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A Day in the Life of a Restaurant pt 1

A restaurant is usually perceived as a place expected to have the right ambience and atmosphere to host a perfect meal, be it a family dinner, a corporate business meal or a relaxing time spent out with colleagues. Thus what you as a guest get to see is an elaborate set up adorned with attentive robotic waiters and stewards trained to please your every whim and fancy, fill up your glass, serve you the remaining food on the table and in the end of course all for a tip. It’s all in the system of a fully fledged bustling restaurant. 

What you don’t usually realize as a customer is this same perception from the eyes of a worker. I manage a homely Chinese and south east Asian restaurant called Waldorf in the city of Kolkata in India. With the correct observation one would ultimately reach a deduction that a restaurant can be a very amusing place to work. For us, customers are a breed of different pedigrees. Let’s give a few examples.

You get the docile subdued kind who shiver at the thought of approaching a waiter for even a glass of water (c’mon dopey your paying for it), then there is the Mr. know it all or as we call them in India ( the sab jante wala). Mr. Confucius reincarnated when ordering tries to impress me with his knowledge of Chinese food by insisting on using the Chinese pronunciation of the items listed in the menu. (Hey c’mon we are on a schedule here Charlie boy, stop trying to twist your tongue over a kway tiew shanghai,  its bloody mentioned there ‘bon bon chicken noodles’ in English, or a chow faan when you can say fried rice). At one time I had this 20 some odd gal argue with me for ten whole minutes that chow faan was actually noodles, bloody  hell I’m not a pure blood chink but I definitely know a little  Chinese to know you’re talking crap,  lady stick to English pleeeease,.

Then there is the classic family patriarch the Bengali gentleman over 60. Ohhhh how we love these guys, how we love to strangle their necks, how their family would love to strangle their necks. He will offer every member of the family a menu and ask the first question damning their dinner from the start. KI KHABE? (WHAT DO YOUR’ LL WANT TO EAT)?  Rice or Chinese? … c’mon what does that mean? According to you Mr. Bong rice means Indian food right? Is that what your question is based on?  Ok let’s go further…. Again …KI KHABE BOLO KICHU BOLCCHE NA KENO (say what do you all want to eat, whay aren’t you all saying anything)’.Now if one person dares open his mouth to order let’s say ‘DUCK’ then old man here replies ‘KIIII? (WHAAAT)? NA NA (No No) DUCK FUCK KHABE NA…. (don’t eat Duck fuck and all)….

Now the most embarrassing moment for one of our old timer stewards Francis,  God rest his soul was when one nice lovely lady asked  him…..How Is Your PORK??? Poor Francis is dumbfounded with a stupid smirk on his face and doesn’t know what to do,  Madam, you really want to know how the guy pokes??? C’mon can’t you ask in a less crude way pork meat for instance.

Then we have the ever warring couples, ..oh how we love spectator sport in our restaurant. Once we actually had this middle aged couple with two kids come in for Sunday dinner. The guy with a pot bellied paunch and bald head insisted on ignoring his wife while ordering.  All through the waiting period he kept shrugging her off each time  she tried to attracting  his attention for ordering something she wanted. Ultimately madam gets up fuming,,,she takes hold of the spoon and BANG….  On BALDYS HEAD. Now that was something.

So this is what I mean when I say that a restaurant is a circus, I can  go on and on amusing you  Meanwhile I would just love it if you shared your restaurant experiences and your experiments with food. As Confucius used to say…’it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness’’’ unfortunately he never lived in Kolkata…LOADSHEDDING??? REMEMBER WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT IN SUMMER THEN….$%^#$%%&^&&^…… TAKE CARE ALL.

Sometime in 2001