For Want of a Waiter

by TheDriderPony

Chapter 1: An Outside Perspective

I’m rather surprised you’d want to interview me, of all ponies. I mean, I didn’t start working there until after the big fiasco everypony’s been talking about. Wouldn’t you rather interview my boss, or maybe his daughter? They were there. They can tell you more than I could.

A ‘unique perspective’ you say? Well, if you say so. Where would you like me to start?

Me? But I wasn’t even involved before- alright, alright. You’re the professional reporter not me. Let’s see then.

My name is Cultured Cuisine. I’ve lived in Canterlot all my life, nearing on twenty-five years now. Like many ponies in this part of the city, I and my family are in the food services industry. My late father was a pastry chef and my mother runs a restaurant on Restaurant Row where my eldest brother is head waiter.


Oh, The Prench Chef. Fifth one down on the North side of the street.

Anyway, all of my brothers are waiters at various locals along the Row. Yes, yes, we’re all very proud of them. I was the youngest and had yet to find… employment which lived up to my family’s standards.

No, I couldn’t apply anywhere else on the Row.

Because my brothers work there.

Yes, all of them.

Sigh… we’re identical septuplets. It happens.

Yes it does.

It’s rare, alright?

Look, you asked me to come to this interview, so do you want to keep talking about my irregular family or do you want to hear about what happened?

Great. Where was I again?

‘Unemployed’ is a tad harsh I think. I was… between jobs, let’s say. But nevermind that. Now, I’d heard of the Tasty Treat before -literal hole-in-the-wall place, if you catch my drift- but I never thought to apply there. Mother would never approve. Her last son, serving food to a place without a single hoof review? While all my brothers worked at places with three-hoof ratings? I’d be disowned. But I have a friend; name’s Wallflower. She works over at Pennyfeather’s Painters and Paper Hangers. You know how all the top rated restaurants on the Row have a similar layout and color scheme? They’re the ones who do it.

Anyway, she tells me they just finished a ‘Zesty’s Special’ as they like to call it. A real rush job too. So I think to myself, “Cultured, this could be your chance. First new place opening in months and it looks all set to be another three-hoofer.” So I trot home to pick up a copy of my resume and one of my brother’s uniforms. A quick trim of the moustache, and I was off.

Once I got there it was getting on in the evening and getting difficult to see. I was just about to go inside and present myself, when who should come storming out but Zesty Gourmand herself, and she was not happy. There was some sort of orange liquid which had visibly seeped into the fur around her muzzle and was dripping slowly off her chin. So I did the logical thing and hid around the corner.

Well, so she wouldn’t see me while angry and ban me from being employed anywhere reputable!

Well, maybe she can. I don’t know. She wields a lot of power for a single pony. I didn’t want to take any chances.

So I headed home. Well, more like I wandered dejectedly around the culinary district for a while, thinking over my choices in life that brought me to that point. That’s when I ran into Wallflower, dead on her hooves. Turns out, the same restaurant hired her again, only this time to completely undo all the changes they’d made that afternoon. But, work was work and they didn’t ask for a refund so she wasn’t complaining. I didn’t think much of it and finally made my way home, as it was getting very late.

Mother wasn’t home, surprisingly. Luckily my brother Stellar Service was, and he filled me in. Apparently, nearly all the big name chefs from up and down the Row had closed up early to go to the re-re-opening of the same place I had been at earlier. Smoking Grill from the Smoked Oat apparently had some customers almost walk out without paying, and they told him about the new place. Then he told Raw Fire about it since they’re neighbors and close friends. Somehow Good Eats found out they were going, and of course he just had to tell my mother. Her and Raw’s restaurants are right across from each other, and they’ve had this intense rivalry thing going for years, but they begrudgingly respect each other’s abilities as chefs. But you can be sure if Raw Fire was going to check out the new competition, then Buttery Baker would be hot on his heels.

But Mother, for all her goodness, is a bit of a gossip. By which I mean she told every other chef she knew on the way there. But that was as much as Stellar knew, and he only knew that much since all our other brothers had already come home and personally seen the word spread from place to place, and how chef after chef had left closing up to the staff to go investigate the newcomers.

Why’d they all go? Well, when practically everypony is making the same dish you need to stay on top of what’s new. What if the Queen of Cuisine liked the place and decided its dishes were the only thing worth eating? They had to be ready to adjust to her tastes at a moment’s notice.

Yes, I know she’d already dismissed the place, but they didn’t.

You’re right, it does sound like a very strange system when you spell it out like that. But that’s how things had been for years, and sometimes you do things for so long you forget exactly why you do them or how things used to be before. You get used to it.

Anyway, it was about then that Mother got home, happier than I’d seen her in years. But I’m sure you know why. You’ve probably heard all about it from Saffron and Mr. Cumin. I hear they’re starting to call it the “Restaurant Row Revolution” now. All the chefs unitedly defying Zesty Gourmand’s opinions, speeches about going back to cooking dishes they haven’t made in years over fear of her rejection, all that jazz. I heard the Elements of Harmony were there for some reason, but that was probably just the rumor mill. Mother was especially excited. She used to be a culinary instructor you see, but she hadn’t actually done any Prench cooking in years. She ordered my brothers out of bed, and frog-marched us all up to the attic where she kept all her old cookbooks. Which we then had to carry downstairs. She was up the whole night relearning all her old favorites and completely overhauling her restaurant’s menu. The one other thing she spent time doing that night was raving over the Tasty Treat, and how it would even be an honor to lose some business to them.

I took that as a good sign, and when she finally began to wind down, I snuck out. It was nearly dawn when I left. Judging by the smells of the nearby houses, mother wasn’t the only chef to pull an all-nighter relearning her craft. Seems everypony on the block had. I made my way to the Tasty Treat, which somehow still had a few customers lingering about. The grand re-re-opening ceremony had gone all night it seemed. As I entered, the smell hit me. The aroma was tantalizing, savory with strong flows of spices I couldn’t begin to identify. Miss Saffron offered me a seat, and although the fatigue of serving ponies all night long showed clearly on her face, she still offered a welcoming smile. I politely declined and offered her my resume instead, asking if they had need of any additional stiff. She seemed a tad surprised and maybe a little reluctant but she took my resume and said she and her father would discuss it.

The rest, as they say, is history. With every other chef talking them up, the Tasty Treat soon had more business than they could handle. They hired me on within three days, and I’ve been working here since.

Yes, it’s a great environment. Excellent food aside, it’s the most welcoming atmosphere anywhere on the Row. I’m more than proud to work here.

Well it was a pleasure meeting you too. I’m sorry I couldn’t be of any more help, but like I said, I wasn’t there for the main event. I’m just the waiter. Good luck with your article, I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of your paper when it comes out. What was it called again?

Ah, yes. Well, thank you again. And remember, if you’re ever hungry and in the area, The Tasty Treat is the place to go for a truly unique dining experience.

Author's Notes:

I'm not totally happy with how this came out. Consider it an experiment in writing styles. It took a rather bland turn from where I meant it to go, but it's best to get episode based stories out quickly before their newness fades. At least I accomplished my goal of justifying why all the waiters looked the same.

Also, I know this isn't the Flurry Heart sequel many people have been asking for, but something along those lines may be in the works in the coming [insert unit of time here].

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