Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[NEWS BITES] That Craigslist posting for Marais? Was fake.

A couple of weeks ago a job posting on Craigslist ignited a firestorm of negative commentary against Chef David Gilbert and his new Grosse Pointe restaurant, Marais.

This was because I posted a link to this Craigslist post, specifically making reference to it being for Marais.

It was not.

The...well, let's just go ahead and say gloriously narcissistic, shamelessly verbose, unrepentantly obtuse, and batshit crazy post was so insane it just didn't seem like it could possibly be real.

Well, that's because it wasn't.

Afterwards David's wife and business partner Monica reached out to me via email. Her message was perfectly polite but pointed out that nowhere in the post was Marais specifically named and that she wished I had confirmed the information before posting it in such an inflammatory way. She also included a link to their actual job posting, which, I assure you, was quite a normal job posting and not at all insane. (It has since expired, otherwise I would share.)

The post for a "Captain's Assistant" in Grosse Pointe now seems to be perhaps exactly what it was intended for: a cruel mockery intended for people to assume it was from the Gilberts though it stopped just short of saying so, meant to turn the tide of public opinion against them worse than even the most finger-waiving Yelp reviewer.

Of course, this would not have been the outcome had someone with a prominent standing and wide reach not latched onto it. And, unfortunately, I did. Seeing this posted on a friend's timeline who specifically called it out as being Dave Gilbert's, the power of suggestion proved too strong. Though I didn't believe that any rational person or self-respecting business owner could POSSIBLY write this, I also didn't question it enough to find out otherwise. Nor did I didn't actually say where it was for.

Was it written by someone who felt they had been slighted by Gilbert before? The chef world can be pretty catty and competitive, and Dave has done pretty well for himself graduating from his Chef de Cuisine position under Brian Polcyn at Forest Grill to opening his own place in Grosse Pointe. Was the poster who planted this seed in my brain somehow involved, knowing I would seize on it and spread it like wildfire? Shame on me for being so predictable, if so.

There is of course also the possibility that this is a real job posting for a real restaurant really opening in Grosse Pointe, though I most certainly hope not, for their sake.

Below is the full posting, as it will likely be deleted soon. I apologize to the Gilberts for the heart attacks I'm sure I caused them because that kind of flogging by public opinion is something NO ONE wants before they even open, and they did nothing to deserve it. So, give Marais a chance, and I apologize to both them and you, dear readers, for misleading you.

Captain's Assistant's (Grosse Pointe)

We are seeking qualified, motivated Captain's Assistant's for a new and exciting restaurant opening soon in The Village in Grosse Pointe. The Captain's Assistant will assist his/her Captain with all duties that encompass taking care of our patrons and guests. Delivering food tableside, beverage service, and bread service, crumbing, clearing, and setting up both guests and Captains for the next logical step in the dining experience. As the Captain guides the guests through the Menus, food, and wine, the back waiter will be ever present in making sure all is accounted for, on both sides of the table. Server and Patron. What follows here is a succinct description regarding the relationship you will have with your Captain.

The Art of Front and Back Waiter Systems

It takes two to tango, two to make a marriage work and two to ride a tandem bike. What does all this have to do with the front and back waiter system? Well, have you ever tried to ride a tandem bike? As in tango, marriage and the ever-frustrating tandem bike, someone has to take a back seat (you know it had to be said). In other words, someone has to cede his control to his partner. There is a certain amount of compromise for both people. I believe, and you may agree Servers, that the most successful of you are control freaks. You can admit it - it's actually ok to be a bit of a control freak in this business. It's your business! Someone had better be controlling it! Who better than you? Back to the tandem bike...if you have ever tried riding one, you know that the person in the back has to trust the "driver," knowing that she will be steering you and her on the bike path, through traffic and other sudden obstacles and foreign objects. If you're in the back, you can't see what she sees. You have to rely on her judgment and abilities to get you through whatever comes at you - unscathed.

If you're the back waiter, or the server assistant, it's kind of the same thing. The front server is selling, talking, maneuvering and guiding your guests to either a wonderful dining experience or a mad trek through back yards and across crazy busy intersections. All you can do is sit in the back, keep your balance and pedal assist your fearless leader through good and bad. And it is all based on the communication and direction you receive from your front waiter.

It sure is great to have a team of strong, confident and well-organized servers. Are they the best team for the front and back waiter system? That is the question. Someone has to cede his control to someone else. Understand that you don't give up total control. You can stop pedaling and demand that your driver tell you what the #$*&$%@ is going on. You can stop the flow of service by doing so; just so you know you have some control over the situation. So trust is an important issue here. Everyone's performance and income is reliant on the others to give the best service possible.

I expect that Ginger Rogers fully trusted Fred Astaire while dancing. Let's face it - he could have let her fall so many times! A back waiter has to trust that the front waiter can time her tables accordingly and not make him look like a fool when he brings the entrees out while guests are still eating clam chowder. Fred drops Ginger...Sylvia Server drives you through the busiest intersection in get the picture...

It boils down to communication and control from the front server. He has to be able to time the courses of all her tables efficiently. The server assistant will try to combine his steps and courses based on the information given to maximize the efficiency the front waiter has established. A very graceful dance indeed.

Back (way back - almost the dark ages) when I was starting out in the fine dining world, I was a back waiter, of course. We didn't really have bussers; therefore, back waiters were sort of glorified bussers. I didn't mind; I was learning from the older, more experienced servers and had a great time because of it! I agreed to cede my total control to someone else and stuffed a sock in my ego's big mouth. I was usually back waiter to a server named David. David was from Iran and had a wonderful accent that people just loved to listen to. We made GREAT money because he was good at what he did - and he used his accent as a tool - always use what you have to your advantage!

Eventually we began alternating front and back waiter positions. No one minded because we worked as a team and made great money together. In fact, it can become a real treat to be the back waiter if you truly trust your front waiter.

I watched, listened and followed the examples set by the other waiters. They took me under their collective wing and made sure I was as good as they were. By being a back waiter, I understood the organization and preparation necessary to be successful on the floor. It helped me be a better front waiter when it came time for me to step into that role. I understood what I was leading and how to steer better. We all knew our primary duties; we all knew when it was necessary to get off the bike and switch seats. I credit that team of professionals for some of my best training and skills. In short, a great front and back waiter team can create a smooth ride through a beautiful park or perform a graceful tango together without tripping and create a seamless dining experience for their guests.

Excellence is an act won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
 - Aristotle

What we seek are foodies with a desire to work in what will certainly be one of the, if not the best restaurant in Michigan. We all take our work seriously; we give 100% and accept nothing less in return. You will be in contact with many talented people that at are at the highest level of service in both food and wine. This is also a great opportunity for a server who is looking to gain fine dining experience. This is the same style of service used at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.

If this seems like something you would be interested in pursuing, please respond with your resume, and full contact information.

Experience is most certainly welcomed, that said, we are willing to look at self-motivated people, with a passion for food, wine and exemplary service. Must be available weekends.

We thank you for your interest, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • Location: Grosse Pointe
  • Compensation: Hourly Plus Tips, 401K, Family meal provided daily
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.