You’d think that as a culinary student that you wouldn’t have to take any front of the house classes. You’d be wrong there, friend. Right now, I’m trying to study for my Essentials of Dining Room final exam, which is tomorrow morning. How hard could that be? If you’re a detail oriented person, great! You’ll probably do all right. If you’re not, you’re really going to struggle in this class. Luckily, I am fairly detail oriented, so this class hasn’t been too terrible. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy though. Trying to remember all those details when there are two people, waiting to be served, now that’s a different story. I forget everything but in a few minutes, it’ll come back to me.
I had my practical for this class on Thursday and did not go as terribly as I though. I did manage to clear all 12 inch plates (4) and butter plates (4) and all the utensils (12) without dropping anything. If you’re keeping track, I had 8 plates and 12 utensils all cleared at the same time and all on my left arm. I have to pick up the plates with my right hand, so everything ends up in my left. Holy arm workout. I haven’t been lifting because my tendonitis/arthritis/nerve damage/whatever the hell is wrong with me makes it too painful to lift weights. I’ve had a pain in my left shoulder and arm since I started Dining Room. Any one who says being a server isn’t physically demanding, come with me and tell me how your fingers fell after practicing clearing plates repetitively. I didn’t even know my fingers could cramp like that!
Oh there’s more though. During my studies, I have learned that there are many different kinds of service. Plattered, Family, Butler, Plated and Tableside. If you’ve ever had Banana’s Foster made right by your table, then you’ve had tableside service. Appetizers are usually served family style, one big plate in the middle of the table and then you serve yourself. If you’ve had appetizers served to you at a cocktail party by a server, than you’ve experienced butler service. It’s odd that all of these types of service are things I’ve experienced, yet I didn’t know they had a specific name or were a specific style.
We even learned about etiquette and protocol. Women are asked for their orders first, they’re served they’re beverages first and they have their chair pulled out for them. What happened to this in everyday life, not just in a fine dining atmosphere? I was taking off my coat in the hallway and my Chef held my jacket while I took it off. I was shocked. I don’t know that I’ve had anyone do that for my me in my life, or if I have, I can count the number of times on one hand.
Any ways, I’m just procratinating now. Time to go study the different sizes of tablecloths. Yes, there’s an alloted size for each kind of table, booth, deuce and free standing.
Be well & happy eating!