*All names used in this story are made up.
“You will call me Dr. Older, you will call my wife Mrs. Older, and you will call our son, Dan, Dan,” says my new master.
So the Private Chef thing was a total bust. Made it in and out of that gig pretty quick! There were most certainly perks. I got to get out of the city and hang out in an actual house, I traveled on the Metro North train (a vast improvement from the Subway), and my hours were pretty incredible. Now this seems to craft a good argument as to why this was an OK job, however, if you add in the demands for dog walking, babysitting, and general slave driving, the perks don’t seem so bright anymore. This job was definitely not a descriptor of Private Chef. This was the role of hired help. Let me paint a little picture for ya. These people were freakin’ crazy.
• I was scolded for not personally delivering the 2-3 snacks per evening that I had made their 13-year-old son.
• I was called into his office for a chat about how I had completely overstepped my boundaries by asking his brother-in-law for directions home one night. He called me “horrendous” for doing that.
• I was paid hourly. I staid an extra hour one night to DOG SIT while they went to temple. I charged them for the extra hour. He accused me the following week for “nickel and diming” them.
• They had me enter through the back door. Sheesh.
In the end, I made the decision not to return the night of the unbuttered bread. It was an interesting evening in that Dr. Older was coming home late after picking his oldest son up from college. They had requested linguini with clams, steak au poivre, wilted greens, glazed carrots, and a big salad for this special homecoming. I was totally up to the task and had made all of these things before. In the middle of all this cooking, I also made Dan two snacks. As I was beginning to plate everything, Dan came into the kitchen and pulled of a piece of baguette. He walked over to me, held the bread in my face and asked, “Can you butter this for me?” My natural self was saying inside, “Boy, you GOT to be kidding me. Butter it your damn self!” However, I was in a circus funhouse of overly entitled moderately wealthy weirdos, so I held my tongue and simply said, “I can’t right now Dan. I’m just in the middle of something. It would be a huge help if you could butter it for me. Thanks so much!” Weeeelllll, lets just say this didn’t go over well. Twenty minutes later I got a call from Dr. Older asking me to explain to him the “Bread Incident.” I told him that for fear of overcooking the clams or flambéing the entire kitchen, that yes, I asked Dan to please butter his own bread. He began to raise his voice and said, “YOU DON’T HAVE THE OPTION TO SAY NO.” I tried a little more to plead a fair case, but he was not hearing a peep I was saying. He demanded that I “go into Dan’s room and apologize to him.” He suggested that I do this and then call him back on his cell after I made things right and I could have my job back tomorrow.
I hung up the phone, finished cooking and plating everything, cleaned up to the best of my ability, called a cab, grabbed my knives and caught the next train home, never to return.
The following day I went to his office to pick up what he called my “remuneration” for the week. Naturally, he was not present, but had left an envelope with his assistant. I opened the envelope to find that he had failed to pay for my travel expenses as he had promised. I thought this unacceptable and decided to wait for him to return to discuss the envelope contents. Bad idea? Probably.
I won’t go into the whole scene, but here is an excerpt:
“I told you that you could have kept your job if you had apologized to Dan and then called my cell phone.”
“Apologize for what, exactly?”
“For not helping him with his food.”
“I fixed him two snacks that evening. You mean you wanted me to apologize to him for not buttering his bread.”
“You wanted me to apologize for not buttering a your teenagers bread? For not buttering his bread? Do you realize what that sounds like? Do you actually hear those words being uttered?”
I suppose the entitled thing to do in a conversation such as this would be to just exit stage left. So he did just that. He got up and walked out of his own office while I sat there alone a little befuddled but content. I waited for a few more minutes and he never returned to his post, so I left with my envelope and a tiny bit of pride.