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"Waiter Rant: Confessions of a Cynical Waiter" by A. Waiter

Joe Riley

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I've been a fan of the popular (judging by the the voluminous comments over the years) blog called Waiter Rant almost since its inception. It never fails to amuse me, and it is very well written.

One need not have any experience in the restaurant industry to identify with the protagonist/author, but you will identify with him if you have ever worked in the service industry.

I haven't read the book yet, it's only just about to be released, and "Waiter", as he is affectionately known by the commenters on his blog, is doing his first book signing on July 29th at the Borders Books inside the Time-Warner Building in Manhattan. Obviously, he will no longer be anonymous at that point. I wonder how many people will show up there just to see what he looks like and to see if they recognize him from dining in one of the restaurants that he's worked in?

I love the cover of the U.K. version of the book, it sums up SO many feelings of those who are paid to serve others :lol:

Don't be fooled by this cover, however. The waiter's blog isn't merely an ongoing screed of negativity. "Waiter" is intelligent and funny, and seems to have a generally positive and upbeat view of the world, at least when he isn't waiting tables. He fleshes out co-workers and customers and truly humanizes them. He's often very sympathetic with the people in his life who are difficult to deal with, and tries to see their point of view and better understand their situation.

One of my all-time favorite posts of his was actually on his original Blogger site, and it speaks volumes about our dining perceptions:

Now I'll let you in on a little secret. Many executive chefs, like Fluvio, hate to cook. After spending twenty or thirty years slaving under abusive bosses, working sixteen hour days, avoiding sodomization, and baking in 120 degree kitchens working themselves up from dishwasher to master of the kitchen - these guys are fucking traumatized. Have you ever noticed executive chefs' uniforms are always immaculate? Not splattered with tomato sauce? That's because they shout orders all night and never go near a stove.

So who does the cooking? Mostly guys like Ernesto. Hardworking faceless guys from places like Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Mexico. You were expecting a bunch of Italians singing opera flinging pasta? Wrong. You hear mariachi music and guys cursing in Spanish.

But this doesn't jibe with most people's fantasy of how a restaurant kitchen works. They imagine someone like Emeril or Mario Battalia waxing ecstatically about herbs and oils, engaging in something close to foreplay as they lovingly prepare your entrée.

So sorry. It's a Mexican guy earning a paycheck, watching the clock praying for his shift to end as he sweats in front of a blast furnace cooking your food. In every restaurant in this great land of ours, whether it's French, Thai, Chinese, or even Indian, it's Se Habla Espanol.

Yuppies raised on a steady diet of Food Network bullshit want an opera singing food personality to reinforce their Williams Sonoma Catalog ideal of how the world should be. When it runs smack dab against the harsh world of restaurant economics and immigration it creates what my old sociology professor called "dissonance."

After Uber Yuppie and company tuck into their meals I go over and ask how everything is.

"Its ok." they reply.

What a crock. Ernesto cooks the food exactly like the owner does. If I told these idiots an Italian had prepared it they would be smacking their lips, asking to meet the chef, and calling him "Maestro."

But it's only Ernesto the Spic so they don't.

Dissonance? I call it racist bullshit.

Perception can be more important than taste in my business.

So the next time you go out to eat remember our hardworking Hispanic brothers and sisters who make your dining experience possible.

You couldn't do their job. Trust me.

Ok culero?

Chupa mis huevos grandes pendejo!

I always felt that I was an educated restaurant diner, but I always learn new things about how restaurants operate from reading his blog, and I look forward to reading his book.

If "Waiter" has a mission or goal for his book (other than the obvious source of income) I believe that it would be to help educate diners as to how restaurants work in the real world, outside of the P.R. and public image, stripped of any pretense. Basically, as blurb-contributor Anthony Bourdain puts it, it's the front-of-house version of Bourdain's own Kitchen Confidential. Oh, and he does have an ongoing personal crusade to get diners to tip at least 20% because, if nothing else, it's good karma ;)

Speaking of Karma, this book will have you believing in that, too. "Waiter" was blogging about Karma long before NBC's My Name is Earl used it as a plot conceit. You will also hope that you are never on the receiving end of his "Thousand Yard Waiter Stare", something I'm willing to bet that he'll be asked to demonstrate at book signings and publicity appearances.

The audio book may be purchased here, and the book and ebook itself may be pre-ordered here.

I'd love to hear what others have to say about the book once they read it, or just about his blog in general.

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I've been following the blog for a long time and was thrilled when I saw the date of the book signing, since I'll be in NYC then. Then I looked at the time and realized that it's close enough to conflicting with the time of the event I'm in the city for that I probably can't go :lol:.

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