a firm texture and rich flavor that goes perfectly with chef’s caramelized ginger-shallot broth.” “Interesting, let’s hear about the lobster.”
This is the beginning of a 10 minute dance that is less a customer-waiter exchange than a subtle negotiation between adversaries.
“Where do the blood oranges in the relish come from?” asks the doctor, clearly enjoying the challenge.
Cato looks as if he might yawn. “Andalusia, Spain by way of 737.”
“You don’t happen to know who makes this china, do you?
“Chef had it designed exclusively for Roulette by Arte Italica. If you turn it over, you’ll see his signature. Of course I wouldn’t recommend doing that with a full plate” Cato laughed lightly.
“My mother would love a set, can you arrange that?”
“Just leave me her address and she should have it by Monday morning, unless she would prefer afternoon delivery. in
“Do any of the ingredients come from countries that use child labor?” the doctor says, gazing over the freesia at his wife. Martina needs to know before we order.”
“That’s why I memorize the menu” Cato tells me when we’re away from the table. “Not to make Gina happy, not to make money. To put assholes in their place.”