Believe me when I tell you that running a restaurant is no walk in the park. Since we’ve returned from our holiday, I’ve been rudely reminded that no matter how great your product is, and no matter how many wonderful customers may be lining up at the door… you need staff to make it all happen. Not just anyone; you need reliable, dedicated, special people.
Restaurant people are a breed apart. They start work early, finish late and then they go out! They can find a drink at any time, day or night, anywhere. They know all the night bus routes and they can operate on very little sleep.
They’re a mixed bunch: Phd students, world travellers, fully-fledged pilots, serious party people. All walks of life and nationalities are represented, the common denominator being that you have to love it; toleration just won’t do.
There are the chefs who sweat through the shifts, poaching, grilling, sautéing, creating and occasionally cursing. Here I must mention my head chef, Jose da Silva. 22 years of dedicated service and in all that time he has remained calm, organised and never lost his temper. Jose cooks with passion, flair and creativity. He is the lynchpin of ffiona’s, as far as chefs go he’s a one off and believe me I know how lucky I am to work with him.
Then, the waiters and waitresses, who smile their welcome, and run the service seemingly seamlessly. The general rule being, the deeper you’re in the shit, the more you smile!
However king of hill, top of the heap, is without doubt the kitchen porter. Good KPs are worth their weight in gold; if you have a great KP you have a happy chef, the KP is the oil in the engine – everything runs smoothly and everyone’s happy. Can you imagine Sunday brunch for 130 people and no one to wash up? I tell you it’s the stuff of nightmares.
It’s theatre, it’s magic, it can be hell on earth…but it gets under your skin and into your blood and we can’t do without it!