Article: “More chefs in the kitchen: Restaurants explore ways to allow diners a firsthand look at food preparation” (Aug.2006)

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excerpt:
“He watches The Food Network religiously, cooks dinner for himself and his wife, Janet, at least four times a week, and said he’s more than comfortable working in the kitchen, even when it isn’t his own. He also has worked with local chefs at area restaurants more than a dozen times.

So it’s no surprise that he leapt at the chance to be among the first to participate in a “Chef for a Day” program at The Seelbach Hilton Hotel’s Oakroom restaurant when the program was launched a couple of years ago.

“To be shoulder to shoulder with a group of professional people and keeping up with them doing exactly what they were doing and to feel a part of that — that was amazing,” Frick said…”

source: “More chefs in the kitchen: Restaurants explore ways to allow diners a firsthand look at food preparation” by Shannon Leonard-Boone (Business First of Louisville, Aug.11,2006)

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Article: “The Barman Speaks – Our resident bartender skewers the Top 10 myths about drinkmasters” (Jun.2006)

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excerpt:
“Most bar patrons have severe misconceptions about the actual lives of bartenders—who we are, what we do and why we do it. Also, remember that the interaction between bartender and customer is a delicate one; it’s both an economic and a social relationship that has stood the test of time. Most other relationships in life are fleeting but, if managed properly, the partnership between drinkers and their bartenders is sacred.

Consider this a pocket-size operating manual for our mutual good times. And, if these points are taken to heart, we can continue to raise our collective glasses and toast to our long, drunken future together.

So forget all those third-person fluff pieces you’ve read everywhere else. Here it is: the plain truth about bartending, from someone who knows.”

source: “The Barman Speaks” by Ryan Osterbeck (MetroActive, Jun.21,2006)

Software: “The Waitress” (2004)

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excerpt:
"Welcome to your new job. You are a waitress and your job is to serve clients. Do it in 3 steps: 1. Take the order 2. Bring the order 3. Clean the table…"

link: "The Waitress" created by D-Mah

For other waiter/waitress games, click here.

Perspectives: Eating a meal in their shoes (Restaurant Critics)

Here are two recent articles inside the life of restaurant critics:

excerpt:
"For 13 years, I've been getting paid to eat in restaurants – regularly and often. A dream come true, you might say. Well, yes, and then again, no. A friend once asked what the worst thing about my job was, and I answered, "Eating out." The best thing: Eating out. It's a paradox. Tasting another bite of overcooked tuna, another spoonful of sludgy pumpkin soup, another leaden bit of deep-fried calamari can feel like attaching a ball and chain to my tongue. Yet as soon as one taste, one memory wears off, I'm up for another."

source: "The Secret Life of a Restaurant Critic" by Allison Arnett (Boston Globe, Oct.9,2005)

excerpt:
"After nearly 20 years on the job, it's time for a chat. Beginning today, we can talk daily on my blog, "Between Meals,'' on SFGate.com.

I eat out every night and am immersed in food during the day at The Chronicle, so a lot of information passes through my brain.

However, because I can only write a Chronicle Magazine restaurant review and a 96 Hours restaurant update every week, I haven't been able to share a lot of what I've learned — until now."

source: "Critic's blog gets up close, personal" by Michael Bauer (San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 2006)

Restaurant critic blogs:
Michael Bauer (San Francisco Chronicle)
Frank Bruni (New York Times)
Howard Seftel (Arizona Republic)

Happy Eating.

Perspectives: From the other side of the tray

The perspective of the restaurant worker, which is often ignored, has recently become more accessible through print ("My Week as a Waiter"), media (i.e. the movie "Waiting…"), and the internet (Waiterrant.net). 

This may be due to more people working in restaurants (nearly 50% of adults have worked in the restaurant industry, source: NRA), and more people going to restaurants (no other country eats out as frequently as those in the United States, source: AOL).  

Many times, servers are debating with customers in message boards or forums about the nature of the profession. Servers will talk about customers who lack patience, respect, and consideration for servers. Customers who have experienced bad service will remark on servers who are uncaring, unprofessional, and inconsiderate of customers. The relationship between customer and server is put on eggshells when there isn't consideration and mutual respect. 

To balance out the numerous consumer sites where diners post their experiences, the following are links to sites where content is written by restaurant workers:

WaiterRant
BitterWaitress
The Stained Apron
Server Stories
The Insane Waiter
Waitress On the Sea
Restaurant Gal
Restaurant Girl Speaks
Manhattan Waitress
Shameless Restaurant
Waiting Tables
The Angry Waiter
The Food Liberation Front
Red Lobster Hates Its Employees

also, here is a recent article about restaurant workers on the internet: Read the rest of this entry »

Perspectives: Serving a mile in their shoes.

Here are two articles of restaurant critics taking a look from the other side of the tray:

"My Week as a Waiter" by Frank Bruni (New York Times, Jan.25, 2006)

"A server's-eye view" by April Lisante (Philadelphia Daily News, Apr.13,2006)

Part of empowered dining is to not only be knowledgeable about restaurants, foods, but also the people helping provide the pleasurable dining experience. These articles help provide some education and perspective about being part of a restaurant waitstaff.

We believe that a mutual respect between the diners and waitstaff helps make the dining experience enjoyable for everyone.