Tableside service, we love it as much as the next person and happily predicted its come back in our 2018 food trends report. However, as impressive as it can be to see your food carved right before your eyes, your dessert flambéd as guests on starters look on longingly, the pressure of actually cooking next to guests at the table is riddling with potential problems.
You're out of the kitchen, first of all, away from all the comforts you're used to, and you're being watched, by everyone. It's a recipe to go wrong, and that's why it's so impressive when a French waiter expertly debones your fish with one hand, without even looking.
Unfortunately, the chef in the video below knows the pain of tableside service all too well, why? Because his version involves firing steak as gaping guests look on, and the one night it all went wrong, was the one night it was all caught on camera.
He stays incredibly calm, even as the flames start to go as high as the roof, and the nonchalant way in which he adds flammable liquids to the flames before the sprinklers kick in suggests he's done it many times before, with the one exception of causing an entire restaurant shut down.
Guests run, the chef strolls and waiters are seen desperately grabbing umbrellas to keep the remaining diners from getting too wet.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.