Not Just The Food Getting Roasted Tonight

, , , , , | Right | September 20, 2019

The restaurant I work at has an “Indecisive” section of the menu with two items: Chef’s Choice and Chef’s Special. Chef’s Choice is just an excuse for the kitchen to use the most underused dish; if the fried chicken isn’t selling well that day and it looks like we’ll have extra at the end of the day, that’s chef’s choice. 

Chef’s Special is fun. The chef starts a timer, runs out, and asks the customer questions about their food choices for two minutes. He then dashes back and makes what he guesses to be the perfect dish for them. To keep the kitchen running, he only does this once an hour and we have markers for people who want to order it to form a queue. There’s a countdown clock we display for the next time he will do a special. 

Keep in mind, this is a free service. The chef does it because, and his exact words, “Cooking the same things all the time gets boring. I’d have to change the menu every other month or so to keep my interest. Getting to do this three or four times a day really lightens things up,” so he doesn’t charge customers who essentially keep him doing what he loves. It’s a real treat to see him do this. You can really see the passion he has for cooking for others when he does and the customers love it. Sometimes we get customers who are angry about it, but generally because we only allow people to join the queue when the clock hits five minutes. 

The worst one I’ve seen, though, is an entitled woman who comes in with her party at about ten minutes to go. She refuses to let anyone order — not even appetizers — before the timer hits five because she doesn’t want food coming out at different times. She ends up being third in the queue and loudly attacks the two people in front of her because, “It’s my birthday and I deserve to get the special!” This is not uncommon to experience; people give up their spots for anniversaries or birthdays all the time. The other two relent and finally, it’s time for the chef to come and ask questions.

Now, let me start by explaining that this is an ordeal. The chef has a little public kitchen that he set up for it. The wait staff help prep the area before he comes asks questions so that it works seamlessly. Most patrons will stop eating for the three minutes just to watch the questioning and most stay to see what was made. The chef even keeps a score card on the wall with wins/losses for the month for all to see. It’s his own personal game, and everyone loves it. 

It comes time for questions. He starts the same way I’ve always seen him start: “Do you have any dietary restrictions?”

“Um…” 

That’s it. For ten seconds, all she has said is, “Um…” And bless that man’s patience, he waits the ten seconds and then moves on with other questions. Despite his best efforts to move it along, after two minutes all he’s gotten out of her is, “I like sweets.” Now, I’ve seen this man do some amazing things, but I have no idea how he’s going to accomplish this.

The chef comes back out with a bowl full of ice and water, and a cookie. He puts them in front of this woman and says, “Here! Ice soup and a cookie for the dumba** who wasted everyone’s time! Kindly f*** off and get out of my restaurant”

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