A Waiter's Requiem
University of Minnesota Press
On Sale: October 24, 2023
Hardcover / e-Book
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A witty and humble tribute to the sometimes profane, sometimes profound world of waiting tables
During a year on sabbatical from his university position, Matthew Batt realized he needed money—fast—and it just so happened that one of the biggest breweries in the Midwest was launching a restaurant and looking to hire. So it was that the forty-something tenured professor found himself waiting tables at a high-end restaurant situated in a Minneapolis brewery. And loving it.
Telling the story of Batt’s early work in restaurants, from a red sauce joint possibly run by the mob to an ill-conceived fusion concept eatery, The Last Supper Club then details his experiences at the fine dining restaurant, a job that continued well past his sabbatical—that lasted, in fact, right up to the restaurant’s sudden and unceremonious closing three years later, shortly after it was named one of the best restaurants in the country by Food & Wine.
Batt’s memoir conveys the challenge—and the satisfaction—of meeting the demands of a frenzied kitchen and an equally expectant crowd. Through training mishaps, disastrous encounters with confused diners, struggles to keep pace with far more experienced coworkers, mandatory memorizations of laundry lists of obscure ingredients, and the stress of balancing responsibilities at home and at work, The Last Supper Club reveals the ups and downs of a waiter’s workday and offers an insightful perspective on what makes a job good, bad, or great. For Batt, this job turns out to be considerably more fun, and possibly more rewarding, than his academic career, and his insider’s view of waiting tables extols the significance of our food and the places where we gather to enjoy it—or serve it.
Told with sharp humor, humility, and a keen sense of what matters, The Last Supper Club is an ode to life in a high-pressure restaurant, the relationships that get you to the night’s close, and finding yourself through—or perhaps because of—the chaos of it all.
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