sunday style: waiters. life on the front line

It may be too early to announce the death of fine dining. There will always be a certain type of patron who finds happiness in a waiter ferreting around their lap with a serviette. But otherwise, there’s been a general movement towards more casual eating, where food is more important than the starch in the tablecloth and the value of the art on the walls.

The best thing about this is that pretentious waiters are a dying breed, and now for the most part we’re being greeted at the door by genuinely smashing beings who keep us relaxed, don’t touch the rim of our water glasses, and don’t interrupt our best anecdotes. Waiters are getting better. They’re transforming our nights out and making us feel special even if the first date doesn’t quite.

Which is why our lopsided obsession with chefs is growing tedious. Here we are, turning them into celebrities and labeling them sex gods crossed with rock stars. The facts elude us. If the chef is only average but the service is brilliant, we can still have a great night out. We may even return. But no matter what magic the chef is working in the kitchen, if the waiter is a robot who ejects the specials with less charisma than a clam, we’re not coming back.

This article was published inSunday Style in my weekly Fine Foodie column. Read the rest of the story here.

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