'served' on Serious Eats

Grocery Girl: Opening a Grocery Store

This is my first grocery store opening, and I'm most awed by the scale. Even the larger restaurants where I've worked have been like families. Everyone knows each other and more than enough of each other's business. At my restaurant openings, the VIPs were friends of the owners, neighbors, perhaps a big deal chef around town. Here we're talking Mayor Bloomberg. It's a whole 'nother ballgame. More

Served: Is Cheese Good for You?

People are afraid of cheese. It's usually older customers who ask about low calorie, low fat, or low sodium cheese. My coworker is from Italy, and no amount of fat free cheddar-buying ladies can help him wrap his head around this "light" cheese phenomenon. "It doesn't make any sense. Cheese is fat," he ponders. "Fat free cheese is like meat-free beef!" More

Served: A Day at the Grocery Store

The routine is as follows: pack and process cheese, help customers decipher between Sbrinz and Tomme du Jura, find out for a distressed mom where we have sauerkraut ("but not in bags!!"), weigh out precisely 1.2 pounds of pot cheese for an ancient lady with a big smile, field calls from cheese wholesalers, nibble on caramelly Piave, dole out samples of Etorki, joke with guys at the deli counter next door. More

Served: Hello Groceries and Cheesemongering!

The cheese manager threw me a white chef's jacket and a baseball cap emblazoned with the store's logo, and I got to work. I wrapped up buttons of ash-coated chevre in slick bundles of plastic, labeled and dated them, stacked them symmetrically on the shelves. I scooped up feta and feta brine and weighed out the packages. I built beautiful sculptures of goat gouda, and comte, and sheep's milk yogurt. More

Served: Leaving Restaurants for Groceries

After many interviews, phone calls, rescheduled interviews, rescheduled phone calls, and days nervously waiting, I accepted an offer with this great New York grocery store that I love. I'm excited now, thinking about it. Goosebump excited! My job title? I don't have one yet! I'm going to learn the business by spending time in all the departments. I've never worked in the grocery biz, and there are a dizzying amount of things to understand: buying, butchering, pricing, catering, staffing, stocking, receiving, and much, much more. More

Served: The Dos and Don'ts of Serving

Being a great server is no walk in the park. Anyone who's spent time taking orders and whisking trays to the hungry masses knows waiting tables well is a challenging, sometimes formidable, feat. I've been dining out frequently recently, and as always, paying a lot of attention to the service, or lack thereof. Here are my conclusions as to what stellar service entails, and how to achieve it. More

Served: How to be a Stellar Server

I've put in time as a server, and time working with servers, training servers, and managing servers. Whenever I get the chance, I love to dine out and get served a little myself. Being a great server is no walk in the park. Anyone who's spent time taking orders and whisking trays to the hungry masses knows waiting tables well is a challenging, sometimes formidable, feat. I've been dining out frequently recently, and as always, paying a lot of attention to the service, or lack thereof. Here are my conclusions as to what stellar service entails, and how to achieve it.... More

Served: Learning to Feed Myself Better

I'm sure there's some perfect formula for conscious indulgence that leaves ones pleasantly, not overly, full. To savor the cherry-brined duck breast because it's unfathomably good, and not feel guilty about it. To have a bite of the chocolate cake then put the fork down. I've read plenty about it. For those not inflicted with eating issues, fears, phobias, and hangups, this comes naturally. But for me, putting these things into practice is a daunting challenge. More

Served: A Few Ways to be a Bad Restaurant Customer

It surprises me constantly how wonderful our guests can be. To serve people great food and create a memorable night: that is what my job is all about. When in turn people are warm, appreciative, and perhaps even fascinating, that makes my night a good one. But terrible customers have a terrible power to turn these great nights into difficult ones. I hope that someday soon, I'll develop a thicker skin. More

Served: Regulars: Young, Old, Wonderful, And Terrible

Mrs. P was one of our first regulars, back when we were a casual Argentinian/Italian spot. Her feedback was chronicled in impressively long emails to the owner, which were forwarded to me. Over time, our staff learned she expected bread on her table upon arrival (we usually wait until dinner is ordered), and she liked her guests' cosmos served before her own. More

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