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An Honest Day's Work…

Posted on Tuesday 27th November 2007 at 00:00
If you ever have far too much time on your hands, and are wondering what to do with it, I can highly recommend a job in catering.

Assuming you aren't required to serve breakfast for anybody, you can stroll in at about 8 or 9 in order to prepare your bar, cafe or restaurant for the mid morning coffee rush. This tends to merge quite nicely into the lunch rush, during which you will be rushed off your feet, shouted at, complained at, insulted, made to look stupid, made to feel as though you are ruining everyone's day and generally subjected to the worst of the pre-lunch bad moods to be had about the place.

At about 3pm you should be able to sit down for your own lunch, but don't expect to stay sat there for long as you will be interrupted at least once every 3 minutes in order to serve customers wanting their afternoon coffees. This is the quiet part of the day, when you can begin to tidy up the mess and regroup for dinner, which you should already be preparing to set up.

As the deadline for the start of the evening meal looms ever closer, the list of things to do doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. Even highly experienced caterers need hours to lay up a formal dinner and a missing knife or dirty glass can turn the whole thing on its head.

Finally, with mere minutes to go, you are ready to begin the meal. The tables are laid, the food is cooked and the drinks reception is prepared. Now all you need is the customers. An hour later, the first of the customers arrive and express an air of surprise that you expected them to be on time in the first place.

At this point one of two things will happen: either only half of the customers you've spent all afternoon and evening preparing for turn up, the rest having decided to go to Pizza Hut instead and not thought it necessary to cancel their booking, or they all turn up and bring a few friends along as well, so you have to completely destroy your carefully laid out tables in order to squeeze these people in, rushing around to find extra cutlery whilst shouting to the chefs to put on some more steaks or something.

Eventually the meal will get underway and, as you catch your breath between clearing one course and taking out the next, you realise that things aren't going all that badly. Assuming there are no unforeseen screw ups, you should be able to sit down for your own dinner at about 10pm, after which the wash up will become your home for the next hour as you battle to clean each and every plate, knife, fork, spoon and wine glass used throughout the evening.

A good day is easily identified as one on which you get home in time for a full 8 hours sleep before you have to go back to work. That's the only sign of a good day in catering. In all other respects it still looks fairly bollocks. Hooray!

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