A couple years ago now I took a position as a server assistant @ FIG in Charleston, SC. For 3 Months, working at one of the busiest restaurants in the Country, I became obsessed with the idea of going above and beyond. If this were the top, at least in the South, why not bring water faster than anyone, polish a glass better than anyone ever had, describe a dish in less than 5 seconds dropping it off & have them salivating, panties wet. Though I loved the idea of proving myself somehow, I suddenly felt compelled to give my 2 weeks for two reasons, Politics, and the day a gentleman my own age, handed me 5 dollars for how efficient I was at keeping his water-glass full, after he’d been waiting in line outside for over an hour.
In that moment, I missed the Kitchen. A lifestyle that requires 12 hours of work for 8 hours of pay to do correctly. Hell I was making fantastic money polishing glassware while watching Jake and Rachel cook fish perfectly behind the line. Polishing Silver while watching a Chef, who a week before had won a James Beard Award, washing dishes to keep the service solid. Asking them if they were truly willing to make themselves look dickish, for putting out something they knew wasn’t perfect.
There are other kitchens, where the Chef gets all the praise. Interviews, access, swag, you name it. Some don’t share, some do, but nevertheless a small consideration will mean more to the person who spent their entire afternoon making sure your evening was spectacular, than it will to someone working exclusively for tips.
Something as small as a 12 pack of High Life, Gatorade Mix, or a 5 Dollar bill, means the world to cooks whom rarely receive the praise they deserve, both in print and financially. Though it is about knowledge and passion, in my experience, people who throw a kind gesture at the kitchen are generally remembered, and for the most part given special consideration in future visits.
You’re not required to feel any empathy for a Chef, it’s the life they choose, and this message is not meant to make you feel forced to ever spend more money than necessary while dining out, but that doesn’t mean it’s not classy as fuck.