"Before enlightenment: Run food, take orders.
After enlightenment: Run food, take orders."
- Buddhist proverb, author unknown.
So speaks the wisdom of a lost treasure of Eastern thought, "Zen and the Art of Waitering." This recently rediscovered tome, long thought to be lost to the ages (and considered by some to be just a myth), speaks not just to waiters, but to the waiter in all of us (by which I mean, people who are occasionally surly, sometimes discontent, and usually drunk). Funny, compassionate, daring, and eminently useful, “…Waitering” is a guiding light cutting a swath through the darkness and chaos that is the world of professional service. Full of insight (“The first rule of service is thus: The guest cannot conceive of a world outside themselves”), practical advice (“To avoid killing one’s guests, envision them as already dead) and humor (“If a snot is placed in the guest’s pasta carbonara and the guest does not see it, is the snot truly there?”) it is a book who’s goal is to education, enlighten and entertain.
A great read for anyone who likes to eat out and would like a glimpse at what goes on behind the kitchen doors, and a must read for those in the industry themselves, “Zen and the Art of Waitering” may be specific in nature, but it’s principles of non-attachment, non-desire, letting go, and acceptance can be applied successfully to all walks of life. If you've ever felt stuck in a situation suffering the same problems again and again, if you've ever felt forced to put up with your current life just so you can (hopefully) be happy later, or if you've ever felt like you were looking for a window in a locked room, this is a book for you. Also, it’s hella-funny.