"Research methods" in your study of Daniel
Posted 08 August 2002 - 11:39 AM
How did you collect and formulate your observations? Note-taking on the spot or later, tape-recording? Video?
Did you plan in detail how you were going to observe? Did you hope to remain a fly on the wall, or did you partcipate in things as you observed?
Did you formally interview staff, or just glean information as it happened.
Lastly, what was the most awkward moment in your role as an observer that you didn't antcipate?
Posted 08 August 2002 - 05:02 PM
I also sat down and formally interviewed many staff members. For more description of this, please see Andy Lynes's "Interviews" question.
As for the most awkward moment, I can think of two. The first was when I was observing at the podium, where the host or hostess greet the guests. I've never worked in the front of the house at a restaurant, and when the hostess had stepped away to seat someone, a couple came to the podium. For a horrible moment I thought I'd actually have to help them! Sounds silly, but it's very much like being on stage, and I was much more comfortable blending into the woodwork. In fact I was always more comfortable in the kitchen than in the front of the house. I said "Good evening" in my most soothing voice, petrified, and then the hostess came back just in the nick of time and took over.
The other was during a gala dinner celebrating Boulud's twenty years in America. I was helping plate dishes, assembly-line style (which they have to do for banquets), doing easy stuff like placing herb garnishes on the plates, unstacking bowls, etc., when suddenly sous-chef Frederic Cote shoved a squeeze bottle in my hand, and asked me to squeeze an arc of sauce on each plate. Sounds simple, but I didn't have the touch, and Fred showed me four or five times how he wanted it, and each time I'd either squeeze out too big a blob, make too long a line, or some other disastrous thing. He took back the bottle and said, "Never mind."