Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Family Dinner

Last night, to celebrate April Fool's Day, I took my family out for dinner at a very nice restaurant in the city. The waitress led us to a table and we sat down and waited for her to hand us the menu. However after some time, we still did not receive the menu. I managed to catch the attention of the waitress and asked her for the menu. She replied,"I am sorry, sir. In honour of April Fool's Day, our restaurant is serving only the Chef's Special Set Dinner today. Your dinner will be served shortly."

True enough, while the waitress was still explaining to us, the first dish arrived. All in all, we were served a seven course dinner plus dessert (mango pudding). Man, was the dinner good! We thoroughly enjoyed the food and my kids were pestering me to come again soon, even though we still haven't left the restaurant yet!

Then suddenly, something caught my mind: I had not asked about the price of the dinner! I quickly signaled to the waitress for the bill and crossed my fingers that I have enough money in my wallet to pay for it. To my surprise, the waitress walked over empty-handed and said,"We have no fixed price for our set dinner, sir. You just pay us whatever you want."

My surprise turned into shock. I thought this was too good to be true. Could this be an April Fool's Day joke? I asked,"Is it ok even if I pay $2?" "Yes, sir. Any amount you pay is fine with us." came the smiling reply. Of course, I didn't pay $2 but I did give what I thought was an appropriate amount.

I asked the waitress,"I am curious. Since the customer can pay any amount he wants, how much does your chef actually earn a year?" She replied, "$500,000". I was flabbergasted; "What? $500,000 just to cook food? This is too much! I am never coming to this restaurant again!"

My dear wife (God bless her) said to me,"Darling, we really enjoyed the dinner just now, didn't we? How much did you pay for it? Just $20, not $500,000! For a seven course dinner plus dessert! Why should you be concerned about how much the chef earns?"


peter said...

That's a great parable!
I am in awe....
The Lord has truly gifted you to write.
Maybe u shud consider compiling some of your writings into a book. Shalom,

Malcolm Loh said...

Hi Stan

That's a brilliant perspective :-D

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your suggestion ... let's wait and see ;-)

eekpil said...

Brilliant parable.

I've taken the liberty to share it in my blog (with proper acknowledgment, of course) :)

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Lip Kee,

No problem ;-) Let more be blessed :-)

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Praise God! =D

Indeed I notice in another restaurant where people are at liberties to give what they wish, most people give more than they would have paid for the meal if it had been priced on the menu.

Grace does that sort of thing to us, it opens our hearts to being blessed and being a blessing!

Love the analogy and which restaurant is this? I would love to check the makan out. =D

Stanley Wong said...

Geri Geri ...

I believe you've been there before ;-) It's open on Sundays and the set meal is served only 4 times at 9.00am, 11.30am, 2.30pm and 5.00pm.

The restaurant is situated at Suntec City, 3rd level, just above Carrefour =D

Anonymous said...


Assuming the waitress gave you fantastic service. And you gave her a big tip.
Later you realise that the tip went to the boss instead. What's the feeling like ?

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Anonymous 2April_1145pm,

Logically, the tip is supposed to go to the waitress but who am I to argue about the private arrangement between the waitress and her boss? If she is not happy about it, she would have to stand up for herself and fight for what is rightfully hers.

I just eat there. I am not a Ministry of Manpower investigator.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stanley

Now that you know the tip goes to the boss, the next time you visit the place, you still give the tip ? Or you give it direct to the waitress instead of on the visa slip, cause you really want the money to go to the people you intend to give to ?

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Lol Stan... (smacks her head) ADOI!! Ok I took it literally this time hahahahahaha. Oh dear. =D

Eh Anon if you don't like the restaurant and its policy, no one is asking you to patronise it.

But in this case, my view is that I believe the Owner of the restaurant is God and that the boss you claim is the boss is actually the senior management staff.

The Big Boss provides perfectly for the waiter/waitresses, and well the management deserves even greater provision and blessing as it has a tougher duty to carry out to ensure that the food being served is nutritious, that the quality is of a certain standard, that the patrons don't suffer from food poisoning... the waiter and waitresses serve, the management has a tougher job to serve AND manage.

I have never been to a real life restaurant that sees the waiters being paid more than the management. There are a lot more responsibilities and duties that the management has to carry out and be accountable for which is why they deserve being paid more. And they have to fly overseas to promote the business and the dishes more, which actually puts them in different dangers. Should something happen to them, are their generations and their spouse and families provided for? The Big Boss more than makes up for that risk they take, for the time they lose with their loved ones to make sure that His business runs in tip top shape.

SO at the end of the day, if the Big Boss provides for ALL of them perfectly and everyone is happy with their work arrangements and the patrons are enjoying their food with much aplomb... who are others standing outside, but who neither patronise nor eat of that Restaurant's food to complain about how the Restaurant is being run based on heresay???

Thy Word Is Truth said...


1) The chef is NOT the owner of the restaurant.

2) The chef is merely a servant of the OWNER.

3) Everything from that restaurant rightly belong to the Owner.

4) Everything that the patrons of the restaurant (may give or pay as per your "parable") and what they may still have remaining in their pockets or wallets belong to the OWNER of the restaurant.

5) Everything that the chef and fellow workers of the restaurant receive is taken from what rightly belong to the OWNER of the restaurant.

So ....does it matter HOW the chef and fellow workers spend what rightly belong to the OWNER ? The answer is obvious.


Kat said...

Hi ThyWordIsTruth,

I gather you don't patronise this restaurant. What if the waitresses and those who work in the restaurant have had discussions with the Owner who constantly leads and guides them in their decision making, of course paying 500k to the chef is one of the issues that the Owner has given the workers the approval to do.

To people who don't patronise this restaurant but get wind of the amount the chef is paid yearly, they cry foul and exclaim that it is preposterous and why should a mere chef be paid so much...what has he done to deserve this kind of pay? What's so great about his cooking?

This reminds me of a parable Jesus told of the workers in the vineyard. The last crop of workers had been idly standing around in the marketplace when the owner of the vineyard found them yet the employer gave them a full day's wage. The other workers were shocked...which employer in his right mind would pay the same amount of wage to the last ones who did not work as long and as hard as those who worked earlier and harder?

This parable is all about God's grace. Philip Yancey in his book "What's So Amazing About Grace" said "...God dispenses gifts, not wages. None of us gets paid according to merit, for none of us comes close to satisfying God's requirements for a perfect life. If paid on the basis of fairness, we would all end up in hell."

By the way, when the chef first started working in this restaurant, he was barely making ends meet. Now he acknowledges time and time again that it is God's grace that brings in so many customers and his pay today is not what he deserves but truly by His grace alone.

Thy Word Is Truth said...

Hello Grace,
You miss the point, God's grace is not the topic here.

The original conclusion in the post above asked: "Why should you be concerned about how much the chef earns?"

Like all "patrons", the chef and his fellow workers are mere servants and STEWARDS taking care of what does NOT belong to them but to the Owner.

If the chef and fellow workers are spending what rightly belong to the OWNER, does it matter HOW the chef and fellow workers spend what rightly belong to the OWNER ?

The answer is obvious.


Kat said...

Hello ThyWordIsTruth,

I am sure I did not miss your point. As a patron of this restaurant, I am very sure the amount I have paid for the meals I have eaten to date is not enough to pay for the 500k yearly salary of the chef. The 500k is truly by His grace alone as without the large number of patrons, it would not have been possible to give the chef that amount. The patrons' job is to feed their stomachs and trust in the Owner who constantly guides and directs the staff of the restaurant to make the decisions that are according to His will, that includes the chef's salary.

After eating, the patrons leave the restaurant, feeling well fed and they grow in stature and strength and even other people who don't patronise the restaurant ask these patrons for its name as they can see how well fed and healthy these patrons are. These patrons trust in the Owner's choice of His employees, especially the chef who has been gifted with great culinary skills as ultimately, it is His restaurant and His name is at stake.

kingdavid said...

Actually life is quite simple.

You go to a restaurant, you eat there, you enjoyed yourself eating there, you pay what you like at the cashier. You come back, if you like.

How much the owner pays its workers is between the owner and His staff. If the workers took more than required then trust that the owner is not blind, helpless or weak. He will certainly get his workers to be accountable. But if he is paying his staff well and the business is flourishing, who can tell him how to run his business?

As patrons, we just need to enjoy and norish ourselves with the food. If the food is bad, we certainty will know. Over time, people wouldn't come. There is a reason why there are long quenes outside the resturant, no, they are not queuing for Hello Kittys. You don't get good food everywhere...

Let the owner be the owner.

btw, the same owner happens to be your boss too. If he wants to pay you well, would you reject it?

I like parables... neat work, Stan!

Stanley Wong said...


I am just a patron. I eat my meal, I pay for my meal and then I leave. I don't own or run the restaurant, so why should I be concerned about how much the chef is paid?

The OWNER can handle his own business. I'm sure He knows how much He should pay the chef and judging from the ever increasing queues outside the restaurant, I dare say the OWNER cut a good deal.

Perhaps you may wish to patronize the restaurant one day and taste the chef's cooking personally. It should be no loss to you since you decide what price you pay. Heck, you can even eat for free and no one will bother you.

By the way, first-time patrons can approach any waiter or waitress on duty and let him/her know that it is their first visit and they would be led to join the priority queue, which should cut down the waiting time considerably :-)


Anonymous said...

The world worships mammon. The world then sees only mammon.

We see a blessed man and a blessed church. we see the grace through the work of Christ.

What pple concentrate on really reflects what they are made of.

3 His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands.
The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001 (Ge 39:3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.