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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles: Angry Chef's Ouster

Monday, December 24, 2007

I'm not sure how it went down, but Angry Chef was fired sometime between 10 pm last night and 12 pm today. Junior just called to tell me the news and to inform me that our eight Christmas Eve reservations (and anyone else who wanders in) will be treated to the culinary stylings of Augusto and Felipe, the two sous chefs. If needed, Junior himself will lend a hand in the kitchen.

Last night's dinner service was not good at all. Around 5:30 several large parties with children arrived at the same time. They were all seated, given drinks and bread, and had their orders taken. As will happen, two parties of eight (one of them mine) had their entrees fired at the same time. That's 16 entrees that need to come out at once. The kitchen doesn't even have 16 pans.

Angry Chef lost it. He had been animated up to that point, but this put him over the edge; he came out of the kitchen yelling, looked at me and pointed, screaming "[expletive deleted] you!" Then he demanded to know where the owner was. I produced the owner, who ambled back into the kitchen with his disgruntled employee, and a loud Italian shouting match ensued.

I'd never seen this before. I'd seen Angry Chef yell; I'd seen the owner yell. I'd never seen them yell at each other. The waiters and bussers did our best to keep moving and ignore the catastrophe in the kitchen. In the end, my party of eight had to wait 45 minutes for their dinner, and I had to offer them free desert. Likewise, Pepe's party of eight waited nearly an hour.

Things settled down after that, but at the Ristorante's expense. The owner had to turn people away, since the kitchen was in such a state. So here he is with a dining room only half full, telling customers he can't seat them. Needless to say, he was not happy. In fact, he would say later that he would have done better to not even open last night.

What happened between then and the phone call I just got I don't know. I suppose the details will be filled in, but I won't be asking for them. The long-and-short of it is that the Ristorante is out its chef.

I feel bad for Angry Chef. He's a far more complicated person than I know, surely, and his flamboyance and temper bespeak some self-destructive habits with [obviously] detrimental results as far as his career is concerned. But he's a genuine guy. He loves good food and wine, and he lives and dies by the integrity of his craft. I had grown quite fond of him, actually. In fact, as we readied the dining room last night, enjoying a little pre-dinner chat, he wistfully told me that he loved me and that he would miss me when I left.

How could he have known that, in less than 24 hours, he would be preceding me in departure?

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 11:45 AM


For your sake, I'm glad you get to move on from this place, but I'm sure going to miss the stories... right now I'm only imagining this whole scene, the yelling, Angry Chef leaving... it's better than any movie. You paint a great image, Rocky. Thanks for sharing.
commented by Blogger Jerilyn, 12:21 PM  

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