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Mar 10, 2008 09:50 AM

Thoughts on the Per Se book "Service Included"?

I recently picked up the book, "Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter" and am about halfway through it.

Here's the Amazon link:

Has anyone else read it? So far I'm really mixed on it. While I haven't finished yet, the author (and thus protagonist) strikes me as being the worst of what it is to be an NYC "foodie."

She's presumptuous, generally snobby, overbearing, flaky and while she hates other people taking themselves too seriously commits that crime much too often herself. While the story is engrossing, in both learning about Per Se and the gossip column style relationships, I find myself more annoyed than empathic to the author and her plights.

So far this has been more of a gussied up romance novel then anything thought provoking.


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  1. The problem is that it is sold as an undercover look at the restaurant business from a service perspective, but it's just the story of a waitress' personal life. Very little of the book has to do with the behind the scenes other than how it shapes her life. It's a narration and a perception, not a revelation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: swissfoodie

      That is exactly the problem. It really is an example of cashing in on the Per Se name and her experience there.

      Apparently the Keller camp has had nothing to say on the book, which is no surprise.

      I feel particularly deceived because I went to a book signing and both the author and the panel moderator portrayed it as such.

    2. Agree that it's misleadingly presented. I thought it was ok but was glad I didn't pay for it. Skimmed the annoying bits. The Per Se stuff was interesting. Worth checking out of the library.

      1. I thought the book was worth it for the glimpse into service at per se. I would have preferred a larger dose of the actual workings of the restaurant - especially the many "rules" that she did not quote in the book.

        But, like many of the others, the whole romance thing was just not very interesting to me. It was like a glimpse into per se life and then suddenly, she's off hooked up with the sommelier. The last third of the book was rather lame because of it.

        But I did have a bit of a celebrity moment when I went to per se in December and discovered that Michael Minillo was our captain. We laughed about the situations in the book - especially her role as runner for Frank Bruni's first visit and his "rescue" of Keller from the kitchen as it burned. If I had a copy of the book with me, I would have asked him to sign it.