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May 16th in Berkeley

The KK crew dedicated Sunday, May 16 to a day of "discovery."  And so it was for one of the patrons who left a card on the table explaining that they were in Berkeley "in anticipation of moving here this fall, so Karma Kitchen helped us discover why we are making this town our home."  The guests of Karma Kitchen seemed to have their own theme of the day as several of them left cards expressing how a sense of discovery helps you remain open, and how remaining open keeps you out of comfort zones. 
Good advice as the crew assembled for a moment of silence.  There were only nine of us because a few volunteers failed to show, so we were definitely going to operate outside a "comfort zone."
The day sailed by, busy with many wonderful encounters for all.  Who would expect anything less with maitre'd extrarodinaire Dipa greeting everyone at the door with a big, warm, "Hi!"  As interface, I could see the faces light up with just that simple, warm welcome.  Dipa never seemed to lose her rhythm throughout the day and was gracious and warm with everyone who came in.  Her encounter with a couple that seemed to enter with more of a "give me" attitude than one of generosity was beautiful.  The couple sat down and seemed to be arguing, but the collective spirit of generosity of all the other guests and the volunteers just overwhelmed any of the negative vibes. 
Ryan was our rookie server, but you'd never know it from the way he glided among the tables and engaged the guests.  He worked in a completely relaxed spirit, and you could tell that the guests responded to that spirit.  Victoria and Sanjeev, both veterans in other roles, were the other first-time servers.  Victoria had the sometimes challenging open table section, where random folks sit together and keeping track of orders can be difficult. But she was right on everything, noticing any mistake in any of the orders and keeping things flowing.  She was a total prol.  And Sanjeev was brightening a lot of faces with his humble and kind manner, never missing anything going on around him (and even managing to check Cricket scores once and a while on his IPAD!).
Jessica and Yvette were doing the plating and worked like a well-oiled machine. They were totally organized, never losing track of any of the orders.  And they were super good in maintaining communication with the Interface (that would be me) as soon as orders were ready.  And something easy to overlook: the plates looked beautiful thanks to their careful handling of the food.  
Steve must have set a record back in the dishwashing area because we never ran out of anything.  He was cool, calm and collected, doing a totally Pro job back there.  And we all bow in gratitude to Bill for rescuing us.  Bill came in for a meal and quickly jumped into the back to help wherever needed. And we needed him.  
Many thanks to all of you for another chapter in the "experiment" of Karma Kitchen. 

--Paul on May 18, 2010

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