Bon après-midi mes omlettes gargantuesques de baleine!
I was blessed at the beginning of last week with a full three days off. Plans were made, D.I.Y items were sought after, the list of 'things to do' grew more and more as Monday morning slowly rolled on. The weather had held and there was a hazy day awaiting my gusto. So, how far did I travel down my 'to do' list...How many red ticks did I place on my whiteboard indicating 'job finished'...How many times, my valued readers, have you done the same? I'm sure you can guess the outcome of my three delightful days off...I did bugger all! Nothing got done, the 'to do' list grew quicker than a genetically enhanced super melon and I endured the wrath of my Wife who would have been quite happy if I had just managed to put the kitchen clock on the wall! (Nails where they have always been and the hammer is in the toolbox in the cupboard by the front door...get the hint?)
Anyway, let me paint a picture for you. It's Sunday evening, you have been working for around thirteen hours, you have served approximately 85 covers, the temperature in the Kitchen is slightly on the warm side and you are waiting for the nightmare to end. Just finishing your last ticket of the night, you notice the clock on the wall...9pm! The Kitchen is now closed and an expression of relief resides on your face which is usually used to frowning the majority of the time. The door to the Bar opens and a familiar face appears...then the words, sickeningly sweet, filled with presumption, a hint of malice and quivering slightly with an undertone of fear..."Chef, do remember the table of 2 that booked for 8:30, well, they just arrived and, um, wondered if, um, it would still be okay to sort of like, you know, serve them?"
Five words projected themselves from my vocal chords..."You gotta be f*****g me!"
I was flabbergasted. Truly, I was. Dumbfounded, dumbstruck, I was rendered speechless! How any normal person could believe it was the height of good manners to book a table for a certain time, turn up 30 minutes late and then still expect to be fed is beyond a f*****g joke!
I am sure you are asking yourself the question "Well, did you serve them?" and to that conundrum, I will answer in the due fullness of time. Had it been my Establishment I would have personally gone to see the offending couple and, without any hesitation, made this statement..."Good Evening. I'm afraid that I will not be serving you tonight. If you think that you can arrive late, without a phone call and especially without an apology, disrespect me, my restaurant and my staff and still expect to eat then you are sorely mistaken. Thank you for choosing to dine here but I think that it is best if you leave now and never return because if you do, I will thinly slice your butt cheeks and serve you to my customers as Carpacchio of Human Arse...Now F**k Off!" At least my theoretical answer was to the point and there is no way the idiots could have misread the situation...or my obvious intentions.
So, to now answer the question that has reverberated around your cranium...Did I serve them?...Of course I did! It's not my restaurant and its certainly not my money or livelihood so of course I served them. Every motion I made for that ticket was painfully filled with resentment, anger and delightfully chilled revenge.
Please, I beg of you, spare a thought for the people in this Industry. We are only human. We could knock out numerous microwave meals or butter bread quicker than the likes of Greggs, Harveys or whichever local Bakery-cum-Eatery that is near you but that is not our style. Spare a thought for the Guys and Girls of the proper Kitchens...your local haunts...the ones that make sure you have the table you like but you don't need to ask for it and appear like a pretentious t**t. The ones that know which drinks you have when you arrive and the aperitif that you finish your meal with. The wonders of the Catering Fraternity that can have a laugh and a joke with you yet you still feel like the most important person in the room. They are the wonders of this trade...They are the ones that make sure every aspect is taken care of and your every whim is dealt with to the highest standard. Do not disrespect them but embrace there gutsy drive and determination which will ultimately lead to you and your guests having a most wonderful evening of food and drink.
P.S. Don't forget to tip your 'moron'! (Most Chefs get a cut of them!)
On that monetary note, some news regarding yours truly...I have been published! If you would care to look toward my 'Beyond The Hotplate' section which is on the left hand side of the Blog you will see 2 additions. The first is the link to ONE Magazine which I have been asked, with some light aggresion on my part, to become the Resident 'Culinary Crank'! It's an honour that I have been asked to write for this publication and I urge you to check it out at your earliest convenience...if not then it may well be time for the Salmon (Read the article and you will know what that means!) Secondly, for the Super Highway geniuses out there, I am now on Facebook with a informatory group called 'Grumpy Chef Groupies' which is open to all and I am also now on Twitter as of this evening...Search for 'TheGrumpyChef' on the Twitter friends page and 'Follow the White Touque!
Thirdly...another website I think is absolutely wonderful...Kamikazie Cookery! Follow the link in the same section and marvel at these 3 gents living in Edinburgh. An amazing concept and easily described as 'Three geeks. Cooking. With science and Explosions. Described as "Top Gear with food and without that twat Clarkson" (by one of our mates, admittedly), we're putting the "fun" back into "food". Which means we're making "funood". And lots of it.'
Bonne nuit mon carbonisez merveilleusement les brochettes vertes thaïes grillées de poulet
Le Chef Grincheux