Life in a Restaurant, Week 32 - 15 Minutes


“She went to the market and left all the breakfast dishes there and said she'd do them later. I know what she wanted. She expected me to do them. Well, I'll fool her. I'll leave them just where they are.”

-Ayn Rand


Humor me for a second—if a restaurant's employees were all organs, you’d have the executive chef as the brain, maybe the line cooks as the lungs, and servers and front of house staff as the muscles that keep everything moving on a day to day basis. The heart? The owner, furiously pumping money throughout the entire body to keep it alive and breathing.

Now the above analogy for the most part is my personal take on things, but if there’s one statement I can say with a degree of certainty, it’s that the dishwasher acts as the kidneys: vitally important to our overall health, but at the same time the organ you abuse time and time and again. So what happens when the kidneys fail? The rest of the body goes into overdrive—line cooks, the executive, and even idling bussers take turns jumping into the dishpit throughout the night, and stay until at least one in the morning juggling order lists and unplugging the drain. While some people live without parts of their kidneys, man is it a shitty existence; a particularly alcohol abusive person could go through many kidneys in their lifetime.

Us? The 32 weeks I’ve been here, we’ve already gone through at least thirteen.

At first I thought he was the new wine bartender. What else would you expect from someone in charcoal gray slacks, an impeccably wrinkle free periwinkle button up shirt, and a matching gray vest with all three buttons fastened? His face was clean shaven, hair fastidiously arranged with a just-right amount of product, and he had a demeanor that would make any mom comfortable to see him on the arm of her daughter.

And then he was given a tour of the dish pit. Despite the voluminous checklist the front of house manager was rattling off, from lugging the fifteen gallon trash cans at the end of the night to scrubbing down each floor mat individually, he never batted an eye.

We all tried to offer him spare shirts or perhaps an extra pair of jeans we could run back home to grab to save him the embarrassment of having his five hundred dollar ensemble covered in an overspray of beef fat, curry powder, shallot scraps, and dirty dish water. He might as well have been a woman who showed up for a game of tackle football wearing a Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress the morning after a November rainstorm. It was quite clear there was some sort of delusion hiding underneath his tanned skin and cobalt-tinted eyes. Every warning was met with a cheery response of, “It’s alright man, I’ll be fine.”

We continued to look at him incredulously, half in bewilderment, half in a cruel sort of smirk we tried hiding. On the inside, we were secretly very anxious to see the state he’d be in at the end of a busy Friday night. I went upstairs to print out updated dessert menus and look at the event calendar.

When I came back down, he was gone.

“Already bailed,” one of the other cooks laughed.

Fifteen minutes. That was the new record.



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