TBT: The Worst Waiter Ever

29 May

In light of training to be a server this weekend, this was a fun read about Edsel Ford Fong, the worst waiter in San Francisco. The amount of abuse the man slung about at Sam Wo’s Chinese restaurant could make a guest’s skin crawl. He seems of a mythical status, a 6′, 200 lbs tower of staunch rules, without a single regard for “rules of table service.” He’d spill half of your soup while handing it to you. Your chopsticks were tossed as an after thought. And don’t even think about ordering fried shrimp.

This also makes me wonder about the more masochistic side of service. I know I’ve sung my fair share of praise for the irascible Kenny Shopsin. I loved being accosted and derided at Chicago’s Weiner Circle. I’m fond of everything about French diner Gaulart et Maliclet, but what I really miss is the anxious and snippy owner, Jean-Marie. The Soup Nazi? He’s one of Seinfeld’s most endearing characters. Why do we romanticize an abrasive front-of-the-house?

Going through food memories for TBT, I thought a little bit about dining as an experience. There’s a strong desire to preserve the eating experience, mostly through photos but also through stories. It’s why I write everything down about a memorable meal. Edsel didn’t give a crap about “the customer always being right,” and it turned Sam Wo’s into a distinct destination, preserved in a wall of Polaroids. People described Sam Wo’s as an “experience,” but not really one where you felt treated like a royal.

I’ve never been kicked out of a restaurant (although I have been ejected from an art museum), but I bet it’d make for a good story. And I do love stories.



One Response to “TBT: The Worst Waiter Ever”

  1. healthracer June 1, 2014 at 2:22 am #

    Haha, these kind of people are smart! Always find a way to be remembered. 🙂

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