Welp, it’s been a while. In fact, why don’t we start from the beginning?
I was born in 1993, just after midnight in California…
I kid, I kid. Let’s only go back to a little bit post-college graduation.
2015 started out in Italy, which was an absolute life-changing experience. The food, the people, getting to explore different countries on the weekends, taking trains everywhere, making friends from all over the world…just incredible.
However, I happened to use the rest of my graduation money (and then some) in Italy, so when I came back I needed a job. And fast.
So, after perusing the local Craigslist ads and finding that the only public relations/marketing jobs were either nonexistent or sounded vaguely prostitutional (ohhh, Medford Craigslist), I decided that maybe I should get a part-time job to tide me over.
I found a listing for a small fine-dining restaurant in Ashland, a town about 20 minutes away, with great reviews and a pricey menu. Go big or go home, I figured, and drove to Ashland that same day to apply. Seeing as how I didn’t have any restaurant experience, it was kind of a fluke that they hired me on the spot, but I was happy that I was going to have a reliable source of income for the next month before I found a PR internship.
As it turns out, working in a restaurant is hard. I started as a backwaiter, which meant I did basically everything except actually talk to the customers. I actually got in trouble for being too friendly the first week I worked there, which is very Kelsey-like of me.
However, I quickly realized that was the least of my concerns. Each table had a sixteen-part checklist to ensure a smooth service: filling water, delivering the amuse bouche, clearing first courses, resetting silverware between each course, coffee service, and any other miscellaneous need a person might want during their three to four course meal were all my responsibility.
And of course, that was in addition to learning the little details about fahh-ncy restaurants that aren’t super intuitive, like which fork was a dessert fork and how to properly hold a water glass while you refill it.
Every day was a crazy three hour dinner rush in which everything had to follow a proper order and everything had to happen smoothly, and happen fast. Table S1 needs to be cleared, but this server just asked me to give dessert menus to their table, and I’m waiting for the coffee to brew for another table, and I need to check the patio, and three different tables need water…and then all of a sudden it would be over, and I would leave with my eyes wide open, going what just happened.
And then one day, a few weeks in, it clicked.
I knew the table numbers and where everything was in the restaurant. I knew where the soup spoon went on the table, and which fork was a dessert fork. But more importantly, I was getting to the point where I knew the dinner sequence so well, I could anticipate the needs of both the customers and the servers and do it before either of them asked. Which, as someone who was somewhat brushed off in the beginning for not having any restaurant experience, was extremely gratifying.
Yep, pretty soon I was living for the Molotov adrenalin cocktail that was dinner service, and absolutely loving it. And, I mean…I was really damn good at it.
But, oh yeah. This was supposed to be my interim job. Being a small restaurant–like, fifteen people on the schedule between the kitchen and the front of the house–though, I figured it would be extremely detrimental to them to leave in the middle of their busy season. I put off the job search until the fall.
Then the fall came and I realized that I. loved. this. job. It was such a small restaurant that everyone that worked there had become like family. One big dysfunctional family that served dinner to almost a hundred people every night.
So I decided that loving my job wasn’t a bad thing, even if (on paper) I was overqualified for it, and asked for a pay raise and a promotion…which meant at least another six months there.
They were both approved (along with a lot of “I hoped you were going to stay!” which is always a good feeling), and so I settled in for the winter.
to be continued…