Restaurant Tales: When Sweat Deserves Respect

I hope you all had a great 4th of July full of hot dogs, beer, and any form of water keeping you cool. Because this my friends is a serious mother f’n heat wave…

Blueberry Water Ice

I used to wait tables at Taquet, a French restaurant in Wayne, PA that had a fantastic porch for dining. Fantastic for the guests who sipped their icy beverages and ate their meals. Not so fantastic for the wait staff in the middle of July and August. Nothing exudes “appetizing” like a dripping, sweaty waiter describing the pan seared soft shell crab appetizer…right?

But as much as I complain(ed) I’ll never forget the day I quite simply got put in my place. Let’s just say it’s no secret there is and most likely always will be tension between the “front of the house” and the kitchen staff. Somehow the dysfunctional restaurant workplace makes for a high percentage of passion manifested in two distinct ways: screaming and screwing. There is a reason why so many people write best sellers on the restaurant world (see: Anthony Bourdain).

Luckily for me, I always had a great relationship with the chefs at Taquet replacing that passion (both ways) with some great friendships. It’s all about respect. So one day when I came in the back to bitch about one of our many pain in the ass lunch customers and the heat that had forced me to change mid service, I was given a quick lesson in that respect I just mentioned.

Standing in front of the stoves, flat tops, and grill for one minute was all I needed to change my tude. It may have been hot on the patio, but it definitely wasn’t 125 degrees like it was in the kitchen. And trust me, dehydration isn’t a choice under those conditions. But sure enough the customers still got their food, perfectly cooked and plated, and I’d be damned if I let my sweat and frustration ruin the hard work hidden away in the kitchen.

So why the story? Just a friendly shout out to all the chefs out there who bust their butts everyday in some pretty tough conditions. And since I’ve all but given up on using my stove while the mercury hits the 90s, a thank you seems in order. But luckily fresh blueberry water ice doesn’t require cooking. This is my new favorite dessert taking fresh fruit, a little sorbet, and some ice blended up making a knock out “water ice”.

Stay cool people!


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