THE DINING ROOM

My home. The dining room.

My first contact with this world dates back many years ago: in a restaurant where wedding banquets were held from May to September, with French-style service and maîtres who plated dishes directly at the table. Large trays with various pastas and meats were presented to the table, then the maître would cut the food, divide it into portions and plate it. The waiter then served the dishes. Even at that young age I was fascinated by this role; the maître's communication with the kitchen was essential.

He set the schedule. When I began to have my own dining room... I wasn't an expert, but I knew it was important to communicate with people, because communication is the soul of commerce. Whether you sell fish, something I have continued to do for many years, or you are serving the tables of a restaurant, communication is at the base of everything. I knew how to sell fish, and when I began to work in the dining room of the old restaurant Il Girasole with Viviana in 2004, I did what I knew how to do best: talk. I spoke with customers in the dining room as if they were customers at the fish market. The thing I like most about this job is the fact that people come and find peace.

Today the role of maître is no longer regarded as it once was, and has unfortunately passed into the background. Yet the dining room (maître, waiters, chefs de rang, commis) is just as important as the kitchen, because it must be able to accommodate, communicate and transmit. The dining room staff's task is to know the ingredients that the chef used to make the dishes. The waiter must first have his own knowledge to be able to answer every question and know how to best respond to any customer's curiosity. Knowledge is essential, and is gained when a person is curious. The dining room staff must then learn to use their sense of smell and taste, and always try the dishes prepared by the chef. The sensations experienced are also conveyed through words. You have to try to fall in love with the dish that you are serving, only in doing so will you be able to describe it to the fullest, at the same time trying to convey your passion and culture for food.

Good dining room service is a requisite of complete customer satisfaction. No dish cooked to perfection and presented perfectly can make up for disrespectful service.
Dining room service is the vehicle of communication between the kitchen and the end customer.
Alice Restaurant's dining room staff is all female: from the maître, to the sommelier, to the bartender.

Sandra Ciciriello