Thursday, 15 May 2008

A Special Night Indeed.

Tonight was special.

We have not one, but TWO Italian Chefs visiting us.
Italian Chef No 1 - Visited us at about 8.00pm. Can't tell more. Story censured by Boss.

Italian Chef No 2 (ICN2)- Came in alone, slightly after 10pm, just before our last order. (This was his 2nd visit). I went up to him - greeted him warmly by his name. He was shocked.
"Hi Chef ____. Glad to see you again." I said.
"You the Manager?" he asked.

How can I not remember him?'s all about his first visit.
  • He is a handsome young man.
  • He is dashing.
  • He has a charming smile. (He kept smiling the moment he stepped in. I even thought he was one of my regular French diner which I seriously must have forgotten.)
  • He is extremely friendly. (He spoke to all my service colleagues, me included.)
  • He gave his feedback on our Feedback Form using a Chinese lady's name. (Hmm... maybe he felt it's more polite to sign off in his S'porean Chinese dining partner's name.)
  • He gave Ben his Business Card.
"Mdm, have you heard of this restaurant?" Ben asked. "He is impressed with my service." he added. I smiled. I need not say more on this blog.

How can I not know of this restaurant?!
Wow. It is a big Italian restaurant group in town.

Wow. We had an Italian Chef de Cuisine from there dining at our restaurant. Wow....we had a hoo-ha over THE business card.

How can I not know him?
Just enter the restaurant's website, and ho and behold, his handsome face plus his CV is all there! He is the Resident Chef.

This evening.....a snap-shot of our conversation
Me: Ordered your usual pizza? Rucola Parma Ham Pizza?
ICN2: No. It's Caprese Salad & Margherita Pizza today.

Caprese - Photo by Samuel Leong
Me: It's your off day?
ICN2: I no working.
Me:'s your off day.
ICN2: No. I stop working.
Me: Har?
ICN2: Me going China.
Me: Congrats! China is a big and exciting place. The Group is sending you there?
ICN2: Another Group. I'll have xx staff in the China kitchen - big restaurant. The (S'pore) Group currently has xx staff. What about you?
Me: Me? There. (Pointing to my small kitchen which is visible from the dining hall.) Just a small restaurant. Very small number of staff - 1 handful.
ICN2: Foreigners?
Me: Only one - Trainee.
ICN2: The rest?
Me: Singaporeans ; )
I was shivering while talking to ICN2. It's not because I was fearful of him, but I was extremely cold with the air-con blasting at me while sitting with him. Looking rather silly shivering away, I excused myself, so that he can enjoyed his starter and the rest of his meal. (If you've seen me, you will understand why I shiver easily. Not much fat on me to burn la ; )
I was secretly hoping to take a photo with him. Since he told me that he is leaving for China soon, I thought having a photo showing him at the restaurant would be great. But alas, while he enjoyed his dinner and chatting with my 'cute' Mechelle almost throughout the night, he chose not leave his name on our Feedback Form. I, therefore, will respect his wish to stay anonymous and refrain from having to ask for his autograph and photo to be taken (err...I sound like a school gal hor?).
As he left, we wished each other well. At the same time, I can't help but wish I could understand a little Italian. It would be fun if I can understand his teleconversation at the restaurant. I am sure I heard the word "Manager" in Italian a couple of times. Err...was he talking about me? Err..maybe he was just telling a friend that the Manager give him a complimentary Tiramisu? Err...then again...maybe not.... Only if I can understand Italian......
Ristorante De Parma is just a small & simple family-run restaurant; situated in an ulu place & corner, far away from town. Yes, we do not have Italian Chefs - simply because we couldn't afford one. At the same time, we believe S'pore do have very good but unknown local chefs too. (In this industry, it is an open secret that many "unknown" local chefs are so used to standing in the shadow of their "Foreign Talent Colleagues" that many, has unfortunately, grown to be media & diners shy.)
We do not have big A&P budgets like most of restaurant chains and groups. Being small & local, we do not even have much of a story angle for the main media to talk about us. The Bosses and us are just simple people; who enjoy good & simple food, served with pride & integrity ; )
p.s. Actually, it is very common for chefs & restaurantuers to go dining like everyone else. It is good & nourishing for the tired soul. If it is for business, we term it Market Research. It is good & nourishing for the enageing mind.

A Cooker?

Mummy, is he a Cooker?
A Cooker?
No darling.
He is a Chef.

"A person who teaches: teacher
A person who drives: driver
A person who cooks: cooker"

Logical thinking of my 4 & 6 year olds.

One of my small moments of joy for being a mother.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Who says a Waitress job is boring?

They came.
They wine.
They dine.

We sang.
They smiled.

She cried.
He smiled.

They bowed.
They smiled.
We bowed.

He bowed.
I bowed.

He bowed again,
hand extended to give
I bowed again,
hand extended to receive.

We bowed once again.

I smile.
With pleasant surprise
With words of thanks
With feelings of excitement
With thoughts of appreciation,

We bid each other
"See you again!"

What did I receive?

This, can you conceive?
A small tiny crane,
beautifully created by a pair of big manly hands!

It was the lady's birthday.
Fellow users of, the Japanese couple came all the way from another part of the island to dine with us. They enjoyed their dining experience with us - especially the singing of the Birthday song. "Beautiful singing!" noted the gentleman on our feedback form.

Err...actually, it was not "we" that sang. But I. Got "sabo" by my shy Mechelle whose voice suddenly when "off" while approaching the table... with only my voice scarily audible in my regular "off-beat; out of tune" singing!

But hey! The Birthday Gal is still touched and the restaurant got our very first "Crane Award"!

Who says my waitress job is boring?

Saturday, 10 May 2008

You made our day!

Dad said: "We have nothing to say on your Feedback Form."
Mum added: "Our feedback is on the table."

Being the eve of Mother's Day, we were busy.. trying to make sure everyone had a good time with us. And boy....we were exhausted.

The 2 lovely girls in this family, made our day. Hey...we aren't that tired afterall.
Thank you. Hope you are reading this. You made our day. Thanks!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Mothers are hard to please

Mothers are hard to please.
I don't know about you.

My Mum is never seldom satisfied with the food we
cook or
bring her to dine.

Dad, bro & I
unless it is "our day" (birthday, Father's Day or kid's birthday),
mum will decide
if food is bad,
ha :) it will be our turn to whine.

Mothers are hard to please
I don't know about you.

MIL is never seldom satisfied with the food we
cook or
bring her to dine.

"The food is inedible!" she will declared
Not before finishing up all the food upon displayed,
not withstanding even the place.

RIL concluded
that unless one is really without a choice
an Ang Pao for her is the best choice
she found joy in the packet
not meals we pay from our pockets.

Mothers are hard to please
With Mother's Day around the corner
I don't know about you

But I do ponder....
Where to bring these 2 mothers of mine I wonder?
Or should just Ang Paos alone perform wonders.

If you are wondering, what these 2 fussy mothers of mine eat at Ristorante De Parma, well.. mum eats only the Pizza Di Menzo while MIL declared the Black Cod is best.

For this Mother's Day, Chef Tony has especially planned a Mother's Day Set with his creation of either the Baked Chicken wrapped with Prochini Ricotta or the Grilled Pacific Dory Roulade as the main feature for mums. Here's the Mother's Day Menu. " (Sorry, this menu link will be removed after Mother's Day. Thx.)

Wishing you do the best in getting the perfect gift and meal for your Mother's Day.
As for me, a mother too, I will be @ Ristorante De Parma, waiting on tables ; )

Happy Mother's Day everyone!


ps. RIL: Relatives-In-Law; Ang Pao: Red Little Paper Packet for gift of cash

A busy night....

  • It was a busy evening.

    So busy that one particular table of diners (a family with children & maid) required & attracted our attention.

    First, daddy decided that the $10 French House Pour was too mild for him. He requested for a "change". He now wanted the $15 Australian option instead. Interestingly, he didn't request to taste either of the wine when he first placed his order. Anyway, we changed the wine for him.

    Daddy scored a first with us: Changing a glass of House Pour (due to personal preference) instead of ordering another glass.

    Secondly, the family happily finished eating a kid's pasta before informing another service crew that they did not order it. Meanwhile, another family was patiently waiting for the same pasta which we thought was served & done with.

    Scoring another first: Informing a wrong dish was served - but not before eating and finishing it.

    Almost at the end of the dinner, the Daddy complimented the excellent food and wine pairing. He enjoyed the $15 glass of Australian Merlot. Mummy said both her kids enjoyed all the pasta dishes.

  • "Do you've any birthday special?" she suddenly asked. "It's your birthday?" I enquired. "No. But his (the son) birthday is on Thursday. What can you give him for a birthday treat?" (Note: It's a Sunday night, and the dinner is not even a birthday celebration thingy.)

    Being me, I couldn't let the young boy down since mummy was asking and he was expecting. "Sure, we can provide a scoop of Gelato? What flavour do you like?" At the same time, I just couldn't let the other sibling have nothing? "What flavour would Jie Jie like?"

    Two scoops of Gelato - complimentary - no prob. The kids were very happy, very polite and thankful. The children made my day. I like to see them happy. I've a soft spot for them.

    Finally, the Bill came. Mummy requested Justin, to go through the list with her, ITEM BY ITEM. First item on the list was the complimentary Foccacia. It was a busy night, my Kitchen Colleagues missed the complimentary item and the Service Colleagues, in their rush & more concern about starters & main courses, forgot to remind the Kitchen. Hence, Foccacia was not served. Mummy requested to ta-pau (take-away) the forgotten Foccacia. Done - no prob.

    The family scored another first with us: ta-pauing (taking-away) the forgotten Complimentary Foccacia.

Interestingly, while going thru' the Bill item by item, Mummy remembered the forgotten Foccacia & not the $15 Australian Merlot. The $10 French House Pour was printed on the bill instead of the Australian counterpart. Justin didn't know of the switch as he did not take the order. Bill was happyily accepted & paid.

Here, wee had a family here, happy & contented with their dining experience with us.

What a night! What a busy night!

Yup, we are not perfect. On busy nights, we do forget and we fumble. We learnt more about ourselves, our shortcomings and of course, a little more about our diners.
Lessons learnt:
  • Don't assume the right dish is served on the right table:
even when you mentioned the name of the dish when placing it on the table;even when the diners at wrong table give no indication of the mistake.
  • Pay attention to other diners at other tables; even if it's a child, to see / sense if something went wrong.
  • Remember, to make changes on the POS (Cashier) before carry out any changes of order.
  • Note: Focaccia though complimentary, it is still part of the whole dining experience. Especially so when it's so yummy. So, make a point to remember serving it.
  • This family is just, but one of the many interesting diners we've yet to meet. Let's keep on learning ; )
ps. Photo by Samuel Leong
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