450 Degree Temper

Rule number one of the restaurant world:

Do. Not. Anger. The cooks.

The kitchen can be the legs you stand on, or the semi truck that runs you over.  It’s all about how you play the game.  When you work in the kitchen, you are once removed from the customers.  You don’t take their orders or deliver their food or receive their complaints.  Everything is filtered through the server.  This can make you feel all powerful, especially if the servers are filtering the feedback the way they should be.

Now, I say “should be”.  Yes. You should be filtering.  Do NOT relay exact negative feedback about the food to your buddies at the stove.  They will not be interested in laughing about it during the maddening rush they’re dealing with.  They will probably want to stab you.  Or throw something at you.  And in my experience, cooks are amply equipped with knives and ceramic objects to throw.

At some point in your career as a server, you will undoubtedly anger the cooks.  And you will never know that kind of wrath in any other segment of your life.  Because the Cooks essentially rule your existence.  If they leave the tomatoes on your sandwich that you requested sans tomatoes?  It is YOUR fault.  If they put extra bread with the salad for the Celiac, it is so YOUR fault.

When this happens, there a few ways to counter the wrath.   There is always the good, old-fashioned bribe.  A cookie will frequently do.    When this fails, however, you may be forced to grovel and hide underneath the counter until the cooks forget who you are. If you are forced to resort to the second option, you will unfortunately be subjected to a repeat of the hazing that you went through when you were hired.

The cooks are also the people who make you your lunch when you take a break.  And you know all those stories about what cooks put into the food of annoying customers?  I am inclined to believe they are true.  And they are much more likely to put it into the waitress’ food than anyone else.

So, just because the kitchen messed up your order, or forgot to put the mayo on your sandwich for table number three, or took twenty minutes to make your order because they lost the ticket under the fridge and didn’t feel like retrieving it, doesn’t mean that you can actually say anything about it.  Unless you like the taste of someone else’s spit.  I, for one, am used to it.


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