Sunday, November 30, 2008

Food for Thought: Waiter Rant

I joined a new food book discussion blog called Food for Thought, hosted by Kate at the Clean Plate Club. Each month we will review a "foodie book" and we also have the option of trying a recipe from the book, if there are any.

For our first month we reviewed the book "Waiter Rant", by Steve Dublanica a.k.a. "The Waiter". You might be wondering what's up the "a.k.a." business.

Here's the deal... this guy is a waiter in a high-end New York City restaurant and he started a blog called Waiter Rant. He posted anonymously because he's got lots of dirt, er, insight on co-workers, bosses, and customers. He posted anonymously for several years and developed a following that eventually led to a book deal. Still keeping his identity unknown, he published his book, but then eventually "came out". (It's hard to be an anonymous guest on Oprah.)

There weren't any recipes in the book. I considered making a Valentines Day inspired chocolate raspberry cake (mentioned in the book) along with my review, but I ran out of time.

Anyway, I really enjoyed this book. Just like so much of life, you can't really appreciate someone else's position until you've "walked a mile in their shoes".

Waiters see the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of humanity. The author recounts many cases of selfish, unkind behavior, some of which are truly shocking. Like the couple who were so worried and uptight about getting a particular table... never mind that the restaurant had been turned upside down as an emergency crew was attending to a woman who had a stroke during dinner.

I know this sounds cliched, but, waiters are people too. They have lives and histories and bills to pay and they deserve kindness and respect just like everyone else. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the habit of thinking they are in a position of servitude. If there's one thing I learned from reading this book, it's that simple kindness, saying please and thank you, and tipping appropriately are the least we customers can do when eating out.

I thought this was a great read and I would recommend it. However, those with a sensitivity toward swearing might want to chose another title from the book shelf.


kate said...

that story about the folks who wanted a table that was unavailable because of a medical emergency was just *shocking*! do people really act like that? the level of superficial that some people can go to is astounding to me.

Natashya said...

You had a kinder perspective than me. What got my attention most were the disgusting conditions in the restaurants. The bathroom, the rats, cockroaches, lack of hand-washing, the things they do with peppermills... what he says everyone else but him does in peoples food.
It made me never want to go to a restaurant again. I was horrified.
Plus, it seemed that all restaurant staff were interested in was getting you in, fed, and out and getting as much profit out of you as possible. There didn't seem to be any care for real hospitality.
I found him opinionated and brash, and would have guessed that he was far younger than his years.
I admire you for seeing the positive in his perspective, your review was kind and well written.

Maria said...

Thanks! I will have to check this one out!

Bunny said...

Oh you wouldn't believe the things the waitstaff have to put up with in a restaurant, I'm a night manager in a family style restaurant. The stories I could tell you!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your review. I agree about one story that stuck out... the story about the heartless couple not giving a hoot about the medical emergency instead demanding that they get seated at their ideal table. Some people!