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Getting A Job At Per Se, Daniel Is No Easy Task

First Posted: 01/28/11 04:08 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:30 PM ET

Waiter

At some of New York's fine dining establishments, waiting is the hardest part.

Restaurants like Per Se and Daniel accept about 1 to 2 percent of the waiters and waitresses who apply to be servers.

The Village Voice points out, you have a better chance of getting into an Ivy League school than being allowed to serve fare at Per Se.

Daniel general manager Pierre Siue said candidates must have several qualifications to be considered.

"We look for the finesse of a ballet dancer, because it's like choreography what we do; discipline of a military person because there are 65 people on the floor in the front of the house; and team spirit of a football team," Siue said.

From CNN:

"People still ask: 'Well, what do you do for your real job?'" says Anthony Rudolf, the general manager of Thomas Keller's Per Se in New York City, another restaurant that has received four-stars from the New York Times and three from the Michelin Guide. As all front-of-house employees do at Per Se, Rudolf started as a kitchen runner and worked his way up the food chain.

From the bottom up, there are benefits offered - dental, medical - 401K plans, and paid vacation just like those "real jobs" they're asked about. There is also room for growth; everyone on the management level started as front-of-the-house.

Upscale restaurants recruit students on college campuses, even from top-tier schools like Georgetown and Stanford.

Per Se captain, and now maître d', Antonio Begonja used an apt sports analogy to explain what it's like to be in the big leagues of the city's culinary culture.

"We always say it's like you're Derek Jeter and you're playing for the New York Yankees" Antonio Begonja said.

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Filed by Simon McCormack  |