Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Now, I'm no David Copperfield but I am magic...

my name is Manuel the Magnificent
and I'l get your "decaf" right now


"Did you tell that lady you were gonna get her a skinny latte?", whispered Waiter Chum Number Four into my bad ear as we walked away from table six.

"What?", I scowled. The defective hearing in my right ear frightens me and reminds me of my mortality. It's the first, no doubt, of many bits to start falling off or breaking. Soon most will become superfluous, nothing more than decoration. Sigh.

"Did you tell that lady you were gonna get her a skinny latte?", repeated the littlest vegan in that slow slightly condescending way the youth talk to their elders.

(The Littlest Vegan would be a great TV show. Just like the Littlest Hobo she could travel from town to town solving mysteries and teaching the inhabitants a little about themselves and the "joy" of a diet free from meat and full of pulses and nuts. Mmmmm. Not. Although unlike the Littlest Hobo she would probably have to get a bus from town to town as the whole vegan thing would have her incapable of walking for more than 20 minutes at a time.)

"Yup"

"Do we do skinny milk?"

"Nope"

Waiter Chum Number Four was quite perplexed. He little face was a picture of wonderment and really rather reminded me off the time The Cousin was asked to explain what he did for a living - its something to do with farmers but not farmers and there are vets involved and maybe government ministers and who the fuck knows what else. Suffice to say she was confused, Waiter Chum Number Four that is, The Cousin is not a she. Moobs aside.

"So how are you gonna make her a skinny latte?"

"Magic!", I exclaimed doing the magician hand thingy up at her face.

Brushing me away she responded with, "Magic?"

"Damn right magic!"

And I proceeded to lift the full fat milk from the fridge and started frothing it for the requested latte. A latte it certainly would be, skinny it would not.

"But...but...but...but", she protested sounding every bit like a terrible white rapper. I'm looking at you here Vanilla Ice.

I made the coffee, popped it on a tray and handed it to my bewildered little Waiter Chum.

"So we are just gonna lie to her?"

"Lie? Me? A waiter? I think not!", and with that I waved my hand over the coffee and declared it now a skinny latte.

"See, magic!"

Obviously the woman who ordered the latte drank it and loved it and in no way questioned it's skinniness or otherwise. It was a sweet win-win situation. I mean if I told her that we didn't carry skinny milk it may have taken the edge off her evening, leaving her to go home disappointed and disillusioned with life and the ceaseless joy that is dining out. And as a consequence cause some downgrading in the tipular area and I needs the money folks. But mostly I just wanna make people happy. I am that magnanimous. No seriously.

"Magic hand" is a key waiter skill that allows you to turn something you have into something the guest needs without having to go through the ball achery of having to go to a store or speak to a chef, open a new bottle, grind beans or disappoint the guest by being honest and telling them we don't have what it is they desperately need to complete the night.

Need decaf but cant be mithered to grind beans because you have, just this minute, cleaned the grinder? Wave a magic hand over a cup of filter and SHAZAM you have a cup of decaf. Need a glass of Shiraz but there is none open? Who wants to go through the untold grief and monotony of opening a new bottle when you can simply pour a glass of the Cabernet that's just sitting there on the shelf with a cork popping out winking at you? Just wave a magic hand over it and SIM SALA BIM you have a lovely glass of hearty Shiraz.

And on it goes. Magic hand can "turn the music down" without ever actually turning the music down. I have used magic hand to both increase and decrease the heat. I've magic handed countless guests over the years with untold trickery and "magic" and never once been caught out. It's all about confidence and masterful bullshittery and I am a champion bullshitter. Ah magic hand, it's the waiter's Jedi mind trick and there is nothing that cant be magic handed.

Actually, that said, you cant magic hand a pan fried chicken breast into a Guinea fowl. Tried that one night. Ended up slapping my magic hand all over my magic face.....

Whoops!

20 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Belfast Plate Carrier said...

I once managed to 'magic' lobster bisque into tomato soup. And if it didn't taste like normal tomato soup then that was because we used organic tomatos. Yup, that's right.

ninetyninewords said...

"Belfast restaurants today reported a sudden downturn in trade. Industry insiders say it was probably caused by the 'Oh my God, does that REALLY happen?' disclosure of hitherto unknown shady practices from one of the city's most experienced waiters.
A colleague of the whistle blower advised hardy diners to refrain from requesting low fat mayo. 'I just can't go there', he said."

Manuel said...

bpc: taking magic hand and making it uber magic hand....actually that could be considered "real" magic.....i doff my hat sir....

99 words: magic hand has to be used sparingly...over use of magic hand will result in management catching on..but then again they regularly magic hand my wages....

Medbh said...

How strange.
I also have a significantly decreased hearing ability in my right ear.
I blame all the punk shows where I stood with it right next to the speaker.

On the skinny milk thing, my mother refuses to drink it because she says it looks like breast milk.

sugarpie said...

Thanks everyone for helping me re-find 'I Can Has Cook' on yesterthread. Yes indeed,s the Cornucopia book looks pretty much like it needs to be in my possession, and it would be if it were a little less spectacularly priced. Maybe soon, via magic hands.

Belfast Barista said...

For godssake Manuel! Stop giving away all our inside the biz secrets! What will we have left? Next the plebs (sorry 'customers') will be demanding to watch us pour their milk straight from the jugs to verify it's skinnyness!
Our favourite scam was one we pulled on a guy every morning- we filled the milk jugs with skinny before opening, but on the table this guy sat at EVERY morning we poured cream. Mainly cos the guy was a grade A bell end, and one of our most HATED customers, and every morning asked if it was skinny in the jug. Let's face it he deserved it, he treated us like shit under his shoe. Plus anyone who weighs 25 stone and has a muffin with butter, then has the cheek to ask for skinny milk deserves it.
But the ol' 'if they think its skinny/decaf then it is' trick? You've given us all away!!!
What are we to do?!
*preps the noose*

Native Minnow said...

I thought the magic hands did something else entirely. I know mine do.

Manuel said...

medbh: i'm putting it down to walkman usage......lots n lots of walkman usage....skimmed milk is ridiculous...

sugarpie: eh that's shoplifting and I do bot condone shoplifting.....although I could do with a copy myself.....I'll see you outside waterstones)

belfast barista: yes but as long as we don't tell them about "heat up the muffins in the microwave because they are stale" then we will be okay....what? d'oh....

minnow: shudder to think......

jill said...

I knew it! That's why I have sleeping issues at night time. Do you people ever serve decaffeinated coffee?

Belfast Barista said...

We do serve decaf 99.999% of the time...but occasionally places run out of things...and why say so and spoil the customer's day? It also spoils ours, since we have to watch their bottom lip quiver/get ranted at/ watch the tantrums when told the bad news! Hehe! 'An ounce of keep-your-mouth-shut is better than a ton of explanation'! :D
I like to think of it as keeping the cogs of society running smoothly... ;)

Manuel said...

jill: to tell you the truth decaf doesn't exist.......it never did........it;s only in the movies.....soz bwahahaha

Manuel said...

belfast barista: don't be daft....you know it doesn't exist....

Steve Holt said...

I think the waiter magic handed all over my plate the other evening. And do you getter magic handing in the better restaurant?

Manuel said...

steve holt: ha! steve holt!

actually the better the restaurant the worse the magic handing is.....don't ask me why it;s just the way it is.....

wendy said...

Tread softly on the wine magic, even I can tell the difference between a Shiraz and a Cabernet.

besides that.. yes, I practice the Jedi mind trick daily, as it suits me.

You will serve the correct wine. Yes.

:)

Jimmy Bastard said...

So if an awkward customer complains about the dryness of their steak pie, you 'pop' into the kitchen and wave your special wand over the plate until your meat is moist?

I must bring my mother-in-law along one night. She believes that you're steak is pure shite.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

From one champion bullshitter to another I say , " Well Done!'

Maxi Cane said...

Guilty of all of these in the past.

For 6 years a restaurant I worked in passed every fish other than lemon sole off as lemon sole. Still does.

Former employers have also been known to magic food poisoning into out of court settlements.

daisy mae said...

sooo... i'm definitely guilty of the bulk of these. but the switching of the decaf? most of the time it's ok, but for people with certain heart problems, you can land them in the hospital as the caffeine can interact with certain meds. best to suss that out first with an "oh, don't drink regular?" or something....

but the skinny latte? brilliant!

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