I know you're thinking about some of the weirder things that people say about restaurants; the money

laundering fronts, spitting in food, the drugs... but no, this place can't be like that. Look, the maître d' has a perfectly slicked hairstyle and waistcoat on and this sole! urely, nobody who has e!en a minor position re" methamphetamines would e!er be able to source such fresh ingredients or noisette that butter to the perfect rich brown it is. #ell, strip away coiffed staff and e$pensi!e wallpaper and this is %ust another profit-centred operation. &ehind the door, layer upon layer of flaky, chipped magnolia pro!ides a source of entertainment to the bored staff as they see who can peel off the longest strip. 'o downstairs, or right into the back, and it's full of aluminium shel!ing units massi!ely o!erstacked with tins and bo$es, all supported by precarious leaning towers of fresh produce and the ubi(uitous rectangular 'gastro pans' full of prepped mise, complete with lethal corners and a hea!y penalty for whiche!er poor soul knocks one of these gargantuan towers o!er. )here's no paint for the staff to pick off at all here, it's %ust e$posed, probably damp plaster. *ust as easy to competiti!ely remo!e , but it lea!es a powdery , ingrained residue that show up on your hands in the dining room. &esides, the maître d' would win anyway - they'!e had the practice from being here longest +a note on maître d's here. )hey fall into two camps" the first you would gladly do a function of ,-by yourself for, and they occasionally allow late-night incursions into the bar as a reward for manic ser!ices smashed, filling in wastage sheets for '. shots */' straightfaced. )he second is an o$ygen sink, whose only apparent purpose is to not turn up on time then let the ser!ing system collapse around you, resulting in the 0. and 01 year old weekend staff performing miracles to rescue e!erything despite only being hired to gi!e full-timers (uieter weekends, yet they still share their tips. )hat said, there are some stellar teenage front of house stalwarts out in restaurants today, most of them with purely on-the-%ob training and a 2hristmas party season under their belts. I'!e been ser!ed by, worked alongside, trained and was one. 3anagers hire them for more than the youthful !itality they gi!e to a wake" they come cheap and tend not to abuse the terrible staff discount most places offer. o, right now you're sat abo!e a warehouse full of food that certain people think doubles as a decent base for the sub-legit operations of some of the fringe elements of the house staff. #ell, it probably does. &ut for the most part they keep it (uiet and don't let it affect their work - e!eryone's in it for the money. 4nd that's not including the kitchen crews. 4 high pressure, high responsibility %ob where you put in more hours from 5riday to unday than most people do all week will turn any ci!ilian into a battle-scarred kitchen mercenary whilst in whites - human nature changes on the other side of the pass. I know of chefs who flatly refuse to cook for weddings without listening to 6adio 7, others half-con!ince themsel!es they're 6on &urgundy and (uote, in character, from obscure 8-s anime films and re!eal spoilers about the ending. It's an industry with high product and staff turno!er and today we ha!e social media and online %ob searches - chefs can afford to be idiosyncratic but nothing like the ones you hear about so often. 9nce the errant wine bucket or three-inch wad of

redundant paperwork is kicked back and the doors swing shut for ser!ice, a siege mentality de!elops" intolerant of anything less than ma$imum effort. 2hefs will become rightfully affronted and furious, sometimes personally hurt, that the one person who didn't gi!e a pre-order is eating from their particular kitchen that night. #e all want you to be happy; staff get an easier ride, the kitchen can dictate the timing of your meal more effecti!ely and you'll tip better, but through your own blind, stupid idiocy, e!eryone's %ob is suddenly made harder. 2hef and co. will acti!ely en%oy the time it takes to replate without the sauce, or brassicas, or whate!er other issue you kept (uiet about, and will call ser!ice on it gladly wishing personal harm and ignominy upon the recei!er. &ut after work or during their day off +almost always midweek: the chef walks amongst us like any other. )hey wear cardigans and drink coffee or spirits in their fa!ourite places. )hey walk their dogs in the park and cook their partner breakfast. )hey get pregnant and go on holiday and support ri!al teams and use )inder and, for the most part, act normal. )hat said, it's 'normal' for the pastry team to get commissioned by other staff to make cakes, ice cream or whate!er else. )hey sell it for cost plus ;-<, It's a bi=arrely, eerily beautiful sight" whites in the bin, %eans and tee now, a chef mo!es through their kitchen blue-lit by bug killers, 2harlie impson's solo album on. )hey hum lines to themsel!es, trying them out in their mind to play somehow later +a lot of chefs begin wanting to be creati!e but e$press themsel!es in other ways until they get a !oice in what goes on the menu - lots start bands or write. )heir music taste is di!erse but usually e$cellent.: >ere, time doesn't matter" this is important for somebody who spends their days producing other people's food and can now cook for a friend. )he ne$t day, their work is handed o!er in a tupperware bo$ that once held crayfish tails or /i%on mustard before it was washed and used for a hundred other things. ?nless it's unday, when the lefto!er terrines, tarts and other easily carried stock that has to go is taken by pretty much e!eryone. 4 bulge in the coat or bag of someone who's %ust clocked out is more likely to be ordered food than industrial-grade resin that the guys stirred up using the !ast bowl of the >obart mi$er. 9ccasionally the chefs forgo their cut and do it at cost for a birthday or anni!ersary. @ormally the fa!our would be repaid according to the person who ordered it; a half of the fairly wild home-infused spirit the barwoman stashes on top of the fridge, waiting for the cocoa nibs and ancho to do their thing in me=cal. 9ther payment forms include sending all the training coffees from latte art day to the kitchen or automatically triple-shot 2uban brewing some coffee in the morning +chefs are idiosyncratic, yes.: If you really owe, book a table at another restaurant on a shared night off and 'perform some research' with whoe!er else swapped their shift to come or %ust royally screwed the others on then by going for dinner. )here are some sub-groups of customer. )ype I sees the restaurant as a temple of class, elegance and fawning obse(uiousness towards the diner, the staff as ser!itude incarnate, and treat the place as such. )hese are the abhorrent hyena-like indi!iduals who take two flutes at an arri!al drinks 'and more for the couple o!er there' before pointing to an empty corner of the room and grabbing half the tray. Aou know full well

that we'!e got e$act numbers for this e!ent and that your friends prepaid these. Bssentially then, you're stealing from your friends. &astards. Aou are far worse than )ype II. )hey might bemuse and irritate staff, but at least they're not thie!ing, deceitful, backstabbing drunkards. @o, the second diner is a cultist" they e$ist. 9bsessed with celebrity chefs and con!inced that >ell's Citchen is a documentary and Citchen 2onfidential is the uni!ersal gospel. )hey try to augment their own e$perience by alternately baiting and pestering the staff, wanting %uicy details about the chef and the antics of the kitchen, then becoming difficult in order to hopefully pro!oke a meltdown in the kitchen, hoping the chef will scream things that libel lawyers up and down the room would lo!e to get stuck into. )hey want a story to tell their friends, not a good time. 'Aou know that new placeD )he chef's mental!' @o, the chef's %ust pissed that one of the tables out there is messing the kitchen about. 2hefs are wise to it. )ype II's other tactic is to wheedle, '#e're really sorry, it's %ust, well, you know, we, ummm, didn't feel...' and peter out, aware that the waiter's still there, waiting for them to acknowledge the food so other tables can see some ser!ice. &loodlust attacks the couple. )hey ask things like '#as it badD /id the chef shout at youD' )o floor staff looking to deli!er hot plates, clear empty ones and make a room full of people happy, this is the e(ui!alent of being the first responder to a car crash and being blocked by the (ueue that forms behind the rubberneckers. )hankfully, there is a )ype III /iner. )he a!erage, polite, initially sober person who doesn't bait staff as sport, lie, steal or belie!e that what goes on in 0E8-s 4merican kitchens and in studio )F kitchens is totally accurate in a midle!el restaurant today. )he type that CGs, chefs, waiting and bar staff are when they go out. @ot that that happens much though - we don't pay them enough.

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