Ruth's Diary


It only recently struck me that I haven't written about my workplace at all. Considering that the last time I worked in a hotel, August 2006, that I spent a number of entries talking about nothing but, it's a disgrace I haven't talked about my workplace here yet.

I'll start off by saying that I work with a huge amount of people, a larger amount of staff than there were even at the Croydon Park Hotel, so I'll talk about key staff members in detail and others a gloss-over. The first general detail is that the place hires 4 Peruvians (most of them chefs) so a conversation or 2 in Spanish while in the kitchen is pretty normal for me. As for my duties, well I started off being trained as a section waitress (meaning that I'm in charge of a number of tables, take their orders, prepare their tables, clear plates, hand them the bill, etc), then I got put on the 'pass'-meaning you're handed food, given the table and seat numbers, then you whisk over there and place the food in front of the correct people (as if by magic, knowing what they wanted). Then I became room service assistant, and tonight will be my 2nd night in charge of room service :D. I do miss being on section duty though, I'll have to ask to be put there again.

OK, so let's start off with Anthony, Restaurant Manager and the guy who interviewed me (and hired me). He's blatantly Australian and also ethnically Italian, so he speaks the language, also very charismatic; so instead of admonishing you for doing a bad job, he simply explains: "You could improve by..." As for the kind of person he is, know when you have a group of friends, there's always that one guy who constantly cracks jokes? Who keeps joking to the point you're wondering if he's lost it? Someone who people either encourage or ignore depending on their mood? That's Anthony. (If you're wondering who ignores him, that'll be the chefs.) Seriously, one time he walks into the kitchen announcing he's not really there, going into a great spiel about how someone's dreaming and he's just in their mind. At other times he walks along just making a silly sound, my response is my Road Runner impression.

I might as well talk about Paolo next, since he's the only other genuine Italian hired there. (Or at least he was until another Paolo was hired as a restaurant supervisor, but I don't know him very well so I won't be talking about that one.) Paolo is head chef, he's from Sicily and the entire menu is his creation. He's so determined for his food to be eaten correctly that he criticised a customer for choosing salsa verde to go with his meat (but then, how could said customer know salsa verde should not be eaten with the red meat? The menu allows you to pick a meat item and then choose any sauce from the sauce list.) and I've also been told that if you ask a chef to get you parmesan cheese to give a customer eating a pasta dish with fish, well he might throw plates at you. Paolo is seriously scary. He's big and burly, almost constantly has a scowl on his face and his heavy accent makes him look and sound like a mafia mobster. And if that isn't caricature enough, he even has a catchphrase: "Don't make me angry!" Whenever he greets anyone ("Hey, how you doing?") he sounds like he'd rather not talk at all. Whenever he makes a joke, he sounds so deadpan you can't tell he's joking.

Now one of the jokes Anthony makes whenever he struts around in his expensive suit is that he doesn't work. That's a half-truth. He conducts the interviews, provides the newbies with all the necessary paperwork (and that's a lot of paper), deals with his superiors in the hotel chain, plays host to the large groups and when it gets really busy, helps out with the food & drink delivery. This is no small feat. But in the weeks I've worked there I've come to understand why he makes the joke: Carolina does the day-to-day stuff. Carolina is Spanish and a lovely woman, probably the boss everyone wants: she's approachable, negotiable, you don't even get the sense she's above you. She even takes care of you by ordering food on your behalf. As to what her duties are? Well, she got the codes necessary to programme us new workers into the sign-in/out system, she also does the rostering and role-assignment of everybody. She also sends everyone's hours to accounting to make sure we all get paid.

The other member of restaurant management is Jess. She's Peruvian, and in her quest to keep standards high she will always give helpful tips and advice. She's also more of a 'boss' than Carolina. Whenever she gives orders, her voice is a bit harder and she always keeps an eye on the time, so whenever it gets quiet she'll send a worker or 2 home. She's also the one in charge on the 2 quietest nights (Sunday and Monday).

Now when talking about the remaining staff in the restaurant I might as well start off with the pair that started the same day as me. I've previously mentioned 'Becca' as the co-worker kind enough to let me sleep in her front room. She's basically spent a year+ travelling and plans to do more once she has enough money together. We've talked a lot about travelling and our differing experiences, although part of me is relieved that I don't see much of her typically because being at her house has allowed me to learn how girly she is, meaning that apart from our love of travelling we have little in common :/.

The other one is Justin. He's the youngest in the restaurant, meaning he's also the least paid. How is he the youngest? Well he turns 18 on the 28th April. Yep, same birthday as Nathan. When I told him my brother shared his birthday, he was delighted to learn there was someone else with the same birthday as him. People are constantly surprised (myself included) when he reveals he's only 17; he looks and acts a good 2 years older. He's also a student at ANU. That statement can apply to most of the casuals in the restaurant, so that alone should give you a good idea of who works there.

The number of full-timers are minimal, mainly because the restaurant only needs workers when it's open. Being a full-timer does appear to mean you get trained in every possible capacity. Like Susie. She's done section, pass, room service, sets up the buffet for the next meal and has lately worked as host. (Ah yes host, the people that take the reservations and seat you at your table. Normally done by managers, but lately they seem to want to do other things.)

Then there's Patrick. He only does room service. I find him easy to talk to and he has no problem doing favours when he's not busy. Although he has a tendency to nearly lose his mind when either: a) he's swamped and stressed or b) someone dares to make a 'late' room service call (after 10pm in other words). I also found out last night that he's a gamer, more specifically a WOW addict. He's played other games too (good) and he's sensible enough to spend time working out. Not that he needs to lose any weight, he's stick-thin.

The last guy (and only chef) I'll talk about is Steve. He's the room service chef, sometimes will be up in banquets but also provides the staff meals. He's also a wizard at soups. I find him a very interesting guy (a former soldier and cop) and it's great talking history with him. I won't share some of the crude jokes he makes.

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