Service Included

Service Included

Four-star Secrets of An Eavesdropping Waiter

Book - 2007 | 1st ed
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Baker & Taylor
A behind-the-scenes memoir by a female captain working at a four-star New York City restaurant describes her obsession with food, her love affair with a sommelier, and her observations of the competitive world of fine dining.


Kitchen Confidential meets Sex and the City in this delicious, behind-the-scenes memoir from the first female captain at one of New York City's most prestigious restaurants

While Phoebe Damrosch was figuring out what to do with her life, she supported herself by working as a waiter. Before long she was a captain at the New York City four-star restaurant Per Se, the culinary creation of master chef Thomas Keller.

Service Included is the story of her experiences there: her obsession with food, her love affair with a sommelier, and her observations of the highly competitive and frenetic world of fine dining.

She also provides the following dining tips:

  • Please do not ask your waiter what else he or she does.
  • Please do not steal your waiter's pen.
  • Please do not say you're allergic when you don't like something.
  • Please do not send something back after eating most of it.
  • Please do not make faces or gagging noises when hearing the specials—someone else at the table might like to order one of them.

After reading this book, diners will never sit down at a restaurant table the same way again.

& Taylor

A behind-the-scenes memoir by a first woman captain at a four-star New York City restaurant describes her obsession with food, her love affair with a sommelier, and her observations of the competitive and frenetic world of fine dining. 35,000 first printing.
Damrosch, former waiter at the New York City restaurant Per Se, details her career as a waiter, describing the intimate workings of restaurant table service at its best. Tales of critics and celebrities spice up the memoir with a few tips on how to earn a waiter's respect sprinkled throughout.

Publisher: New York : William Morrow, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780061228148
Branch Call Number: B Damrosch, Phoebe DAM
Characteristics: xii, 228 p. ; 24 cm


From the critics

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lillybkk2015 Sep 09, 2015

Just Okay.

bookfanatic1979 Sep 10, 2013

I had a very difficult time understanding Damrosch’s passion for food, until I recast it in terms I could relate to. Damrosch has a passion for food. I have a passion for books. Damrosch has lists of restaurants she wants to visit. I have three pages of books I want to read. Damrosch doesn’t think it odd to sit for six hours and eat seventeen courses. I’ve been known to devour a series of books one after the other for twice that amount of time. Damrosch drools over the foods showcased in the French Laundry cookbook. If I ever saw the Book of Kells in person they’d need a mop and bucket to clean up after me. Damrosch prefers fine dining to mere diner food. I have no trouble paying more for a hardcover book than the cheaper paperback version. I understand passion. Passion for food, passion for books, passion for whatever it is that makes your life worthwhile. While I don’t share Damrosch’s all-encompassing love and devotion of food and fine dining, I respect her for having it.

Aug 19, 2013

I guess I expected more from the book based on the title. It was well written, and does detail a lot of what happened in her career, the level of training that is needed to work in these high end restaurants and there is a little bit about the clients they serve. I wouldn't say any of this is a secret, no one is really embarassed in this book, nor are there any huge revelations. It's just a pleasant read about this author's experience. Plus some tips for diners are listed throughout the book.

Mar 12, 2011

Had read the book in the Philippines.


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May 22, 2008

For 18 months, Phoebe Damrosch worked at Per Se, a French restaurant in Manhattan owned by Chef Thomas Keller , famous for his west coast restaurant French Laundry. What she learned, she shared with the readers in this engaging memoir/food writing which won her a place on the New York Times 100 Notable Books of the Year, 2007. She also walked off with the restaurant's sommelier. Visit Phoebe at for the latest update on their relationship status.


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