Whining And Dining

There are two sides to every serving story

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Are you, or have you been, a waiter or waitress?

If you would like to share your stories of difficult diners please email them to emma.brophy@chiswickw4.com.

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Great service matters almost more to Michel Roux than great food. He believes waiters and sommeliers are the unsung stars of the restaurant world; their brilliance transforming an ordinary meal into an unforgettable experience.

In his new series - which begins Wednesday 12th January on BBC2 at 8.00pm - Michel embarks on a mission to transform eight young people into front-of-house superstars.

But what are they letting themselves in for? According to one waiter cum food blogger, a whole lot of hassle!

He writes: "Do you consider yourself a polite, sophisticated diner? Of course you do. You say "please" and "thank you”. You know which knife and fork to use first, you can translate ‘al dente’ but if you're one of the millions of people who have never waited on tables there are a few subtle breaches of dining behavior you might (unwittingly) be guilty of ― ones that are causing your waiter / waitress economic and emotional damage.

You're more interested in your Blackberry / Iphone than you are in your dinner. Or your fellow diners, or your waiter? Here's a tip: When you sit at the table with other humans, they might be offended that you find what's on your phone more fascinating than you find them. And your waiter will hate you because you're going to ask him to repeat the litany of specials he just described to everyone else for the second (or third) time because you weren't paying attention. Put the phone down. Better yet, turn it off and put it away. And please take that damned Bluetooth thing out of your ear. Your waiter might not be as technologically savvy as you think. He might mistake it for a hearing aid and yell directly into it.

You're a bad tipper. There are few things that can match the sense of betrayal a good waiter / waitress feels when he or she has been stiffed on a gratuity - especially after her guests have just finished telling them what a marvelous dinner they had and how great they were. The last time we checked landlords and student loan officers do not accept good wishes as legal tender.

If you can afford to eat well, you can afford to tip well. Otherwise get a takeaway. That way, you can check e-mail to your heart's content and not bother about tossing a few coins in a tray.

Are you, or have you been, a waiter/ress? If you would like to share your stories of difficult diners please email them to emma.brophy@chiswickw4.com.

January 12, 2011