For several minutes, Mozza's James Beard Award winning pastry chef Dahlia Narvaez calmly explained the problems she was having with the serving staff at Passo, the highly praised London eatery Nancy Silverton and her crew had commandeered for the week before Easter.
In firm and controlled voice, Narvaez told the man in charge of the event. John Michael Sookias, that servers were not properly picking up desserts. They picked up plates at an angle, they would often leave one dessert behind, they would not help out unless it was one of their assigned tables.
Sookias assured her they would do better.
Ariana Flores, Mozza's pastry chef in Singapore, had been listening patiently in the wings, but could no longer be silent. She stormed up to Sookias, pointed a finger in his face and just about yelled like a Marine Corps drill sergeant, "They don't and they won't!"
A day later, they did and they would.
For that, and for dozens of other things - most notably saving the pizza dough - Ariana Flores has been name Mozza's first International Employee of the Month (IEM) for her exemplary performance in London.
Flores, who flew in from Singapore on her on own dime, charmed the staff, did her job, and - outside the restaurant - was a delightful companion, happy to be a tourist, eager to go along and just as willing to lead. On the sardined underground known as "The Tube, in the pouring rain and bitter cold, in the maze of Harrod's, in the hectic first days of service at Passo, she never complained. Even on a dysfunctional "Hop On, Hop Off" red double-decker bus that she, Narvaez and a reporter were the only passengers on - and wasted 96 pounds - she was a pleasure.
For the record, that "they don't and they won't!" line above wasn't a complaint. It was more like an order issued from the United Kingdom's legendary Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery to his Desert Rats in the 1942 2nd Battle of El Alamein in North Africa. Fight better! And they did The team at Passo rallied and performed brilliantly from that moment on.
When informed of the award, Ariana was speechless for several seconds. Then; "I would like to thank my parents Jose and Eloisa, and God. Also my agent and all the people that made this happen."
The photo below was described by Nancy Silverton as "looking like you two are on your Honeymoon."