DON’T FRONT…YOU KNOW I GOT YOU OPEN
Photo by Pamela Evelyn.
My first restaurant job was at the tender age of 15. I worked at a steak and seafood house in Victoria called Chandlers and the experience was very eye-opening. As a junior high student I was making pretty good money. I had graduated from washing dishes, in what is affectionately known as The Dish Pit, to bussing tables, I had it pretty good. I guess the manager saw something in me and a few months later, I was serving. I had the smallest section in the restaurant but it didn’t matter to me, I was just thankful to get the opportunity.
Although we didn’t have the wine cellar that some establishments boasted, we had a decent selection and, people loved red wine with their steaks so, I had to learn the proper method of presentation and approach. I loved it. I felt like I was part of an exclusive club, especially when I thought about the fact most kids I was in school with only knew wine in it’s boxed form and thought drinking it straight from the spout was an ode to Bacchus himself. I didn’t start imbibing in alcoholic beverages until my early twenties but in that amount of time I had worked at a couple different restaurants until I settled into The Beachside Cafe. A high end, award winning, fine dining establishment that had a killer Sommelier, Mark Davidson, a tremendous Chef, Carol Chow and, in Janet Maguire, a successful and compassionate owner.
My past experiences allowed me a rare privilege. I was working in the both the kitchen, as a garde manger and, serving in the front of the house. I learned from the greats. Senior servers who had poured more bottles than you could shake a cork at and a Sommelier who was instrumental in guiding me through the world of wine ( thank you Mr. Davidson ). Years later I moved backed to Victoria and took up work at a great spot called Suze. They had hired me as a bartender but one day the dishwasher called in sick so I volunteered to fill in. That service we got slammed and they needed someone to prep veg, that is, cut vegetables. I was on it and I think they were impressed because, the next day, I was relieved of my bar position, given a kitchen spot and also took tables 4 nights a week. My appreciation for the industry runs deep and I was thankful to be a part of it. I still have the same Pulltap’s corkscrew, or crank as they call it in the biz and, since my tenure in the industry, it has continued to open bottles of all varietals. The universe of wine is as endless as the imagination and the pocket book will allow but, if you are abound upon it’s magnificent waters already, stay fast and make sure the cutlass by your side is tempered enough to release corks from their glass home with grace and style. Save the cardboard boxes for packing and you will be rewarded for your actions. Long live the vine!
“Don’t front…You know I got you open…” Buc Shot from Black Moon
For a great video on how to properly open a bottle of wine, click here!
Here’s some more ways to get cranked up: