Friday, June 6, 2008

Our F&B heroes


It's the school holidays now, is it?

Anyway, although this entry is an advertorial, I thought it is really cool coz it just so happens to be on a topic that I can talk about!!

It is about joining the F&B industry!

My first job ever, at the age of 15, was to be a banquet waitress.

No photo of me in my uniform, sorry! Anyhow put other people

Erm, if I don't remember wrongly, together with a couple of friends from school, I joined the banqueting team at Sheraton Towers, since it is one of those jobs that 15 yr olds can do.

Subsequently, I did waitressing for another 5 or 6 years until I was 21!

The hotels I worked at includes Ritz Carlton, Pan Pacific, Marriot, New Park, Hyatt... etc.

I did normal waitressing at Breeks too.

Recently I had a startling revelation when I spoke to a friend of mine, who is two years older than me. She's now working at an ad firm (I think), and she told me she honestly would not have minded working as a waitress for the rest of her life coz she really enjoys doing it.

My startling revelation was that... the best job I ever did was waitressing too!! That's besides blogging, which I guess is not really counted as a job.


Because it is damn fun!!

What's there not to like?

1) Working with friends!

Everyone there was around my age and I loved to gossip with the girls and flirt with the guys.

Haha!! Sometimes the guys will be very nice and help the girls carry the heavy stuff too, which was awesome!

Before work started, all the girls do their make-up, hair and uniform up in the locker rooms. While doing that we borrow each other's hair gel, u-pins etc and gossip about other people. Fun!

2) Food!

I remember that my banqueting days were riddled food-stealing, which is quite unorthodox, but hey, everyone does it lor!!

When a platter of food is leftover on the table, I used to gobble up whatever is left before giving the platter to the wash ladies.

THE PLATTER IS CLEAN HOR! I gave out all the food to people's side-dishes so it's ok to steal food from the platters!! It's all going to waste anyway, I might as well eat it right?!

Best not get caught by the managers though, although some managers are really nice and will allow leftovers to be eaten - sometimes. Those days were awesome!!

I must have eaten tens of lobsters, litres of shark's fin, globs and globs of mango pudding, and a few hundred bowls of ee-fu noodles. (Freaking delicious)

My favourite is still Ritz's cod-fish though. It is bloody 5 cm thick and drenched in cream sauce. OMG!!!!!!!!!!

Picture of random cod-fish

Ahem. Just to be politically correct, I don't recommend people to be a waiter just for gobbling (excess, I stress) food like I did. But for me, it is only of the biggest pull-factors la, coz I am a glutton! Haha

3) Happy events.

Even if my day's really shitty, I love working because customers are always in a good mood.

Be it a wedding, or a company D&D, or just dinner between two people, customers are always expectant of a good time.

Pic taken at Conrad at my cousin Cally's wedding
where you can see me on stage being the host

Digressing, I shall post up a few pictures more of the wedding. People now already got baby already lor! I dunno why I never did post her wedding photos up - guess I was damn lazy or something.

Momo, Jerry (groom), Cally (bride), me, and Mike

My cousin is super chio!!

As I was saying...

It's hard to be grumpy when you see people getting married, or drunk office people dancing with each other.

Often, banquets also have entertainment in-between too! This is the time when food does not have to be served, so I would just stand back and watch people make the groom do funny stuff. More entertaining than TV lor.

When I see customers so happy, I also want to give them good service, and it really brightens me up when they smile back at me!!

4) Job satisfaction.

Some of you who have never worked as a service staff before are probably scoffing. What f-ing job satisfaction is there in serving some food and refilling drinks?

I'm telling you now, the job satisfaction I've gotten from waitressing FAR EXCEEDS any other job satisfaction I had doing anything else!

Instead of waiting for a dumb boss to realise your talents, your job satisfaction from waitressing is solely dependent on your performance to your customers!

I think almost nothing beats a newly-wedded couple shaking my hand at the end of their wedding night and saying that my good service made it a very enjoyable and memorable wedding dinner for them...

or getting an angpow with a thank you note, including my name, at the end of the night. Really. Quite touching.

I am always surprised at how good service really gets appreciated. You'd think Singaporeans are a rude and expectant bunch, but it's really not the case!

Also, job satisfaction obviously comes from doing better than your peers, and at every restaurant I worked at, I always strive to be the most outstanding one so I can be the VIP server!!

(And I am proud to say, most of the time, I am. HAHAHA!~ I am awesome.)

Of course, being VIP server is also more slack la, haha!! During Banqueting I get to be the first person walking into the aisle with the dish during fanfare lor!! Quite shiok the attention.

Which brings me to the next point:

5) Famous people.

Who will you serve tomorrow? It's always a mystery and different everyday, so it's always exciting!

I've served MM Lee Kwan Yew twice and President SR Nathan once and PM Lee Hsien Loong twice!!

Then there are celebrities too, such as Nicholas Tse's sister getting wedded, so her parents were there. I even served food inside the Istana once! So fun!!

All in all, I think more people should give the F&B service industry a try! To me, it sure beats an office job as every day is definitely something different.

There are different catergories of course, besides waitressing: Chef, bartender, pastry chef, and restaurant manager are just some examples.

The number of restaurants in Singapore has grown from 3,821 to over 4,489 since 2000. The number of employees has risen from 52,180 in 2000 to over 70,441!! Sounds like a pretty good sector for a career, if you ask me.

Please, people with cooking talents should just pursue a career as a chef! Good chefs are loved by everyone lor!

MAYBE I SHOULD BECOME A CHEF! I could be good!!! I can follow recipes well! And I'm going to persist in not using parsley in any of my dishes!

But I guess being a chef is really not easy. Not only does one have to whip up dishes double-quick, one also has to constantly come up with new menus, as well as manage all the kitchen staff, not burn down the place, etc.

That's why I love Indulgz's chef!! She is constantly coming up with new stuff, never puts any parsley into my food (she remembers!!), and not to mention the service and ambience there is really awesome. :D

p/s: I've interacted with thousands of people during my stint in F&B, and it has taught me so much! And not to mention, I can cut up a fish, like, super expertly. Really!! Haha!

p/p/s: Have you appreciated your waiting staff today!?!?!? Just call them by their name on their name tags and that will guaranteed make their day.

Get to know more about the F&B industry at