Saturday, September 18, 2010

"Buffalo Chicken" Moments - Recipe for Foodie Faux Pas

My name is David -- you can read it on the name tag positioned strategically on my left elbow sleeve -- and I am the cafe line cook (a.k.a line attendant; a.k.a. glorified slop jockey) at a venue that will remain nameless to protect the reputations of the innocent and naive. This blog has been marinating for almost a year. Moment after moment, unbelievable and head-shakingly sad, it's time for me to share with the world the real stories of ordering ineptitude that dot my days.

Let's begin with the basics. Into every day of the food service professional must come frustrating exchanges with the people that make my paycheck possible... customers. Culinary professionals appreciate our patrons. Without them, no one would enjoy our food or give us a reason to show up for work and earn our modest wages. But let's be honest... many customers, for one reason or another, are painfully frustrating. Which leads us to the subject of this blog.

What is a "Buffalo Chicken" moment? A term of my creation, a buffalo chicken moment refers to an exchange with a customer that is so frustrating, so drenched in stupidity, that the food service professional is left with no choice but to roll one's eyes, shake one's head, or reach for the nearest blunt object that could inflict a concussion strong enough to forget the exchange but safe enough to prevent a call-in the following day. Let's be serious - sick days are hard to come by and we all need the money.

So why "Buffalo Chicken" you might ask? The name reaches back a whole week to an exchange with a customer that was so unbelievable, I hesitate to share it. At the beginning of a Wednesday shift, my first customer looked at the specials menu and read the description of our daily panini:

* Buffalo Chicken mixed with shredded carrots and bleu cheese*

The customer's face scrunched in disgust and horror. Through her shock, she exclaimed "I just can't do that. I mean, I like chicken... but buffalo? With chicken together? I just don't think I can eat buffalo." That's right, dear readers. This customer thought that buffalo chicken was buffalo meat and chicken served together with shredded carrots and bleu chese.

I wanted curl into a ball and weep. Instead, I handed her a ham sandwich and sent her along. This blog is a record of my buffalo chicken moments. Maybe you might share some of your own in the comments section. Enjoy!

(Picture borrowed from Wikipedia entry on Buffalo Chicken Wings: which is a good read for anyone interested in the history of buffalo chicken sauce)

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