Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Champagne drinkers and cook thieves 3/06/09

The cook left last night without so much as thank you or good bye…

Every now and again we have a large table of 8 or 10 men who drink several bottles of expensive champagne and get a bit rowdy. Mafioso types from the next town with money to burn and connections. Last night a group came and annoyed everyone. Our cameriere took one look at them, and said, ‘Leave them to me; don’t you go near them.’ They spent the night on their mobile phones and running in and out noisily to smoke outside. Their leader sat kept loitering in the stairway and gawping at a girl who was eating downstairs with her boyfriend. They were clearly well-known as they boyfriend said to her don’t get annoyed these guys aren’t worth the trouble.

The annoying thing was, some of our suppliers were there with their wives and they were bothered by the whole performance. Also, most unfortunately, they had the tomino, (like camembert baked in under the grill) which they supply to us, and it was cold upon arrival. Damn. We are not happy with our kitchen at all.

Another group of men in early thirties came in, and the mafia man sent over a bottle of champagne to their table. These guys were quiet and nice to me and chatty. But the lead man at that table had to go over and give the mafia boss two kisses and hugs and big displays of brotherly affection, pats on the back etc. What a performance. At the end the bossman threw the two bottles of olive oil upside down, a canister of salt and a glass into the champagne bucket full of water. I was raging but what can you do? He was out of it. I just said, is this what you do at home? And he sort of imitated me making faces back, but I must say the other guys didn’t say anything, looking rather ashamed.

Bossman went downstairs to pay. Mio marito gave him a litle discount as usual. But bossman said, 'Ma come? is this all the discount you expect me to pay? Me, .... and he said his name incredulously, as if we really shouldn't have charged him at all. So we had to give him ewven more of a dsicount after the whole performance and distrubance they had created. our cameriere rolled his eyes and said, 'They are up to their eyeballs in coke.' What? in my restaurant? How awful, I hope not. We just hope they won't be back.

The HACCP lady came by with a black file of things for us, forms to fill out every day on hygiene and safety. But she didn’t give us any training. Just pay the €350 and all ok. Mi marito signed a few booklets about possible sources of danger in the kitchen etc and food hygiene. Just like the course he supposedly did for the certificate to run a bar/restaurant, along with 30 other dodgy people he said. They had to meet at 8am in some dodgy dark room in Reggio Calabria, but rather than a long day of training, they were just asked for their details and he just paid €500 since no one could be bothered to actually teach. All about money.

We also got an unpleasant surprise. The aiuto cuoco told us that the girl who had been assisting the cook had been for an interview at another bar in town to work in the kitchen. The managers of this bar, the ‘fratelli belli’ the handsome brothers as they have been known to be called, come to ours all the time and are really pally with mi marito. So we were very annoyed that they were trying to steal the only smart person in our kitchen. The aiuto cuoco told us he was sure the cuoco had put her up to it. In any case she wasn’t interested. Pay too bad. Mi suocera told us we were too innocent and welcome to the nasty world of business in Sicily. Mi marito told me to just act like we knew nothing but I am no good at pretending so I haven’t spoken since to the fratelli belli.

You can't trust anyone!


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