Photo by Kyndall Ramirez on Unsplash


Cheese sticks, eggrolls, and Blue: ill-prepared, ill-conceived, and illogical.

Some people shouldn’t be allowed in a kitchen. Some people shouldn’t be allowed in bars. And some people shouldn’t be allowed out in public without a chaperone. These are their stories.

That’s not how that’s done

There was this great little takeaway near my first apartment. It was simple stuff. Sandwiches, salads, hummus, that kind of thing.

The owner and cook really hadn’t ever worked in a kitchen before. He came from the middle east and had worked the last 20 years as a prison guard there. Despite what you would expect, he was really chill and was great at customer service.

One day I noticed he had added fish & chips and mozza sticks to the menu. This was great. I guessed he had invested in a deep fryer.

So I ordered mozza sticks. He went in back and prepared them and then brought them out in a styro container. I paid and took the package home. I eagerly opened up the clamshell expecting to find lovely golden brown, hot, melty goodness. What I found was indeed hot and melty but pallid, limp, and gross.

I found out that he hadn’t bought a deep fryer. He just bunged them in the microwave and called it a day. He had no idea that they had to be deep fried.

I never bought the fish & chips!

That’s not how that’s done either

I lived in a little neighbourhood in St. John’s many years ago. The culinary options were pretty good even 30 years ago. There were decent Indian, Cuban, Mexican places. There was even a great Bulgarian restaurant in the city. Of course there were fish & chips places and all sorts of diners serving Newfoundland specialties like toutons with scrunchions and beans, fish and brewis, and Jigg’s dinners. And lots of Chinese places. I lived around the corner from a little Chinese takeaway and it was, admittedly, hit-and-miss. This place served hamburgers, hotdogs, and all manner of “Canadian” food. But if you went for the chicken balls, chow mein, and eggrolls you were bound to be happy.

Except one day I went in and got an order of eggrolls, five or six, and took them home with some plum sauce and Black Horse beer.

One bite of my eggroll that day told me all I need to know about how the kitchen operated. Now, I have nothing against making sure you go through your stock and food that doesn’t sell one day and reusing it. It can and should be transformed into something else like soup or stir-fry. But one thing I am absolutely convinced of is that you should never, under any circumstances, add hotdog meat to your eggroll filling.

I can’t even

I worked at a military canteen for a while and it was all sorts of fun.

But one soldier stood out from his comrades. It wasn’t his bravery, it wasn’t his patriotism. It was his sheer, unadulterated, brain-melting stupidity.

I had no idea he was as stunned as a turkey on a rainy day until one evening when I had run out of his favourite beer.

“Blue,” he said as soon as he got to my bar after parade. It actually came out more like this: “Bluh,” but you get the point.

“I’m sorry, we are completely out of Blue,” I said. “What else could I get you?”


“Yep, I know that’s your fav but we are all out.”


At least it was a question now.

“Again, sorry. How about a Canadian, Alpine, or Moose?”

“Blue,” this time said with a hint of sadness.

“Look,” I said as I took one bottle of each of the three beers I did have in stock out of the fridge and lined them up on the bar. “You can have a Canadian, an Alpine, or a Moosehead,” I said pointing at each in turn. “What’ll it be?”

This time he paused and looked at the arranged bottles. Then he looked at me and said: “Blue?”

Holy moly!

I grabbed a Canadian, uncapped it, and slid it across the bar at him. “There you go,” I said as I took his money.

He took the beer and grabbed a seat with his friends and never complained.

And the government saw fit to arm him!

Have an interesting restaurant story either as staff or as a guest? Be a part of this series by submitting firsthand experiences of imperious bosses, difficult guests, odd service, and your own and others’ gaffes. Please send stories to or pm Salty on social media.

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

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