This being my first blog entry, I think it may be appropriate to give a little background on me. I also feel that this info should not be the boilerplate bromide that is published on our website. I mean, what’s the pay off for making the extra effort to go the blog, right?
As you may realize, it takes a special type of person to stay in this business for any length of time. “Special” has too many meanings to list here, but suffice it to say, I ain’t braggin’. I am saying that I have been in the Hospitality industry for the last thirty-one years. It all started because I was out of work and putting myself through college. My older brother Vin got me a job as a host at Houlihan’s Old Place at Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Try telling New Jerseyan’s that they would have to wait for a table,even for a minute. The wait could grow to as much as two hours. Can you say thick skin? Oh yeah, it was very colorful. After several months of hosting (which I really liked), I quickly trained through out the whole operation, ending up working in the kitchen. Back then the “American Bistro” restaurants like Houlihans’ and TGI Fridays were doing a lot of scratch food preparations. They also did (and do) huge volume. When I started cooking I was lame, very lame indeed. I had to be talked through the rush by a kindly manager by the name of Jimmy Knikos. It was so different from working the door, in the kitchen a confident smile carries no weight, it didn’t matter that I had manners or was glib. The only thing of importance was the food. And getting the food out in sych with the other three cooks on the line. Thankfully my brother had gone on to the Culinary Intstitute before my inauspicious start, so I had no witnesses to my daily humiliation.
I have to say, it was love at first sight. Where else can you work with a large group of fun (and usually good looking) people, all bent on making money and having a good time doing it? Not only that, they fed us, we could buy beer and the dating game was fast and furious. I never wanted to go home. Problem was, school faded into the background and my life quickly became work-centered. I dropped out after two years as a communications/theatre major. To make matters worse in my parents minds, Don Pardo, the famous announcer, was going to help me find a job at NBC after graduation. Alas… but as the zen master said, “We’ll see…”
More on the next post. JWS