I went to the restaurant opening at Café Maude. I was surprised seeing all of my old work cronies bartending there—it seemed more like a 10-year high school reunion.
If you’ve watched Master Chef on FOX, you’ve seen Joe Bastianich. He’s the slim, shaved-headed judge that makes contestants squirm the most with his quiet, intense demeanor and critical look. If you’ve never watched the show, industry pros know Bastianich as an East Coast entrepreneurial force and wine connoisseur who owns Italian vineyards and shares ownership in 18 acclaimed eateries (among them Babbo, Del Posto, Felidia, The Spotted Pig and the New York Italian market centerpiece Eataly) with notable partners such as Mario Battali, Dave Pasternack, April Bloomfield and, of course, his mother, the chef Lydia Bastianich.
Industry Valentines…or the people we just flat out admire
Last week I was here in the daytime by myself—no managers, no servers. From Noon to 1:30 my sales went from $20 to $800. I was drowning in the meantime. The cooks came out of the kitchen and started bussing tables, and filling waters and sodas. I tried tipping them after the rush and they said, “No that’s our job.” I’ve worked at a lot of places, but our kitchen guys are the nicest. If I make a mistake they just say, It’s OK, Chica.
How do you manage sticky situations with guests?
Have a culture of connection. It all starts in the very beginning—when someone calls in to make a reservation, or when they walk through the restaurant door.
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