Dishing The Dirt On Banquet Waste
Writers spill the beans after working as part-time waitresses at four hotels
AT TRADITIONAL Chinese banquets, nine-course meals are a norm. After all, food in abundance signifies good hosting skills and prosperity.
Realistically however, such banquets are largely a social platform where old classmates, relatives and colleagues get busy showing off their bling or playing catch up.
The nine-course meal? A mere time filler.
“You want to know how much waste there is? Go to any hotel function and see for yourself,” challenged chef Joseph Quek, 42, who has been working in the food industry for 25 years.
And so we did.
Under aliases, we took part-time jobs as banquet waitresses to investigate the scale of food wastage at these feasts.
Prior to that, we checked ourselves into an established hospitality training school in Outram and took typhoid jabs, a compulsory vaccination for all food handlers in Singapore that prevents diseases from food or water contamination.
The crash-course four-hour training we received from the school was barely relevant to what the job entailed. The first two hours involved lots of waiting, verifying of our identities and pedalling of the banquet uniform (the quintessential black skirt and pants).
When the real training eventually commenced, we were taught banquet jargon and how to converse with guests in proper English (for the benefit of the group who consisted of 90 per cent Chinese nationals). As it turned out, those were merely peripheral knowledge compared to the trick of the trade – food portioning.