Date: March 14, 1993
At the time of Mr. Angel’s retention, it was explained that while Benihana hires employees of varied races, our customers have certain expectations regarding their chef’s appearance. To this end, many of our Latino and Filipino employees have successfully affected an air of “Japanese” through a combination of training, demeanor, and attire. Mr. Angel claimed creating such an illusion would be “wicked easy” because he had been “schooled by an ancient Oriental mystic.”
Despite our high hopes, however, Criss’s appearance has consistently failed to meet expectations. While we truly do “get it” that the late martial arts actor Brandon Lee was partially of Cantonese descent, we fail to see how coming to work in makeup influenced by The Crow is in keeping with Benihana’s goals, particularly as a Japanese restaurant. Furthermore, Criss’s more recent Kabuki-theater justification seems similarly half-baked.
Benihana would also like to stress that our continued insistence on hairnets is dictated by a faithful adherence to governing health code ordinances, and not this corporation’s desire to “slay [Mr. Angel’s] dragon spirit.” On a related note, we are fairly certain that Health and Safety Ordinance 114020 contemplated only soap and water when requiring employees to wash hands. Mr. Angel’s self-prescribed “fire baths” are not a safe or adequate substitute for this practice — nor do we consider Svarog, Slavic Spirit of Fire, a recognized authority on workplace sanitation procedures.
Rapport with Customers:
Benihana prides itself on being a family-friendly establishment. Customers come here for first-class food served with a dramatic flourish — not to have their “reality shattered by freaky awesomeness.”
Good customer service also means accommodating reasonable special orders. For example, many of our guests abstain from shellfish due to allergies or religious concerns. Accordingly, when guests refuse the shrimp appetizer, the appropriate response is not “Why? Did my flaying technique blow your mind?”
Clear speech is also an essential part of customer relations. As many of Benihana’s chefs speak English as a second language, we tend to be forgiving of indiscretions presented by the foreign tongue. Still, a Long Island accent coupled with a crippling lisp is simply beyond the limits of Benihana’s patience. After all, people come here to eat.
Dexterity Performing Required Tasks:
Mr. Angel has proven his dexterity in performing all required Benihana cooking presentations, or as Criss insists on calling them, “culinary freak-outs.” He executes the onion volcano flawlessly, and has never failed to catch a shrimp tail or balance a bowl of rice on a spatula. Still, Benihana continues to receive complaints due to Mr. Angel’s fundamental misunderstanding of both Teppanyaki-style cooking, and what constitutes entertainment in general.
Benihana has a proud tradition of praising employee initiative, but Criss’s innovations have brought terror in place of joy. For example, Benny Tsubo was promoted to head chef in 1979 when the flick of his well-placed spatula brought forth life from the heart-shaped chicken-fried rice and laughter from patrons nationwide. By contrast, no one is pleased by Criss’s ability to make the rice heart bleed. For one, it’s disgusting. And secondly, ketchup does not complement a traditional Japanese meal. Also, while Criss’s ability to insert a bowl of rice into his back and pass it out through his abdomen is impressive, it’s hardly surprising that no one is eager to eat said rice after this miraculous journey.
Employees should always provide supervisors with honest straight-forward answers to fair questions. Nevertheless, when asked about his frequent disappearances, Mr. Angel’s standard reply is, “a magician never reveals his secrets.” Such responses are wholly unacceptable, and, frankly, childish. Benihana also takes issue with Mr. Angel’s more recent practice of claiming to have been on the premises in invisible form and then producing a hysterical 16-year-old girl to attest to this miracle. While this display is strangely compelling, Benihana remains skeptical that such allegedly unbiased accounts could constitute credible testimony.
Benihana will be refraining from its traditional practice of providing suggestions for improvement. Such suggestions would be moot as Mr. Angel has proclaimed repeatedly that he takes advice only from two men: The Highlander and Ronny James Dio. Accordingly, Benihana feels it is best to make a clean break at this time.
We hereby terminate Mr. Angel’s employment, effective today. His uniform and culinary tools were repossessed this morning, and when Mr. Angel emerges from the 15-foot block of ice he currently occupies in the meat locker, we ask that he be forcibly removed from the premises.