Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge

My actual experience in the food service industry is minimal: a one-night catering stand (a bat mitzvah; oy) and a summer's worth of prep and cleanup at a local family restaurant/Irish pub. It was enough to confirm my belief that this line of work was not really for me, and that the people who did choose to make a career out of it deserved my understanding and respect.

Of course, that belief was reinforced by the Chef Mother, who not only worked in kitchens but also spent over twenty years training future chefs, wait staff, and restaurant managers. She knew what was required to present a good meal to a customer, and she also knew the perils of ensuring that the customer had the best possible dining experience. She had zero tolerance for clueless wait staff, dirty utensils, poorly cooked meals (including improperly heated buffets), or any of those other pitfalls, and if the service or the food was distinctly below par, she had no hesitation in informing the manager.

(The Chef Mother also had other, more creative ways to express her displeasure, such as mustard and ketchup packets surreptitiously squirted on the ceiling. I didn't say she was perfect. But the restaurant had to be pretty bad for her to go to such lengths.)

Much to the relief of an easily embarrassed daughter (yeah, that would be me), the Chef Mother also had no hesitation in informing a restaurant manager when a meal or the service was exceptionally good. As someone who worked with budding cooks herself, she knew that it could really make a manager's day to hear his or her staff complimented by a very satisfied customer. The chances were also pretty good that that praise would filter down to the staff in question, thus giving everyone that warm glow of a job well done.

I've always liked that way of sharing positive feedback, whether in the food service industry or in other walks of life. So many times we work and work and work and never really know if we're making a difference, and a little word of praise can go a long way.

So when I made my "special" fudgy mint brownies this week, I knew a few needed to go somewhere in particular. After running my errands downtown yesterday afternoon, I stopped by my favorite coffee house and talked with the owner, letting her know how much I appreciated My Favorite Barista and one of his cohorts, and asking her to pass the brownies on to them. A big smile lit her face as she thanked me, and I suspect those two young men are going to get a little extra appreciation from her. It's all good.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead... make someone's day.

2 Comments:

At 3/17/2005 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would this be Seattles you are referring to here? Or anyhow coffee shop that has slipped past me?

Just curious.

 
At 3/22/2005 5:55 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

Yes, yes it would. Don't know if the owner is training new folks exceptionally well or if these two guys are just brilliant (or both!), but both of them are high school (or just past) and run rings around the mid-twenties crew in terms of service. They totally rock.

 

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