Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trouble In The Kitchen At The Shoreham Hotel In Washington D.C. Back In 1977

The above pictures are from the movie THE SHINING. I put them on here to illustrate the story
below. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

When I first went to work as a Security Officer at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington D.C. in 1977 the other Security Officer I was working with on the 3pm to 11pm shift  told me to "take your time if you are called to the kitchen".  We did not carry guns. Security Officers in hotels in DC didn't carry guns back then. They did in Miami and New York City but not DC. As one Security Chief told an eager young Security Officer who asked why we didnt carry guns, "Because I want you to use your brain not your gun".

I was new but I understood what the guy was telling me. The Shoreham Hotel has 4 sub basements. The  kitchen is down below and as you descend each level gets to look more and more like the lower depths. Broken glass covers the floors.

So I got a call to go to the kitchen that a fight was underway. And that one of the cooks was chasing another cook with a butcher knife.
I did not run to the basement where the kitchen is located. But neither did I hestitate to go. I walked calmly down not knowing what to expect. By the time I got there the two of them were separated. A big black cook was holding a butcher knife and a small Korean chef(who was his boss) told me they were cutting vegetables and that they had argued over how the work was to be done.
The little Korean chef showed me some marks on his neck which he said were from where the big black cook had choked him and lifted him up off the floor. And that the big guy had threatened to kill him.

In cases like this it was standard procedure to tell the offending party to leave and punch out and go home.
So I told the big black cook to leave and punch out and go home and come back in the morning and talk to the head chef. He did just that. They fired him the next day and I heard no more about it.

Another short story. There was an old rabbi who came to the hotel to make sure to food was prepared kosher for kosher events. He once slipped on a banana peel in a dark underground hallway and broke his glasses when he fell. I had to write a report on that.

One of the cooks told me that once a chef was tired of the rabbi hanging around and got a skillet burning  hot and put it down on the floor and told the rabbi, "Rabbi hand me that skillet". The rabbi picked it up not knowing it was hot.