Food and Beverage Lessons for Pirates

The Common Places of Siliconía
5 min readOct 5, 2023

by MAIJAX, Captain of the Pirate Ship M68

Preface — I write like an English speaking version of Gilles Deleuze. If you don’t understand a reference, that’s ok. It’s on purpose. You’re supposed to go and look it up. Don’t be a lazy fuck. Be a debrouillard. DBs are badasses. Be a badass.

0. Calling it “The Service Industry” makes no sense in the post 1973-Yom-Kippur world where nobody makes anything except for the Communists, where everything is a fucking service, and we just build calluses on our knees, lips and palms as we service the 1% finance asshats. Ergo, we don’t work in the Service Industry, we work in Hospitality, Food, and Beverage. But fuck them hotel people. We’re Food and Beverage — FnB.

  1. in the time it takes you to complain or criticize, you could probably quietly fix the problem.
  2. Never match angry with angry, match angry with formality.
  3. Which is better — tight mise or tight pussy? Tight mise. Mise earns you money. Money earns you stability. Stability attracts pussy
  4. Decide if you want to pour ice before liquor or liquor before ice. Do either one consistently. You’re either a Little-Endian or a Big-Endian. Only fools will argue there’s a damn bit of difference. I used to think that FnB was an Odyssey. In reality, it’s Gulliver’s Misadventures. But, fuck those liquor before ice bitchasses. Corporate shills ho-ing by the drop. Fuck those guys. ICE BEFORE LIQUOR RIDE AND DIE!
  5. Guest or mise? Guest, but mise creates automaticity. Automaticity creates unthought. Unthought creates joy. Joy creates money.
  6. “Beware of whores who say they don’t want money. The hell they don’t. They want more money. Much more money.” William S. Burroughs. Beware of houses who say it isn’t about the money…
  7. No one can multitask, only multithread.
  8. The moonlight life can kill you. The sunlight life can kill you too.
  9. Return your mise to zero with every completed order. If you share a work space with someone who doesn’t, suffer. Because they are probably too stupid to understand the concepts of automaticity and will resent you pointing it out to them.
  10. Say, do. You have dram law liability if your guest kills a family of four. You are basically a ship captain. Joseph Hazelwood of The Exxon Valdez didn’t do shit wrong. He still got blamed for those cute oil soaked sea birds. Why? He was the captain. He was responsible. You must take absolute responsibility for everything at a table. Or bartop. Don’t blame dish. Even when it is dish’s fault. That is called a mitigating factor. Mitigating factors are a bitch. Make jokes out of them.

11. You must not be afraid of being busy. Busy is joy. Busy is life. Busy is cash. Busy is freedom. You must be afraid of the weeds. .

12. The weeds is when your OODA Loop can no longer accurately assess the number of things on your to do list. The weeds is the opposite of automaticity.

13. At the end of the day, it’s just fucking food. Anybody who uses a restaurant or bar to demean another person (a la Gordon Ramsey or the chefs at Nick and Sam’s) is a loser asshole. They should be taunted as such, not respected.

14. Food writing without science and specificity is the adult equivalent of bringing Mac and cheese to show and tell.

15. Molecular Gastronomy is both really awesome and superfucking stupid. Hyper regional artisan everything is the same antimony.

16. The Weeds are not caused by busy. The weeds are caused by some other asshole not doing his own running side work.

17. Six Sigma is designed to create machined parts which fail once in a billion times. Human beings are more complex. Fully 2% of your tables will be completely fucked. How you handle that is up to your experience, grace, and house culture. This is two percent theory.

18. Leave the woman by the river. Don’t get pissed at situations which have passed. You will enter an auto-catalytic loop of increasing anger and forget about the rest of your tables.

19. Spirit — Mixer. Spirit. Fucking. Mixer. Call it this way. Make it this way. Fuck that California school of bartending that says you put the mixer first. Those people are hippies. Fuck hippies. Also, as a guest, don’t be that “cranberry — vodka” fuck head. It confuses the bartender. The bartender is trying to keep eleventy-nine drink orders straight in their head. Molly Smutrust, Weekend Drinker, orders drinks link this. Molly Smutrust fucks up the flow. Do not be Molly Smutrust.

20. It’s not a profession. It’s not a vocation. It’s a job. So do it perfectly. That way you can leave it at the door and live your life on your days off. Let MGMT take on that. They exchanged uncertain money for stable money.

21. BOH used to be felons who weren’t allowed to touch money. Food TV changed that. But there’s still a hierarchy. Shhhhh…. ;)

22. Learn what a debrouillard is. Learn where that word comes from. Read that book. You don’t know shit about food culture until you do.

23. Be a debrouillard.

24. Foodie is boogie as fuck. “I’m a foodie” means a person has conflated healthy eating with the literal fetishization of literal commodities. Literally. Not literally the way dipshits. breathlessly say “I was literally devastated.” But rather the literal fetishization of a literal commodity. The foodie then goes and identifies their self with things they purchase. The foodie has achieved some sort of perfect Frankfort School Adorno like Enlightenment. But it is the Light of Hell.

25. The hydrocarbon based Neoliberal economy we live in will probably destroy globalized human society and most mammalian megafauna by 2100. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

26. Restaurants (Or bars) are a wonderful place to learn how to think holistically — that is in terms of systems. But there is always that one guy who burns everything down over a stapler.

27. Restaurant service is the last universal common experience in an America whereas only 1% of the populace has served in the military. And 2% of the population are farmers. Some form of unifying experience must be compulsory in American life or the country will dis-integrate.

28. TGIF started as a place the owner could go to pick up chicks. Sushi is about as old as my grandmother. Salmon is not supposed to be eaten raw. Argentines put salt and tooth pick shakers on their tables. Irish cuisine is surprisingly good.

29. Take allergies seriously. I once watched a chick go into anaphylactic shock because she absent mindedly sipped on a boyfriends gin gimlet. She had a citrus allergy.

30. Sweat the small stuff.