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Naomi's Blog

CHRISTMAS IN FEBRUARY. IT’S THE NEW BLACK.

By February 28, 2013 One Comment

Most things in hospitality are fairly immediate.

  • You’d better be ready to open those doors bang on 530 because there can’t be much worse for a guest than having to stand outside staring through the window looking in at the staff finish finishing their meeting and throwing back a pre-shift shot of tequila. Not that you’d ever see that at Hartsyard.
  • Those dishes had better leave the pass before the ding of the bell stops resonating or you’ll find your ears resonating with the screams of an irate chef instead. Again, not something you’d ever experience at Hartsyard.
  • Cocktails need to be off the service bar the second that bar tender has finished arranging the flowers or you’ll cop a mean look from one of them. But not from our bar tenders because they’re all as gentle and meek as newborn kittens.
  • Tables need to be bussed and reset for the 730 turn by 734 no later, or the hostess will be up your nose with a rubber hose. You’d probably better ask the staff about that one…I may be guilty of expecting a superhuman speed on the reset.
  • Phone must be answered by the fourth ring, which is far easier said than done when it rings at 734 on a Saturday night and everyone in the dining room is flat-chat trying to pull off the point above.

Yep, most things in hospitality need to be addressed immediately, which I suspect is why kitchens run with curious parallels to the running of the military. Although no one is going to die if that dish takes an extra thirty seconds to hit the table, but you try telling some chefs that during the middle of a hectic service.

I should issue a disclaimer here and say I’ve never, ever heard Gregory let loose on a staff member, but a piece of equipment that kicks the bucket in the middle of service…well…it’s not language you’d want your child to hear that’s for sure.

So it stands to reason that because the needs of the guests always come first, the needs of the staff always come last.

Like toilet breaks (never at 734. Why are you even asking?).

Or ciggie breaks, which I’m always threatening to ban as I like our staff and would quite like them to stick around for longer than those cancer sticks might allow…

Or hunger pains. Suck it up baby, you’re going to have to wait till midnight now.

Or christmas parties.

Yes, christmas parties. No one in hospitality can ever do them during the actual christmas period because we’re too busy hosting everybody else’s, and then (in our case) we closed for a bit, then opened again and did the onsite and Big Day Out, then our sous chef was still overseas, then our PA was away, then we did OzHarvest and Rootstock and then it was the end of February and we really had to fit it in before Easter.

And so we did. On Monday. A day predicted to storm and downpour, but Mother Nature knew just how much our staff deserved this and turned on some brilliant weather for our little sojourn by the sea.

To begin, Cassie had organised Bare Foot Bowls at Clovelly Bowling Club and I tell you folks, it was absolutely brilliant. Sharing the view with a few hundred dead people, (Clovelly Cemetery is right next door) we had a magnificent vista of the great australian coastline, the roaring ocean below, Bondi and Bronte beaches on either side.

Thats’ Cass our GM on the left and Mads our bar tender on the right. They go orright those gals.

Now Lawn Bowls provided a fairly level playing field amongst the staff as we’re all under the age of 120 and no one appeared to have much previous experience in the sport. Sport. I use the term loosely as I think more energy was expended raising the cider glass to the mouth than on the actual activity itself.

Dan and Mark, our front of house men. Rocking the skinny jeans better than any of us girls ever could.

Amy exhibited some superb form making it look like she knew what she was doing, but it was all a ruse and she was firmly (along with Maddy and I) one of the worst three players of the day.

One of the bar tenders spoiled things by telling me I couldn’t bowl like it was cricket and despite my best efforts to channel my grandmother (I even wore her white hat) I contributed absolutely nothing to the score board.

Look at that pose. I really think I’d suit being a lady of leisure. Think I might go and talk to my husband about that…

Sungha lost form somewhere between the 6th and 7th cider, and we all risked listeria by eating soft cheeses that well and truly melted in the sun.

Cassie had told us all to dress conservatively and you can see from this just how that statement was interpreted.

It appears to mean everyone must be wearing pants.

From there, we were joined by our good friends Nick and Scotty from The Rocks Brewing Company and headed down to Bronte for a barbie and a surf.

We began our feast with prawns somehow involving old bay mayo and they were delish. That chef of mine knows a thing or two I tell ya.

Someone got out the frisbee and the sleeper in this event was undoubtedly Mark our Bar tender/waiter/host who put up an impressive performance with not 1 but 2 beers in one hand while catching and throwing the frisbee with the other.

Phill led the way on the barbie (or grill, as Gregory still calls it) and Sungha made friends with the Koreans next door, so we shared our meaty fair with them.

 

A few of us braved the ocean (a tad messy and sea-weedy that day) and then we all played the obligatory game of cricket using the garbage bins as wickets. Of course.

At one point I heard Cass explaining the rules to Dan, our server who has been with us since day one. Fair enough you might think, Dan is foreign after all, but he’s foreign as in from the UK and I’m pretty sure they invented the game. Still, to give him the benefit of the doubt, their weather is so bad over there, they were probably forced to play dominoes indoors rather than backyard cricket at their Saturday afternoon barbies.

Another foreigner lined up to bowl and my husband began referencing great former pitchers for the New York Yankees. Fine, except none of us knew who he was talking about and you’re not allowed to pitch a ball on the full in cricket anyway Gregory.

He still finds the rules of cricket bizarre. ‘You mean you don’t have to run if you hit the ball? What kind of game is this anyway?’

By now, many people were feeling the effects of too many ciders and not enough suncream, so we headed home and regrouped for a quiet evening at Arcadia Liquors. (I’ve not been there, but they’ve been in to us, and I tell you, they’re some of the finest people in the biz. Stop in sometime if you’re in the ‘hood).

A couple of people stayed home to watch the Oscars and I went home to our girl, and after she was abed, slothed about on the couch watching Q&A and seriously pondering the state of the universe.

Undoubtedly that’s another topic best left for another blog on another day.

So there you have it folks. Most people celebrate christmas on December 25th, the yuppies in the Blue Mountains do it in July and Hartsyard does it in February.

Does this mean next Monday is a public holiday for New Year’s Eve?

Now wouldn’t that be nice…

 

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