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Ian Sane

Team Player

A few years back I had an interview for Kitchen Manager, during the meeting the owner asked who I felt was the most important part of the team.
My reply was 'the dishwasher.'
First he raised his eyebrows in disbelief, then he started laughing.
Thinking I had made a funny joke, he said 'I never heard that before, that is hilarious!'
Then he noticed I wasn't smiling or laughing and he asked 'are you serious?'
I explained that with so much experience in the industry I had learned that the dishwasher position is really the most crucial element of any restaurant.
First of all, without the clean dishes, I cannot serve food to anyone. 
When it gets busy and no one has time to do anything but the task at hand, it is always the dishwasher who gets the job of 'clean that up', or 'take this'. 
The dishwasher stands on their feet for the whole shift. 
Sprayed by hot water, getting steam in the face, picking up broken glass, yelled at for clean dishes and equipment.
They must always keep the area clean and free from dangerous objects or harmful debris.
As part of their duties they will wash the kitchen, wash the floors, clean the bathrooms and remove the garbage.
They also get the lowest pay on the staff, usually receiving little or no tips.
So I have a huge amount of respect for the dishwasher.  
The owner hired me.
He also said it gave him something to think about. 
After a few months he said to me, 'You are right, the dishwasher is the most important part of this business, because without them we cannot function as a team.' 
I KNOW it is the job that keeps the business open and running smoothly.
Every part of the staff is important of course, but the person who does the dishwasher job and keeps smiling, has to be the most important or it will all fall apart.
A chef has no time for dishes. Servers are too busy taking orders and serving. Managers only have time to make sure everything is going properly. 
Everyone has a specific thing to be doing and some even have diplomas to prove it. 
But the dishwasher is the glue that holds it all together.
Over the years, I became aware that no matter what your job is, you should always try your best. 
Never let insult get you down. 
All jobs have importance and no one person is better than anyone else because they have a title or a certificate. 
A diploma or a degree is not a license to be hurtful or insulting to others. 
The janitor, the dishwasher, the cleaner, the garbage collector. Each one has a very important role and you should always respect that. 
Maybe when I started out as a dishwasher, I was fortunate to learn these ideas, they still ring true today. 


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