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Has anyone read "Service Included?"

The full title is "Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter." It's on BonAppetit's list of the top books of the year. Is it worth trying to find? Sounds as though it might be fun, in a trashy sort of way.

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  1. I was thinking of ordering it, so I checked it out on Amazon. What attracts me is that it is written by a woman who is described as rising quickly through the ranks to an important floor position at Per Se, and she tells some interesting stories. But what caused me to hesitate is that it also is a journal-type diary that dwells on her love life. So I just put it on my shopping list pending further review.

    Damn, I'm on a new MacBook after yet another Dell broke down, so I lost a lot of old info. I read a few entries from a very literate and edgy blog about a waiter in NYC who was supposedly turning his best posts into a book about the challenges and stories of dealing with both customers and the management and cooks, but I've lost the link.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      Could it have been waiterrant.net?

      1. re: silleehillee

        It was indeed. I went to the site to verify and read the two most recent posts -- gosh, the guy is a great writer with an eye towards interesting anecdotes, and he stays on topic. Yep, I sure would buy his book. Thanks, sillee, and 'Hounds, do yourself a favor and check out waiterrant.net.

    2. I read it and thought it was very interesting, entertaining, and funny. She does get into her love life. If you have ever been in the food/hospitality industry, this is a must read. The New York Times gave it a good review as well. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/boo...

      1. It's an undernourished little thing, cute in its way, that is more a slight coming-of-age memoir sprinkled with a bit of food. Diverting enough for an airplane ride, one supposes.

        2 Replies
        1. re: condiment

          Well put. It's an interesting look behind the scenes (I never imagined the level of training a four-star server receives), but there is no conflict, only a few tense situations (e.g. waiting on Frank Bruni). I recommend it in paperback.

          1. re: orezscu

            Or maybe I can get it from the library. Thanks to everyone for the imput.

        2. It's light, fun, and easy read. It's not a tell-all airing out of dirty laundry. As others mentioned there is an underlying "love" story.

          However, I read the book right before my experience at French Laundry and it ruined the experience. I was intensely focused on the service comparing the level of service at French Laundry to that described in the book at Per Se. I've been to Per Se twice and have to admit the service is/was better.

          1. Its alright, Its a little light and a little short but enjoyable nontheless. I may have enjoyed it more if her relationships interested me more.

            1 Reply
            1. re: acook1230

              I started it on the train ride home yesterday and am about 3/5 done already. If anyone wants it when I'm done, let me know. I'm happy to pass it on as it's a good read, but not something I'd likely pick up and read again.

            2. So, what's the special kitchen appliance that's referred to in the New York Times review?

              1. Hmm, I'd completely forgotten about this thread. I did finally get the book from the library. I enjoyed the very specific details about her experiences at Per Se. Not so much about her love life. I wanted to shake her and say, "Andre's not worth it."

                Special kitchen appliance? I have no idea.....