Mise-en-Place: Daunte Wright

From the perspective of a long time bartender/waiter the Daunte Wright shooting is really pertinent to things that FnB folks do all the time. Which makes it even more ridiculous/heartbreaking.

1. The cops were clearly pretexting by pulling Wright over for the expired tags and the air freshener. He had warrants and had jumped bail, but seriously, y’all? Air Freshener?

Pretexting was something we did all the time at Houston St. I normally used it AFTER somebody started acting a fool in the bar. As any bartender will tell you, the place to handle a problem is OUTSIDE the bar. Get the problem out of the bar and if it continues, then you escalate. This generally occurred after a big MMA fight with dude-bros (of all colors) thinking they were also Punchy Grapple Ninjas. Pretexting is a neutral duel use protocol. It can be used to de-escalate a potential problem by removing one or both of a pair about to get into a conflict. It can also be used by asshole bars on McKinney Ave to enforce racist “dress codes”. I’m not really telling everyone shit you didn’t already know. But here’s something you may not know

2. The arrangement of a station on the line in a kitchen is known as “mise-en-place”. Any chef and most bartenders will tell you that “mise is life”. Mise-en-place is considered tight or slack. “Which is better — tight mise or tight pussy? TIght mise. Cuz tight mise gets you money. Money gets you pussy.”

Good mise-en-place enables you to produce from your station with automaticity. You don’t have to look to make the watermelon radish/frisé salad or the manhattan. One of the ways you create good mise is to properly stow your gear. Every thing has a place in its place. Just like a boat. That way you don’t waste a single second looking for your tools. Automaticity is speed itself.

These are not extravagant war metaphors. They ARE martial vocabulary. Food and Beverage is War as Comedy. I’m not exaggerating. The entire modern restaurant is derived from August L’Escoffier’s experience providing meals for the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War. He then went and created the brigade system, which is the basis for the modern restaurant. Food and Beverage is in fact, no bullshit, a martial art. Food and Beverage is very much the foyer to 江湖 underworld. There is much good in this and much bad. (I will expand on this later.)

3. Your average waiter has no fucking clue of all this background. I, however, am obviously not your average waiter. But a good waiter does know not to be a shitback. This means to put shit back. Put everything back in its place all the time, every time. A good waiter will also keep their own body mised. A Waiter’s uniform is a waiter’s workstation. I work in a very unique restaurant where we wear tuxedos. On my own uniform, my crumber and wine key are ALWAYS In my top left pocket. My notebook is ALWAYS in my left inner pocket, my lighter is ALWAYS in my bottom right pocket. And so on and so forth. I’ve gotten so fastidious about this that it extends to how I place things in my pockets outside of work. But I swore an oath to Lucas Ortigoza never to give away the secrets of Mexican Judo.

4. Bringing this all together — Kimberly Ann Potter had shit mise-en-place. Her uniform was the same all day everyday. He tazer was on the opposite hip of her firearm. She is a veteran cop. She goddamn well knows where her gun is. You could replace Kimberly Ann Potter with any half-drunk, coked up waiter from ANY fine dining restaurant in America and Daunte Wright would still be alive today. Granted he’d be in jail for jumping bond, but that’s a fuck load better than getting executed by the side of the road over the proper installation of air freshener.