The other day my friend and I were out to lunch. We were enjoying Asian fare and decided to order a couple of things to share. The dishes came out with pleasant aromas and very hot. We asked her to place them in the middle of the table. We needed extra plates to serve ourselves, and the waitress graciously agreed to bring them to our table. And the feast began.
A few moments later the waitress retuned to our table for the obligatory “how is everything” follow up. My friend and I asked her about the food and for our favorite addition, a bowl of red chili garlic sauce. The waitress launched into a small monologue about that sauce and some others. The more she talked about the food and sauces, the more excited she got. So did my friend and I because clearly she was a foodie like us!
After a minute she told us that she was going to bring us several sauces to enhance our lunch choices. She returned to the table while the food was still piping hot with a plate full of little bowls. Each bowl had a different sauce. The waitress impressed us with her knowledge of each sauce, which sauce would accent each dish, the ended with “So have fun and play with your food”.
We did just that! We had a ball talking about the food, as foodies do, and tried each sauce with each protein, vegetable and rice that comprised our selections. We expertly discussed each sauce and how it enhanced what we were mixing it with. We played with our food. And had an amazing lunch.
A great waitstaff is essential, in my opinion, to a good dining experience, and the staff member at our recent lunch was outstanding. My foodie friend and I usually eat together once a week or so, and “play with food” is our new motto when we are out dining. When in restaurants, it is so important to ask the staff about dishes, specials, and even what they like on the menu. The job of the waitstaff does not end when the food comes to the table. That is when is begins!
So the next time you are dining out, take a moment to peruse the menu. Then take another minute to talk to the staff about the food. Also, ask if the chef prepares anything that is not on the menu. Some chefs prepare specialties that are personal and may feature something beautiful that they found at the farmers market that morning. You might be surprised and delighted to discover a new favorite that is an off menu selection. And when the food comes to the table, continue to ask the staff about it (respectfully, of course). You must take some responsibility for enjoying you’re dining experience, and that starts with the staff. But most of all, play with your food!