Who knew the man had so many talents? The Amateur Gourmet (Adam Roberts) opens up about his brief stint as a waiter, in a column on Serious Eats. It started innocently, working as a host at a local restaurant. “My job would be to placate people and give them estimated wait times,” writes Adam. “Which, to be honest, I often made up.”

Growing bored with mere hosting, Adam takes the opportunity to join the waitstaff, learning quickly that his image of restaurant work is far from the reality.

Any romantic notion of friendly banter between waiters and kitchen staff was quickly dispelled when I learned the computer system: the only communication between the front of the house and the back of the house was via computer. You entered a table’s order into the computer, the kitchen produced it, you took it from the expo station (after adding last minute garnishes) and served it to the table.

Since no story—and no restaurant—is complete without a villain or two, there are the appropriately awful managers and chefs.

I’m not a political person, but [the manager] aroused feelings of revolution in me. I wanted to stand on a chair and expose him as a fraud, a charlatan, a blight on the human race. And yet, as much as I resented him, I didn’t hate him as much as I hated the chef. The chef, as far as I was concerned, was the essence of evil.

Of course, there are insider tricks of the trade that perhaps Adam wasn’t aware of. As a commenter to his post writes, “I’ve found the best way to acclimate yourself to a restaurant ecology and endear yourself to the staff is to adopt a chemical dependency.”

Not that we’re advocating such a thing (ahem), but it might have extended Adam’s waiter gig a little bit.

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