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Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter Cover

ISBN13: 9780061228148
ISBN10: 0061228141
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Kitchen Confidential meets Sex and the City in this delicious, behind-the-scenes memoir from the first female captain at one of New York City's most prestigious restaurants

While Phoebe Damrosch was figuring out what to do with her life, she supported herself by working as a waiter. Before long she was a captain at the New York City four-star restaurant Per Se, the culinary creation of master chef Thomas Keller.

Service Included is the story of her experiences there: her obsession with food, her love affair with a sommelier, and her observations of the highly competitive and frenetic world of fine dining.

She also provides the following dining tips:

  • Please do not ask your waiter what else he or she does.
  • Please do not steal your waiter's pen.
  • Please do not say you're allergic when you don't like something.
  • Please do not send something back after eating most of it.
  • Please do not make faces or gagging noises when hearing the specials—someone else at the table might like to order one of them.

After reading this book, diners will never sit down at a restaurant table the same way again.

Review:

"'A charming debut by a former waiter at the New York City restaurant Per Se slips in some high-end tricks of the trade. Vermont-bred foodie Damrosch was a few years out of Barnard College when she landed a job at chef Thomas Keller's Per Se. Fast-talking and prone to do her homework, in this case assiduously absorbing Keller's French Laundry Cookbook, Damrosch starts as a backserver, and her training is intensive: attending food seminars, memorizing the acreage of Central Park and learning how not to interrupt dining couples holding hands. In a few months, she's elevated to captain (a rare job for a woman), which entails navigating guests through the elaborate menus and essentially learning the subtleties of putting the guest at ease. Anticipating desire becomes Damrosch's role, as well as making sure New York Times food critic Frank Bruni has the best meal of his life. (Indeed, the place receives four stars.) She begins a romance with Andre the sommelier. Much of the latter half of this youthful, exuberant memoir is overtaken by their burgeoning affair, although the most delightful chapter, 'I Can Hear You,' is full of vignettes of Damrosch's real-life waiting, i.e., the delivery of the Faberg egg as a marriage proposal, and the parade of celebrities she meets along the way.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Provocative and highly entertaining, "Service Included" is the behind-the-scenes memoir from the first female captain at one of New York Citys most prestigious restaurants.

About the Author

Phoebe Damrosch is a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University and holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York City and no longer waits on tables.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

annagrayscott, November 30, 2007 (view all comments by annagrayscott)
Damrosch is a talented write, and there are some interesting things to be learned from this book. She does a good job of bringing us in the world of Per Se, and sets scenes well. I absoutely devoured the first third of this book, but then I just found it tedious. I have waited tables (who hasn't?) and I wanted to really identify with her, but I couldn't. I found the characters mostly flat and despite the name, did not find any juicy insder's gossip. This book has received a lot of hype, and after reading it I felt disappointed.

This should have been a long magazine article in my opinion; I do not feel that it had enough substance for a book.
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monkeyness, September 28, 2007 (view all comments by monkeyness)
Career waiters like me have been, well, waiting, for a tell-all book about living in Thomas Keller's world. Not a night goes by where I don't hear something I shouldn't have or don't see behavior that I wish I could forget. Damrosch had me saying "Amen, sister!" more than once. I guess we waiters are an empathic bunch.
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Gayle L., August 24, 2007 (view all comments by Gayle L.)
I have worked in a plastics factory, sweated as a motel maid, checked groceries in the days when the price of each item had to be plunked in on a cash register, taken psychiatric patients to the bowling alley, and for the past tweny-five years loved working as a therapist and as a school administrator. The one job that I always avoided, realizing my own limitations, was that of a restaurant worker. It wasn't that I didn't want to wait tables...I just knew that I would not be able to smile and be sweet to people who were acting like snobs or idiots. I also knew that my ADD would have me giving pickles to the guy who asked for coffee, a burger to the vegan who mentioned that the very sight of beef makes her hurl. And then there was the money issue...I have hired teachers who confessed that they could make as much money in one four hour shift waiting tables as they could in two full days of teaching!

So, it wasn't that I looked down on waiters. That being said, once I read Phoebe Damrosch's new book, "Service Included", I possessed an entirely new appreciation and respect for the people who wait tables in restaurants.

Ms. Damrosch is a highly educated woman who writes in a manner that educates without condescension, humors without resorting to goofiness, and tells stories that entertain without losing the integrity of the author's experience. This book, though a nonfictional account of the author's years working her way up through the ranks of a 3 Star (Michelin Guide's highest honor) Manhatten restaurant, Per Se, possesses the compelling pull of a great novel.

Not only do the readers get acquainted with fascinating Chef Thomas Keller of "French Laundry" (Napa, CA) fame; we also meet the more fascinating backservers, the sous chefs, the maitre d's, and all the other quirky, hard-working people that made Per Se run like a well-oiled machine (Extra Virgin Olive, of course). This story moves. There is not one moment of bogging down, not one page that does not ring true. The prose is clear and unwavering. This writer knows what she wants to say and she says it...the words "take no prisoners" come to mind.

Watch for more writing from this talented new author. She tells us, in the author's bio, that she no longer works as a waiter. Was that a message to her readers that she will write about her next job? We can only hope so.

I was honored to read an Advanced Reader's copy of this book...it will be released in October...get ready. It will be worth the wait.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061228148
Subtitle:
Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter
Publisher:
William Morrow
Author:
Damrosch, Phoebe
Author:
by Phoebe Damrosch
Subject:
General
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Waitresses
Subject:
United states
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Food service
Subject:
Waitresses -- United States.
Subject:
Damrosch, Phoebe
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20070925
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.916667 in 16 oz

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » Gastronomic Literature
Cooking and Food » Food Writing » General

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 240 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780061228148 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'A charming debut by a former waiter at the New York City restaurant Per Se slips in some high-end tricks of the trade. Vermont-bred foodie Damrosch was a few years out of Barnard College when she landed a job at chef Thomas Keller's Per Se. Fast-talking and prone to do her homework, in this case assiduously absorbing Keller's French Laundry Cookbook, Damrosch starts as a backserver, and her training is intensive: attending food seminars, memorizing the acreage of Central Park and learning how not to interrupt dining couples holding hands. In a few months, she's elevated to captain (a rare job for a woman), which entails navigating guests through the elaborate menus and essentially learning the subtleties of putting the guest at ease. Anticipating desire becomes Damrosch's role, as well as making sure New York Times food critic Frank Bruni has the best meal of his life. (Indeed, the place receives four stars.) She begins a romance with Andre the sommelier. Much of the latter half of this youthful, exuberant memoir is overtaken by their burgeoning affair, although the most delightful chapter, 'I Can Hear You,' is full of vignettes of Damrosch's real-life waiting, i.e., the delivery of the Faberg egg as a marriage proposal, and the parade of celebrities she meets along the way.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Provocative and highly entertaining, "Service Included" is the behind-the-scenes memoir from the first female captain at one of New York Citys most prestigious restaurants.
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