Many hands make light work in the dining room

The debate on dining room issues continues. This time it’s the turn of Simone Dimitri, of Trussardi alla Scala

06-01-2016
Simone Dimitri, left, with the beard, guiding the

Simone Dimitri, left, with the beard, guiding the dining room team at Trussardi alla Scala in Milan (to the right, chef Roberto Conti). He participates in the debate on Identità Golose after the articles by Enrico Camelio, Lisa Foletti, Donato Marzolla, Ruggero Penza, Ramona Anello and Ermes Cantera

Maître, that is to say “dining room manager”. As with all managers, you have to manage people, guide them in what is the ultimate goal: making guests happy. This is my job, and I like it. Today “the dining room” is a debated topic as through all media channels lots is being said about cooking. I’d just like people to know how a 30-year-old guy feels, directing the restaurant orchestra.

Let’s start from the dining room team, which is an easy concept: it’s a group of people. The fact a dinner or lunch is perfect, doesn’t depend on the skills of a sole chef or sole waiter. It is, indeed, a question of team. For the work to be well done, everyone has an important part, and then of course we have chef and maître, that is to say the faces, the people responsible, those who catalyse compliments and critiques. They should more and more often understand how it is impossible to have excellent results without teamwork.

What makes me happy during a service, or as a guest leaves, it’s praises. Of course those for the food are the most common but I’m even happier when the nice words are also directed at the guys in the dining room. These things make me happy.

The average age in my team is around 22. These people need to be guided, educated, to be paid attention to... But it is something one is happy to do, and I must say that it often happens that they have something to teach me too, because sometimes candour and lack of experience hide precious points of view; they can make you reflect and perhaps even change perspective. Most of all, you often realise how in the eyes of younger people there’s the desire to learn, and this gives me energy every day, because this is what a maître needs.

All my staff participates in the moments dedicated to the guest, when the role of the maître becomes that of the now-forgotten host and, passing beside the table you collect praises and critiques, questions and requests. In these moments of relative calm, I invite all the dining room team, in turn, of course, to come closer and listen, so that each one of them can realise what today’s clients need.

My behaviour, today, is certainly owed to the people I’ve met in my life, to the all experience I’ve made. Three years ago, the call I was expecting arrived, from a place that I held very dear, where at last the position that I thought was meant to be mine was free. From Trussardi alla Scala arrived the request to return and be an important pawn in the project.

I would never betray my maison, a place that has given me visibility and has also believed and still does in me. Today I’m still here, guiding a magnificent place which once again offers me a challenge: getting back the Michelin star we lost, getting back what we deserve and which, due to a series of elements in a rather weird world, we lost. I say it using the plural, “we need to get it back” because we can only win or loose together.