Do play with your food!

February 17th, 2011 by Daniel Leave a reply »


Packed in between my buddies and the crates lined with CDs I wasn’t thinking about food: I wasn’t thinking about my job as a bartender or the anomalies of my chosen profession. Michael Franti was playing his guitar and singing his soulful reggae tunes to a crowd of 200 happy Portlanders crammed tight like sardines into Music Millenium.  Yup, wasn’t thinking about food at all.  Then Michael hit us with a sermon.

“I’m a fortunate guy,” he said, “I play music for a living.  Ya, when I go to work, I get to just play.  If you have a job where you can play and get paid for it, then you should feel really good, really happy about your life.”

He went on to point out Larry Steele in the audience and mentioned that here was another great player.  I glanced at Larry in the front row and clapped, but that little introduction echoed in my ears.  It is still reverberating in my inner ear and somewhere even deeper.

Just about every day that I go to work at The Country Cat, I feel like I am playing with the cooks, with the guests dining, with the other front of the house staff.  It is play when I am mixing cocktails or pairing wine or tweaking the menu to accomodate someone with food allergies.  Sure I’m not stretching the boundaries of my mind, nor am I making a ton of money, but I walk around smiling all day.  That sense of playfulness that I bring to work everyday with me somehow fills the very air of the restaurant with fun, with good times, with whimsy.

There is something very spiritual about serving  food.  That spiritual experience becomes multiplied when the food is local, when it is made from scratch, when the foods have just recently been harvested.  Folks come into restaurants not merely to eat.  People come into restaurants to be in a social setting, to experience positive social energy, as well as to eat.   So the more positive energy, the more serious play you can infuse into your food, the more attractive your restaurant is to the crowd of hungry people.

There are, of course, the occasional grumpy moments, but those clouds don’t come often and they don’t stay long.  Mostly I just walk around smiling and having fun with the folks in the restaurant.

The cooks have fun and laugh at me all day.

And I laugh right back.



1 comment

  1. david moore says:

    Daniel, you always make me laugh too!

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