Thursday, December 3, 2009

A few staff issues 8/06/09

Last night was so slow we wondered if the cuoco had put a mallocchio (people believe in the Evil Eye here big time) on us. Then the police traffic wardens (vigili urbani) parked outside and we saw people who had been looking at our menu hastily go away to move their cars (there is limited parking available to non-residents in the borgo). The traffic police come at 9pm when there is no one around and they can give a few fines to a few unfortunate badly parked people and then at midnight where there is total chaos and all the cars drive up into the borgo even though they don’t have permission, and when the pub down the road blares music outside until 3am illegally , where are they? Nowhere to be seen. I went home at 2.15am last night but no chance of sleeping with the mayhem outside. There is something about the acoustics outside our house that make it seem like we have no walls or doors. The whine of scooters and motorbikes is actually magnified by the corridor between the houses outside, and the (bad) music from the stadium size amplifiers the pub down the road reverberates against the walls of the church in front of our house so we have full surround sound and can hear it as if it were inside our house. Nightmare.
Also mio marito’s motorbike saga. He bought a 1980s bike on ebay and went to pick it up at the agreed pick up point some 40km down the motorway. But it was out of petrol because the owner hadn’t put the lid on properly and they had to get parts to fix it, so he had to leave it there overnight. Today, on his way back he saw cars going all over the road in front of him and realized there was a huge oil spill. He slowed right down and pulled over to call his sister coming behind him on the hard shoulder but he couldn’t avoid slipping. So both he and the bike got scratched. He is more annoyed about he new bike of course.
More moments last night where I managed to annoy the staff. Mio marito and I had been discussing the fact that we need to tell the waiters and kitchen staff to eat all together –early – pasta or salads, to save the cooks from getting stressed later and having to cook different things for everyone. It seems obvious, and I would have expected these experienced waiters to know that, but actually we usually see one of them munching on something at 10pm and someone else at 8.30 when we arrive and want to eat something and they need to be free.
But tonight what do I find? Il cameriere with a plate full of a variety of the tapas (freshly made, including some fried calamari and tasty caponata, and which we would be hoping to sell tonight), and il barman coming out of the kitchen with not one but two great chunks of Argentinean beef – which is on the menu for €15, the most expensive dish we have. Er, excuse me? Mio marito told me later that he had bought poorer quality meat for the barman but he hadn’t wanted it apparently, and instead helped himself ot our most expensive dish on the menu. I don’t even know if we have any other beef left, we buy it fresh from the butcher’s every day! Plus the barman comes later than everyone else, at 9pm, so he could actually eat at home. And he gets paid more than everyone else …
Mio marito had objected in the kitchen but his mum has said ‘ah well, just for tonight’. Not helping us much! And all the other nights he has worked here… look WE are in debt, WE are paying the family the rent, WE are paying all of their salaries, I think WE get to decide what they are entitled to.
I spoke to the waiters as they were eating, but didn’t get to see the waiter again until he came back into the kitchen with his clean plates. Not the best moment perhaps, in front of the kitchen staff, but at least it was clear for all. For the barman perhaps it was too clear and he certainly didn’t appreciate it, he said he needed protein and not pasta and carbohydrates. Well then eat at home I thought, but held my tongue.

Mio marito told me later to choose my moments better – so obviously il barman had a little moan to him … but if you don’t sort things out on the spot something else happens and it goes out of your mind, and I needed to get that sorted before the rest of the night. Plus the male staff don’t like being told things by me. They both react instantly with excuses or grumbles or barely acknowledge. I said to the cameriere, ‘Mi raccomando, no more breaking of wine glasses tonight’ and he got all annoyed, saying what do you mean, the other night was the first time! (what a liar) I said, in a jokey way, ‘No,we are counting you have broken at least 10, and he repeated that the other night was maybe only the second time. It made me feel like laughing – which I did, and sick because he was lying so outrightly … I have seen at least 5 or 6 with my own eyes.
The worst was on the beach yesterday with two friends. One said he had always known of the cuoco as a bad guy up to no good. He said it was true he lived in Spain for years but is back here because he is waiting to go on trial for grievous bodily harm for having beat up a guy really badly. How awful. We had him in our kitchen with all those knives around. What bad energy. I feel like we are so na├»ve, but of course he was all nice at the beginning ... but I remember he wasn’t well turned out for the interview, he was surly and unshaven and unkempt looking. We should have known then that he was no good.


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