PEI is a very small province so it is kind of funny that one of the most famous people on the island (apart from Anne of Green Gables of course) is a very large person. Chef Michael Smith is from New York but he lives on PEI, has had 4 TV shows and 4 cookbooks, so he's quite a local celebrity around here. Last night he came into Rufus and Rory's for dinner with a small group of people to try the food and atmosphere for the first time. I was lucky enough to be the one to serve him his meal.
I've heard conflicting opinions about him from different sources and have yet to make my own opinion about the guy. I know that he volunteers a lot of his spare time and energy to promote buying local foods and also promote healthy eating in the schools and community. I highly approve of both of those efforts. Plus I have spent many hours watching his television shows so I feel a bond to him as I watch him travel around the world and share his culinary experiences with the his viewers. I will admit that I was very impressed with my experience last night at work. He was very polite and courteous to me which I appreciated. When the little girl at the table wanted to ride our antique tricycle he asked if she could ride it instead of just letting her have her way with it (like most parents do which drives me nuts since it's not supposed to be ridden!) I could tell that he was strict with making sure that his son was a healthy eater by making sure he ate a salad before having the hamburger. They also ordered extra sides of vegetables to fill the kids up with instead of fries and they didn't have the customary candies that are delivered to the table with the bill. Way to go Mr. Smith!
I think it's funny how we get all weird around celebrities. At first I was a little nervous when I approached the table but after a minute thought, "Why are you nervous? Don't be dumb!" Then I calmed down after that because if anything, it should be the cooks that should be nervous. However, I did go into a bit of a cleaning frenzy which is rather hilarious. My co-worker used to work at an upscale restaurant in Vancouver and she waited on people such as John Travolta, Kirsti Alley and K.D Lang. I wonder how I would react to serving people such as that? Probably cool and calm to their face but then all giggly behind the safety of the kitchen doors.
We worry about making fools of ourselves in front of famous people which is silly because the chances of that person remembering you is pretty slim. I think it's harder to sustain a good front when you are around someone all of the time whom you admire because he/she will know you and hopefully remember you and you want him/her to think well of you. I had a professor that I especially admired and I never wanted to look dumb in front of her or show any weakness, which is hard because you nearly kill yourself doing papers for the class because you strive for greatness. Perhaps one should always try to work for people they highly admire so that they seek high expectations of their work and themselves. Now there's a thought.
And I know what you're all wondering. Yes, he left me a very generous tip.