Jesse's blog 60 - Bartender
As most of you know, I used to be a bartender. The other day, a student asked me how I became a bartender, and why. Today I want to tell you my story of becoming a bartender.
My university was a very special school. It was a school focused only on one thing: philosophy. I am very proud of my school and education, and I think philosophy is something that can help make everybody's life better. However, it's not the most useful education for a career. Most philosophy students go to law school next, and become lawyers or politicians, or they get their masters and become teachers. Philosophy is a strong base for learning other things, but by itself, it's not very useful for making money.
During school, I wanted to work a part time job. Of course, being a philosophy student, there weren't a lot of jobs available. Working in restaurants is a popular thing for university students to do though, since you can work at night, and you usually don't need any kind of special training or experience. I walked around town looking for a place that was hiring, and that's where I met Cappa.
"Cappa" basically means boss, or captain, in Italian. I think her real name was Sylvana, but I'm not sure. We called her Cappa. Cappa was an old Italian woman from Rome, who owned a small but very expensive fine dining restaurant. She told me she doesn't hire waiters or even cleaners without experience, because her restaurant was one of the best in the area. However, she was looking for a bartender.
I was looking for a cleaning job, or maybe a waiter job if I was lucky. Bartending is famous for being the top job in a restaurant, and it's more difficult to get without experience, so I wasn't even trying to find a bartending job. This case was special. Cappa's restaurant, Piccolo Roma (which means "Little Rome") was a fine dining restaurant. There was a bar, but the bar didn't have any seats, so customers don't talk to the bartender. Instead, the waiters order drinks for the tables and get them from the bartender, and bring them to the tables.
In addition, because the food was expensive fine dining, the specialty of the restaurant was wine. Cappa talked to every customer that came into the restaurant about wine, and helped them choose the best wine for their meal. That means the bartender spends most of the night pouring wine, which isn't a very difficult thing to do.
The result was that I wasn't good enough to be a waiter, or a cleaner, but it was ok for me to be a bartender. All I had to do was pour a lot of glasses of wine and give them to the waiters, and every once in a while I made a simple martini. Cappa called me "bumbaloto" which is a kind of Italian doll. She said a bumbaloto's job was to just sit there and look pretty, but was basically useless. Just like me!
After a year working for Cappa, she let me be a waiter also, which made more money than bartending at that kind of place. Fine dining waiter experience plus the experience bartending, even though it wasn't "real bartending", meant that after I graduated university, it was easy for me to get a job as either a waiter or a bartender almost anywhere. I'm lazy, so easy is good for me! I continued bartending and waiting for 10 years after I graduated, at 7 different restaurants and bars.
It was fun, but it's best for young people, and I'm not young any more! It's time to teach!