Waiter Rant was the first selection for the Food for Thought book club. This book club is for food lovers who also love to read. Perfect for me!
Steve Dublanica (a.k.a. The Waiter), the author of Waiter Rant, went to seminary school with dreams of becoming a priest, but ended up moving from dead end job to dead end job until he finally landed in a job as a waiter at a New York restaurant. In 2004 Dublanica started an anonymous blog called WaiterRant.net where he (you guessed it!) ranted about his experiences as a waiter. I’ve often been tempted to rant about work on the internet, but have always erred on the side of caution. Maybe I am just too much of a chickensh*t and don’t want to risk getting discovered and potentially fired.
I have never worked as a waiter but most of my friends have in the past and I have several who still do. I’ve heard plenty of their rants over the years..everything from the customers who refuse to tip because it was a dinner they won in a contest, to patrons who interpret “formal attire” as pink sweatpants and a matching t-shirt. I enjoy hearing these stories. I have always had a bit of a gossip hound inside of me, wanting to know the inside scoop and dirty little secrets. I read and loved Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential a few years ago and loved all of the juicy tidbits of info he relayed. So, for this reason, I was excited when Kate & Crew @ the Food for Thought book club selected Waiter Rant as our initial read. Trying to find this book in the local bookstore made me want to start a BookstoreRant blog…perhaps later I will get around to starting that up. 😉
The Waiter regales us with tales of his experiences working at “The Bistro”, a fine dining establishment in New York City. The Waiter changed the names of the restaurant and his co-workers in order to be able to truthfully related the stories without damaging anyone’s livelihood. There was some cynicism as the subtitle promises, but it wasn’t nearly as cynical as Kitchen Confidential. You see that beneath it all, The Waiter has a heart and wants to do a good job serving his customers.
We’ve all witnessed bad/rude waiters and difficult restaurant patrons. Hopefully, you are neither yourself. The Waiter prides himself on not being the food-spitting variety of server. He spends a good deal of time talking about demanding customers or those who are too inebriated to behave properly. The waiter also spends a good deal of time talking about how much he doesn’t really want to work as a waiter. This got a bit annoying…if you are not happy with your situation try to do something to change it!
I was hoping that the book would have a bit more “oomph” with more snark about fellow restaurant staff and customers. It seems like there is a good deal of that on his blog. I like my share of snark. Does that make me a bad person? Waiter Rant was a fun read but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Kitchen Confidential or Heat, which also gave behind-the-scene looks at the restaurant business.
Tonight, partially inspired by the book (where The Waiter describes a scene where the chef cooks up a meal of tacos for the restaurant staff) I will be making shrimp soft tacos… post to follow, so keep your eye out for it.
Please stop by the blog roll for Food for Thought to check out what other folks thought of Waiter Rant. You can also sign up there to participate for our next book, which will be selected soon!