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:: Sunday, March 09, 2008 ::

:: Server Stories: The New Guy ::
I haven't blogged much in the last ten days because I've been at Swanky Trendy Restaurant training, working, or studying stuff for work and I'm sure you're curious as to what's going on.

I found their ad on Craigslist looking for a “server fine dining restaurant in South Beach.” The GM calls me a few days later and tells me my interview at will be at 4:30 on Wednesday. When I arrive, there's already a few people there filling out applications and I'm worried that I might again get lost in a sea applicants during those mass interviews.

I fill out the app and get to the last two pages, which is a quiz to determine our food and beverage knowledge. I breeze through the food and liquor but in between I get stuck at the wine section. (No beer quiz? What's up with that?)

They asked me to name wine regions in America (easy enough) and at least three wine regions in France and Italy. Oh... ummm... shit. Since no one was paying any attention to me, I text my wine fanatic friend Joo with my questions, and to her everlasting credit got back to me within five minutes with the answers.

I finish up, and the GM takes me to a table for the interview. He looks over my resume, the application, and asks me about my experience. We chat for a little bit, and then he goes into this spiel about what he expects from me if I'm to work at Swanky Trendy Restaurant. I simply nod my head, maintain eye contact and say stuff like "sure, of course," and "I agree." He then looks over my quiz, nods his head, and finally says, "your food knowledge is good, you definitely know your liquors (and beer! Don't forget beer!) and you seem to know your wines." I try not to crack a smile and simply nod. "You have good experience as well. I'll tell you what. I'm gonna give you a chance. Welcome aboard." Just like that? "Thank you very much!” I vigorously shake his hand. He introduces me to one of the floor managers, who asks me if I'm busy this evening. Umm, no? "Do you have black pants?" Yes? "Your shirt and shoes are fine. Can you go home and change into your black pants and be back within an hour?" I can do that. "Alright then, I'll seen you soon. Welcome to Swanky Trendy Restaurant."

I walk out with a strut and pump my fist a few times like Tiger Woods after sinking a 40' putt. Still, when I got home, I felt more relieved than jubilant.

Training was three days in the kitchen learning the food, which was actually a little disconcerting because I had to learn stuff like "confit" and "aioli" and learn the difference between a relish and chutney. (I always thought relish was just the green stuff you put on hot dogs and chutney was a city in England.)

I got to taste some of their stuff, which I have to admit, was quite good. And it actually helped a little in learning the ingredients for each dish. The last three days of training was on the floor, learning the computer, floorplan, and the procedures unique to Swank. They try to maintain a fine dining atmosphere so I have to be a lot more attentive to details. It's also about three times the size of the last place so I have a lot more ground to cover.

If I'm not training, I'm at Starbucks in the morning studying the menu and looking up stuff like coulis, brioche, and tapenade. I've actually heard a lot of these terms and have an idea of what they are since I watch a lot of Food Network but I still needed to be sure exactly what the hell they were for the test.

The test was on Tuesday, which I passed easy enough (I was wrong about endive being a type of lettuce. You'd think I'd know since I feed my turtle that stuff), easier than the last place, despite having a more complicated menu. I've been on the floor every day since then. Once I passed that test, everyone at the restaurant had to take a wine test (there was an easier version for the new guys) and so I spent my off time studying wines. I had to learn their wines by the glass and I also passed that test yesterday. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I have to take the full test since there are almost two hundred wines available I'm not looking forward to it.

Today was my first day off in ten days and let me tell you, I'm tired. As for the goatee, since there's waiters, food runners, and bussers that have various forms of facial hair (I'm still not sure why they made me cut it in the first place) I've been slowly growing it back. My buddy that works at The Abbey saw me recently and almost had a freak out. "Geez, you look like a kid. If you walked into my bar right now for the first time, I wouldn't serve you."

Last note: thanks to everyone who left comments of encouragement and well wishes here. That meant a lot and I truly appreciate it.

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:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 8:53 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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