Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Back In The Catering Saddle

I'm back in the catering saddle to earn a little extra
holiday cash. I truly love it. It's a lot of damn work
but the people I cater with are hilarious. They are
writers, actors, dancers and models. Everyone has
a story. When we see one another again it's like no
time has passed. We talk about who went on tour
with Chicago and who had what article published
where. If you recognize one another only by face
we say, "Hi! Did you and I work the Gerber bar
mitzvah together?" while the other says, "Oh my
god yes! Where we rode in on elephants! Totally!
How ARE you?!!"

Mostly we pass the time making fun of the guests.
Keep in mind people, if you are at a party and you
are a jerk to the wait staff in any capacity, we may
be smiling at you while we hand you a steamy plate
of spaghetti bolognese but trust me when I tell you
we will make fun of you. Yes you.

Last night's party was for a major furniture design
company. I enjoy my role as a fly on the wall, dressed
all in black and hearing bits of people's conversations.
Mostly I enjoy when people treat me like an idiot at
their holiday party yet they are the ones wearing the
blinking Santa hat.

Last night I arrived and checked in with the captain-
the person (often a guy) in charge of the wait staff for
the night. Ironically, the captain is usually hysterical. He
runs around saying, "Ok people!!!" many times. He is
super stressed because while his title is 'captain' his
boss the catering company owner is there to oversee
the party. Meanwhile, the head chef in the kitchen can
also overule the captain's decisions and often does.
What chef says goes. Our chef and his staff -some
hard core Dominican boys from Queens- are the hardest
workers on the planet. Last week someone attempted
to break into chef's catering truck parked outside a gig
and it took only one right hook from chef's fist to the
intruder's face and he was knocked out cold until the
police arrived.

Last night my assignment slip listed '7th floor buffet'.
Buffet duty usually means running up and down flights
of stairs carrying hot, boiling trays of water and dodging
drunk people that ask you 10,000 times back at the
buffet station what everything is in each chafing dish.
The good news was I was assigned to work the station
with one of my favorite catering pals and we even had
a 'runner'. In catering terms a runner is like having an
intern to do all your dirty work. Our runner was a small,
vacant looking model we nicknamed 'Model Guy' for the
night. His blonde hair was whipped across his eyes and
face as if he had just gotten off the windy slopes of
Telluride.

Overall it was a good night. Currently I am fighting
a nasty stomach flu and had to cancel tonight's gig.
I feel horrible. Horrible with guilt more than flu. Poor
little me. I ate something-prob someone's leftover
pate-that made my tum tum a little sicky sick. Fifty
bucks says I am being made fun of in the kitchen or
even worse will not be called back to cater for a while.

I once saw chef get a nasty cut with a sharp knife while
slicing celery root. We were about to serve 540 guests.
He asked one of the kitchen guys to hand him some silver
duct tape. He wrapped his bleeding finger several times
and what do you know-moved on.

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