Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Would You Like It Cooked?

I ask this question 20-30 times a night.

People are usually very particular about the way that they like their meat cooked. If I am going to go out and pay really good money for a steak, I want it to be cooked the way I like it. (Medium rare - The thought of eating a well done steak just kills my appetite.)

But here's the catch. My idea of medium rare comes from the way that the cooks at my current restaurant prepare our steaks. Each restaurant has a different standard. The temperature names are still the same, the general appearance is still pretty close, but there can be a slight difference of opinion when the final product is brought out.

I once waited on a table of women who all wanted their steaks medium well. Not a problem, I placed the orders, brought drinks and appetizers, and got their table ready for the upcoming meals. Then I brought out the steaks. As always, I asked the customers to cut into their steaks to make sure that each was cooked to their liking. Two of the women said they looked perfect. The third woman complained her steak was undercooked. She had ordered medium well, and there was still pink in her steak.

Here is where the differences start. To the cooks in my restaurant, medium well offers a hot, slightly pink center. If you want no pink at all, you need to order well. Most people associate well done with burned to a crisp. We call that Extra Well. Just a slight difference that makes a BIG difference in the end. (This is why we have the temperature chart - with pictures!! - in the menu.)

The woman started to argue with me about the steak being undercooked. (Did I mention that she was the only one at the table with this problem?!?) I started to explain that our idea of medium well was slightly less done than what she was used to. I apologized repeatedly and told her we could fix this problem in about 5 minutes. "I know how to order a steak! Don't tell me how to order a steak! I wanted medium well!! This is NOT medium well!" She got so loud and belligerent that I sent a manager over to apologize again. He received the same treatment.

We finally got the steak out well done, but we let her think it was medium well. And now she wasn't hungry any more. "You may as well just throw the whole thing out." She just wanted another beer.

Our town has some unusual policies regarding alcohol consumption. One of them is that guests are not allowed to have more than two drinks without eating food. (We allow customers to bend the rule when they order because MOST of our customers actually do eat the food they have ordered.) Since this would be her 5th beer without eating anything, I was not allowed to serve it. Since she had been so rude to me anyway, I have to admit, it felt kind of good to shut her off.

The group left soon after, and both of the other women made a point to come and apologize for their friend.

I hope my friends never have to apologize for any of my behavior!


Ryan said...

What a Jerk!! I dont know what I would have done if I was in that situation! How do you manage to keep your cool? Any who, good job with keeping your composure. I would have grabbed her steak and threw it at her!! haha! Ok maybe not, I wouldn't waste a steak on her!! haha have a good day!!

Waitress4Life said...

This is blog is one of the therapy methods I use to help get over things like this. I feel like I am telling the world what a jerk this person is.

As a waitress, I have my own little "get back" methods. This time I got to shut her off. Perfectly legal, I had every right to do it. But it gave me back a little bit of the power she thought she had.

When her friend's apologized, it made up for almost everything. For your own friends to see how badly you acted, just makes any behavior seem that much more ridiculous.