Luke O’Neil: A Bad Taste in the Mouth


Monday, April 15, 2019

The latest virulent intolerance of the liberal sphere came courtesy of Luke O’Neil, a frequent opinion columnist for The Boston Globe. His controversial column piled onto the attacks against former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, attacks that aim to make civil living virtually impossible for her.

In his piece, O’Neil reminisces his waiting days, regretting the opportunity to “piss in Bill Kristol’s salmon.” He goes on to urge those in food service to sabotage the meal of anyone who dares to oppose liberal orthodoxy, stating that they’d be “serving America.”

While this op-ed may seem like just an ordinary run-of-the-mill hate piece against the Trump administration, to me it poignantly highlighted the blindness that liberal journalism has to America’s working class. For the first time in a long time, I was filled with legitimate anger after reading a political article.

For some context, I worked in the trenches of the food industry for seven years. From running my own kitchen to working in a fine dining establishment in Manhattan, I can confidently say that I am an experienced cook.

There is a distinctly different mindset between cooks and wait staff. Cooks and other back-of-the-house staff interact with consumers very little if at all. We even tend to abhor it. All of our priorities lie in a single subject: creating dishes.

For a serious industry cook, neither the customer nor the price really matters. The food industry is grueling work full of struggle, grind, and hustle. From the beginning of the shift, cooks are usually behind and all of our concentration focuses on pumping out dish after dish. Sure, we are given a bit of wiggle room in terms of perfection; the chef tends to only show how to construct a dish a single time and our creativity can influence the presentation, but each dish reflects our work, effort, and pride. To us, it’s a reflection of our value and we expect to be fully compensated for it.

Wait staff, on the other hand, are physically tasked with a single primary purpose: to carry food from point A to point B. Obviously their duties contain a lot more; as a filter, they ensure the customers’ desires are imparted on us with little-to-no frivolity. Since the nature of the job of waiters is not intensely difficult, they are also not expected to make a career out of their profession.

As applied to a majority of urban industry, waiting is simply a thoroughfare between jobs, school semesters, or stages in life. This isn’t downplaying the importance of wait staff. Without them the kitchen, and the restaurant as a whole, cannot function properly. Cooks absolutely need that filter, but most people can fulfill that purpose.

The meager pay of wait staff will often incorporate a tip pool for the hassle of customer interaction, a pool that is rare for the kitchen to see. During my Manhattan days, it was common for a waiter to make in a day what a cook made in a week. That is just the reality of the industry in most large cities. But the idea is also fair as tips are generally a direct transaction between customer and waiter and are a monetary incentive for the low-paid wait staff to strive to offer better service.

Herein lies the problem with O’Neil’s idea. For a waiter to sabotage a dish because of their own selfish desire, they are destroying the hard work of another with little-to-no risk for themselves. Furthermore, the ramifications of the destructive action lies solely on the cook, their reputation, and their continued career.

In the professional cooking world, spitting in food is seen as the ultimate career-killer to any cook. It can be almost assured under most circumstances that those who do so are not only instantly fired, but will have a difficult time regaining employment at any food service establishment which only makes sense. Any staff member who tampers with food products is only a liability to the owner, chef, and the establishment. While wait staff can possibly risk the label, industry cooks cannot.

Sabotage is a direct threat to their continued livelihood.

The liberal, elitist stereotype is always humorous to me as I find it difficult to imagine the type of person who would be predisposed to this worldview, but, after moving to Boston I am frequently in awe at the pure ignorance that some of the ‘elite’ have towards the working class.

It is plainly obvious who values work and who doesn’t, and while Democrats keep attempting to make a push to acquiesce middle class voters, their attitude toward blue-collar America is, ironically, the ‘piss’ in their own dish.

Patrick is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. When not enjoying time with his family, Pat can often be found on Twitter, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, or cooking.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Patrick Sullivan

University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Patrick is currently a student at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and a veteran of the United States Coast Guard. When not enjoying time with his family, Pat can often be found on Twitter, rooting for the Chicago Cubs, or cooking.

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