I had recently taken on a part time position at a local ethnic restaurant, he is the accounting of my last day.
The only background is that a friend of mine works there and makes incredibly good money.
The chef (he will be known as “Chef” since he’s of the ilk that demands to be called the title) is well known and with all fairness to him, put out a good product.
First off, any chef that I have known that demands to be called that is a straight asshole, and this guy didn’t prove to be the exception.
He is very difficult to work with and demands high respect, well I demand that also.
He, however is not able to return any respect for his employees.
The last week working there had Chef constantly knit picking on issues that had nothing to do with service and everything to do with his ego and his need to control.
In other words he made the corporate type managers that I have run into look like angels.
I mean I have run into general incompetence, ineptness, stupidity and criminal malfeasance in my time, but never the direct rudeness of this individual.
So here is my last day on the job…
We had finished opening and with one table in the restaurant I was doing further side work with Mary, the manager.
We were setting up the to-go server station when fire trucks and an ambulance drove by blaring their sirens.
“Maybe your house is on fire,” she said, smiling.
“Don’t joke about that, some kids playing with matches lit one of my apartment buildings on fire where I live.” I said.
Just then Chef rounds the corner.
“This not necessary, I no pay you for this!” He said in broken English.
“I'm sorry, I don’t understand you.” I said.
“All this talking, we have complaints.” Chef replied.
“From who? There’s no one here.” I said.
“Don’t talk back, just say yes.” He said.
With that he was back in the kitchen.
Five minutes later…
I hadn’t worked lunch yet so I was pouring over the menu to catch the differences between that and dinner, right then Chef rounded the corner.
Gesturing wildly he said, “I don’t pay you for this” and then sputtered off in intelligible English.
“I don’t understand you, I’m sorry,” I said as I struggled with what he had said.
“I don’t pay you to stand around, this is my time, not yours.” He replied.
I explained that I was studying the menu and he asked why I didn’t have one at home.
“I don’t know why you don’t learn,” Chef said as he thrust a take out menu in my hand.
“I have one of these at home, I’m just trying to learn.” I replied.
“Just say yes,” He said.
Yes to what??
About an hour after that I was approached by Chef while I was questioning a coworker about a piece of etiquette
“This is the second time you’re talking back here, this is not necessary.
This is the second time I’ve told you about this, the next time….” (Chef makes cutting neck gesture)
Are you fucking kidding me? I guess I’m not allowed to speak, so much for getting to know my coworkers.
“Joe, come here!” Chef shouted over the bar.
Chef then pointed to a plate of sushi, “You eat?”
It was almost a command.
Having lunch plans later with a friend I declined.
“No, you pay for it, you can try,” Chef said.
“No, I don’t pay for it, I’m not hungry right now,” I replied.
“You have to pay for mistakes, this is a mistake, you pay for all mistakes!” He said.
“No, I don’t pay for mistakes, I didn’t make this mistake they have their food,” I said.
“You rang it in, you have to pay for it.” He replied.
“This is my restaurant, you pay for mistakes when you make them.
“You can‘t make me do that, I don’t have to pay for anything and I won’t!” I snarled.
Just then the manager arrived and Chef pointed at the dish, “make sure he pays for that.”
Mary kind of shook her head at me.
I reiterated, “I did not ring this in, Mary just told me it was extra and a mistake.”
“You just say YES when I talk, I don’t need to hear all this,” with that Chef walked away shaking his head.
Mary pulled me aside and told me, “Don’t worry about that, I comped it.”
“I don’t like being talked to like this,” I said.
“He’s just very particular, you have to watch out for mistakes.” She said.
All day long I’ve been making mistakes in his eyes or was being lazy.
It’s a mistake to be pleasant with my coworkers.
It’s a mistake to study the menu.
It’s a mistake to speak to a coworker about a service issue.
It’s a mistake to ask why only half my order came up.
I think the real mistake was a Chef not having any idea what service is or how to manage a staff.
The real mistake was me taking this job.
I hung my apron up and walked out, a mistake only remains a mistake if you don’t take steps to fix it.
I was inches from the door when the chef called me back.
“You come here,” he said, once again gesturing wildly.
“It is rude not to thank me, you no leave and say nothing!” He said.
Every time I had greeted him or given him a farewell he had ignored me.
He demands that we call him chef and thank him every night for the privilege of working for him, yet he is rude in return.
What kind of respect for that? Is this how you make employees feel welcome???
Only a gross hypocrite would expect such politeness and offer none.
I’m officially done with the restaurant business for the moment. I’m a college senior who will graduate with honors, I am in my late twenties and have over a decade of experience in the industry at some of the best restaurants my city has to offer….
And I get treated like a five year old by this clearly deluded chef who thinks that employees should be subjected to this type of behavior, as if we're idiots or his dogs.
Maybe I should just concentrate on my studies for the time being, that at least is important, unlike waiting tables.