2nd to the last straw

It was a bad day yesterday. The monstrous Metro Manila Traffic got me in trouble at work for being late. What usually is a half an hour commute took three times that. I guess it’s a sign that the Holidays are upon us.

Getting to work to find that the manager has sent out the guests because there was no one in the kitchen. What? There are two inane questions here that need to be addressed:

Why are there no kitchen staff at the restaurant when it opened? And more importantly…

Why did the manager send out the guests instead of having them wait in the comfort of air conditioning and good music?

I work with complacent cooks. These are cooks who do mise en place a la minute. They were already bad apples when I was recently added to the roster. And yesterday nobody was in the kitchen due to either that they were on day off or they were late too. One was late. But he was always late. Always. And yesterday I found out why he was never chewed out before I took over his job. But I will get back to that later.

The motley crew consisted of three cooks when I took over. Al I knew from years before at an Italian restaurant. He was surprised that I took over his job, owing to the fact that he drove the kitchen down so low that it was covered in stain, dirt and rat droppings. Much can be said about the many levels of mediocre his food was found to be. Alvin was a steakhouse guy before. Most reliable. Fast worker. Can be taught. And shoots before asking questions. Stocky and healthy as an ox, moves quickly. A few polishing around the edges and he could well outpace half of Manila’s cooks. And then there is JC. Dishwasher and so-called cook. The dirtiest kind. The kind you would see toiling in a backwater canteen.

The Manager seems to have this cook as a favorite. And since the cook makes the manager’s meals, I supposed it applies to that adage ‘do not bite the hand that feeds you’. I guess that is the reason. He can probably get away with murder.

My days are numbered at that place. I look forward to the day when I leave that place for good.

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