A down-and-out musician chops off his hair to become a server at the top of the Hollywood food chain, discovering a cloistered world of money, fame, bad behavior, and intrigue.
Waiter to the Rich and Shameless is not just a peek into the secretive inner workings of a legendary five-star restaurant; it is not just a celebrity tell-all or a scathing corporate analysis. It is a top-tier waiter's personal coming-of-age story, an intimate look into the complicated challenges of serving in the country's most elite, Hollywood-centric dining room while fighting to maintain a sense of self and purpose.
Of the many millions of food service workers around the globe, only a tiny number ever ascend to a top-level position at a world-renowned restaurant catering to iconic celebrities, moguls, and politicians. As one of those select few, Paul ("Pauli") Hartford is the first waiter to open the door into a cloistered, coveted world of money, fame, bad behavior, and intrigue. He peels back the veneer of civility and culture at the nation's most preeminent celebrity hangout, the Cricket Room, in Beverly Hills, California. He exposes the epic human foibles of its elite clientele, the dining room's corrupt corporate culture, its clandestine culinary practices, and the heartbreaking struggles of its beleaguered waitstaff.
This keenly-observed story also traverses Pauli's 10-year evolution from a jaded, party-hungry rock musician who moonlights as a bartender, into a snobbish and pretentious waiter, and finally into a polished and sophisticated server who takes his job so seriously that it drives him to the brink of illness. Pauli finds himself at first seduced by his famous guests' glamour and self-indulgence, then accustomed to it, and finally appalled by it.
For obvious reasons, some details and specifics about the real Cricket Room have been cleverly disguised, but discerning listeners will easily connect the dots.
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- Colin McIntosh