Friday, July 24, 2009

Sippy Cups

I know we've all felt at times as though the rules set by health inspectors are a bit of a burden. They seem oblivious to the reality of restaurant service. Let me state unequivocally that I fully embrace the guidelines set forth by our local health department. In fact, witnessing some of the shadier establishments around town that regularly make the grade I'm convinced that I take it more seriously than the inspectors.

On our last inspection I got an earful about the proper drinking cups that all employees handling food must use. Must have a lid, must have a handle and a straw. That sort of thing. He even gave me a handy little pamphlet just in case I was having trouble picturing such a cup. It may seem trite to some people, but the message was clear to me: Use the mandated style of cup, or incur a violation on your inspection. Not a big deal! In fact, it will only serve to make us cleaner and safer. I made sure to tell everyone how simple yet important the drinking cup issue is as well as explain the proper cup style and what the purpose is. Simple, right? Not so much, it turns out. Every step of the way this issue has been disregarded and resisted by employees hell bent on bucking the system by drinking water from uncovered, no handle drinking vessels; commingling their mouth and hand germs. Come on people! How can such a simple rule be so difficult to just follow if it means making the health inspector happy? This surly municipal employee has the ability to make our restaurant look very unattractive to the public or even close us down. Just do what he or she says for the love of Pete! Furthermore, I would expect restaurant professionals to be dedicated and possibly even passionate about serving clean food. I certainly am. I was dumbfounded to observe that one server just over a bout of violent food poisoning contracted from another local dining establishment was particularly resistant. Another employee argued that even with the incorrect cup, he was using it carefully so it should be okay, as if the health inspector would give him a pass once he gave this nuanced explanation. This post is beginning to sound a little too much like a rant, and that's not my aim, so I'll sum up with this: Being clean is paramount. It's just as important as cooking awesome food and providing top notch service. Take pride in working clean the same way you would any other aspect of your job. I think you will find that it actually enhances your ability to work quickly and efficiently. It certainly does for me. Finally, DO WHAT THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT SAYS! Sure, they're dorky, annoying germophobes, who piss on age old cooking tradition whenever possible. But, they have the authority to fuck your shit up if they want to. Don't test them. You've got enough to worry about...

Craziest thing that happened to me recently:
  • In the middle of an incredibly busy service, the oven door handle ripped right off as I was reaching in to grab something off. Completing service with no oven door handle is challenging.

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