Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you're in the food business, holidays can mean big money. What's the worst one to work? I asked a few Valley chefs and restaurateurs and this is what they had to say:
Romeo Taus Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe
Valentine's Day! Guests have unrealistic, heightened expectations. The crew of any restaurant (if you can get them to show up) are expected to be in the "feelings" business and service becomes servitude. There are a few big paydays in our industry and this is the biggest. This makes for a very long day, and we hate to disappoint our crew and guests. I'd rather spend it with my wife!
Chef Anthony Rivera District American Kitchen & Wine Bar
Any chef worth his or her weight in salt will cringe when the thought of Mother's Day creeps up on the calendar. Mother's Day can be a nightmare because everyone takes Mom out for brunch or dinner and holds higher expectations than usual since it's Mom's special day.
Takeshi Triniapoli Corporate Sushi Chef, Kona Grill
New Year's Day, because most employees over-celebrate the night before, causing downgraded performance, punctuality, or both. Nobody likes working with, or managing, a hungover employee.
Farah Khalid Chef and Owner, Curry Corner
My least favorite holiday to work on is Eid, as it is an important holiday and a good time to spend with family and friends. However, its also one of our busiest days of the year! It is one of the days you get to see everybody, as all of the customers that day come for an authentic flavor.
Dave Andrea Owner, Brat Haüs
It used to be Valentine's Day. Lots of two-tops and missed sales because you couldn't seat the other two chairs at a four-top. With all the community seating at Brat Haüs, bring it on!
Chef Stephen Toevs The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix
My absolute least favorite holiday to work is the Fourth of July. Growing up in Bristol, Rhode Island, where they have the oldest continuous Fourth of July parade in the U.S., this holiday is my very favorite. The entire town would literally shut down on the Fourth! I have only worked on the Fourth of July once in my career and desperately missed the celebrations.
Heather Bryan General Manager, Zuzu
Of course, it would have to be Christmas. I personally don't mind working that holiday; it's just so hard to see your staff not being where they want to be.
Christopher Gross, Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
New Year's Eve is my least favorite holiday to work. It's a great business night that can be a lot of fun, but I never get to spend it with my girlfriend. Also, the next day is inventory, which is not so fun when you're tired and hazy from the champagne . . . and maybe a little wine . . . oh, and perhaps some scotch!
Chef Taylor Domet North, Kierland
My least favorite holiday to work is Thanksgiving. I always have a potluck at my parents' house, and this day more than any other seems to be a time to gather with your closest friends.
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Chef Jason Alford, Roka Akor
Sunday. It takes 12 years in the industry to get here. Cheers to Sous-Chef Sundays, Hiya.