Where is in the world is Chef Chai?

A few weeks ago we were attending a business dinner at a pretty cool seafood restaurant in Pittsburgh.

The menu was extensive and the wait staff was eager to please.

Before we ordered our main courses we decided to order some sushi as an appetizer. Of course with Dave being vegan, he had to specifically ask if the chef could make him up some sushi rolls that did not contain fish.

“No problem,” said Stephanie the waitress. “Chef Chai is wonderful and he will do anything for you.”

And of course Mark, the young new waiter who was shadowing Stephanie nodded his head and agreed.

A short time later the most wonderful sushi ever came out. It all looked and tasted delicious. And sure enough Dave was happy too with his vegan sushi roll!

Chef Chai was a genius!

Next came the drink orders. Rich ordered his drink from the bar but Dave ordered some Nigori (unfiltered) sake.

A few minutes after ordering, Stephanie (and Mark) came back to the table and Stephanie said to Dave “Chef Chai just wanted to let you know that the Nigori sake uses a distilling process that possibly involves an animal membrane so it’s theoretically not considered vegan. Will that be ok?”

Chef Chai really knew his stuff. Again, we were super impressed.

“Is Chef Chai Japanese?” Dave asked Stephanie.

“I know he is Asian but I am not positive exactly where he is from,” answered Stephanie.

We wanted to meet Chef Chai!

When we asked where the sushi bar was, Stephanie was kind of elusive.

“Well, actually you need to go down one flight of stairs and once you get down there it’s kind of like a maze. You’d have to go through a bunch of rooms. I wouldn’t recommend it because you probably won’t be able to find it,” she said.

OK, we understand.

“But could you please tell Chef Chai we really appreciate his attentiveness and expertise?”

“Well of course,” she said.

Sometime during the course of the evening Rich had to use the restroom. When he asked where it was, he was directed down that “flight of stairs.” Upon Rich’s return to the table he told us that he found the sushi bar and there was a man working there, but it was not Chef Chai.

“How do you know?” Dave asked.

“Well, if you have to go use the restroom you will understand.”

So of course Dave had to have a look. He went to the restroom and upon his return he explained to everyone at the table that yes, there is a guy working the sushi bar. But the guy he saw (likely the same guy Rich saw) was a Caucasian guy appearing to be in his late thirties with tattoos covering every available square inch of his body.  And piercings. Definitely not Chef Chai.

Fast forward an hour or so later to the part of the meal where the manager comes over to the table to ask if everything is good.

“Yes, everything has been awesome this evening,” said the brothers.  “And in particular we want to let you know how impressed we have been with Chef Chai. He is such a delight. You are so lucky to have him here at your establishment. He literally made our evening.”

“Really?” said the manager. “How do you know Chef Chai?

“Well we have not gotten to meet him yet but he was very attentive to us this evening. We would say impeccable.”

“Very interesting,” said the manager. Chef Chai has actually been away for the last month. He has gone back to his country for an extended vacation. Some family matters to take care of I think.”


Why did our waitress and waiter they tell us something that was simply not true?

Maybe they felt they could get away with it. Or maybe it started as a little joke and it then escalated to a point where they could not get out of it.

Whatever the reason, these two were busted and we never looked at them the same way for the rest of the evening.

What about you? Do you ever try to get away with telling patients things that are just not the whole truth?

You may say “The lab totally screwed this up.”
But you know it was YOUR fault.

You may say “The insurance company is responsible for this mistake.”
But you know Madge at the front desk totally messed it up.

You may say “We had an emergency.”
But you know you ran late because the doc came back twenty minutes late from lunch.

You may say “No, we can’t do that.”
But you know you CAN do that.

Next time when you are thinking of not being 100% forthright with a patient, please remember Chef Chai. Don’t get busted. Just tell the truth!