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Christmas Tarts Never Tasted So Sweet

, , , , , , | Working | December 24, 2020

I’m training as a cook in a fine-dining restaurant. The head chef tells me on my first day to take home any leftovers I want that would otherwise get thrown out anyway; everyone in the kitchen does it, and many servers also pack little lunch bags for themselves every day.

I’m surprised, because any other food service place I worked at before was very strict with leftovers and meals for workers, sometimes even making us pay full price if we ate stuff that was going to be thrown out or could not be sold for some reason.

One day, the chefs miscalculate the savoury tarts they need for a special dinner and we end up with two whole trays left over. After everyone has had their pick, I begin stacking the last tarts — at least fifteen or so — in a to-go container.

Head Chef: “Woah, you really like those, don’t you? Are you going to be eating them for the whole week?”

I’m nervous, because I’m still fairly new at this place and wondering if I misjudged the situation and shouldn’t take more than maybe one or two for myself.

Me: “Actually, I had an idea. I walk past [Train Station that is a well-known hangout/sleeping place for many homeless people] on my way home, and I was gonna hand them out to anyone who wants some. They’re good to eat cold, right?”

Head Chef: “Absolutely. That’s a wonderful idea. Here, let’s pack some sweet tarts, too.”

I’m relieved he’s not actually mad, and many of the homeless people are happy about the free food. A few weeks later, I come into work after a big Christmas party booking the day before, and the head chef waves me over.

Head Chef: “So, we have about twenty leftover Christmas dinners in the walk-in fridge upstairs. I told the night crew to keep them for you for the train station. Make sure to tell me before you leave, so we can heat them up and pack ’em to go, okay?”

I was a bit flabbergasted. True to his word, I found several trays of roast goose, sauce, dumplings, veggies, and red cabbage in the fridge, and he helped me with reheating and packaging them after the dinner rush.

Thanks to the attention of a very conscientious head chef, a whole group of homeless people were treated to a first-class Christmas meal. That was the point at which I realised I was quite lucky to get a trainee position at his restaurant and learn from him.


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