Spotlight Award: Front of House

Words from Michael Trent, Server at Arable

Photo by Stephanie Cameron

I am incredibly grateful to be receiving this award. I was happy when I found out I had been chosen, but the full gravity of the honor did not really hit me until the awards ceremony in August. I acknowledge that servers play an important role in any restaurant, but I honestly believe every position is equally important. A restaurant is like a finely tuned machine running at full speed. If you take out one tiny gear, the entire thing comes to a halt unless everyone can chip in to carry the extra weight. Still, I am just a server doing my job and it was an honor to be recognized next to other local heroes performing such incredible achievements. August was a big month for me, as I celebrated five years of sobriety. If you had told me five years ago that I would be receiving this award, I would have laughed at the thought. This, to me, is nothing short of a miracle.

There was so much uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic. Like everyone else, we at Arable hoped for the best and feared the worst. I was not expecting the amazing community bonds that ended up forming—I am thankful to all the people who have made us part of their weekly routine during the past eighteen months. The generosity, kindness, and patience they have shown has made these months some of the best times I have ever had at work. One of my favorite experiences is having the opportunity to serve someone for their first meal at Arable; being able to share our locally sourced food and be a part of bringing them into our community is a gift. Many people have moved to Eldorado during the pandemic, and I feel that we have been a sort of welcoming committee to them. Serving them incredible food every week has opened the door to new friendships, and some have even joined the team at Arable when they learned how short staffed we were.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the excellent leadership from Dave Readyhough and Renée Fox. The kindness they show their staff trickles down. There is no separation between front-of-house staff and kitchen staff. We are all friends and do not hesitate to jump in and help each other out. It is not uncommon to see servers helping with the dishes or to see the sous-chef bringing out food. This atmosphere is then carried into the guests’ experience, as we are genuinely happy to have you there so we can share this with you.

In many ways, the fundamental principles of being a server have not changed: quality food and hospitality have stayed our main focus. Whether we are spending a few hours with a guest in the restaurant, or having a quick phone call to place a to-go order, I believe we are still passing on a valuable experience. One of the biggest challenges has been keeping up with the demand. I have such a hard time turning someone away for a to-go order or a dine-in experience, but sadly we just lack the kitchen staff to keep producing the typical high volume of quality food. Most days, Dave and Renée are there all day working hard to prep for a few hours of dinner service. There is just a limit to how much a small kitchen staff can produce in any given time.

Working closely with Dave and Renée has given me a new appreciation for food and diet. I am always amazed by Renée’s endless inspiration to create a new special every day. This fosters an environment of constant learning, as every day I go back into the kitchen to ask her questions about the different aspects of each dish. Dave and I spend much of our time discussing nutrition and food’s effects on the body. Dave has inspired me to become a runner and get in better shape, while Renée cooks me a delicious meal each night. My quality of life has greatly improved over the years working with them, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.