For Publishers Weekly, Amy Boaz interviewed Phoebe Damrosch about her new book, Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter.
Their first exchange:
What prompted you to write this book about your experience at Per Se?
I never thought I would be writing a book about waiting tables. I was getting an M.F.A. at Sarah Lawrence when I got a job there — it was so demanding, 70 hours a week. I was writing a lot about my life at the same time, creative nonfiction about food and waiting tables. Any waiter can relate to that, but Per Se is a very different kind of restaurant. The training is so intensive — it’s like being paid to go to culinary school. We had an 18th-century dance specialist teach us how to move in the dining room. It was an exciting idea and the more I wrote about it, the more I realized that I could go on and on writing about the restaurant. At a Barnard College writer’s conference, I heard the agent Molly Friedrich speak — she was so powerful I thought: I want this woman on my side! She passed my idea to [agent] Paul Cirone, and by the end of [my] conversation [with him,] he had sold me on writing the book.
Read the full Q & A.