So, I'm taking my Level 2 in two weeks in Miami and I have a question.
Late last year, I suffered a bad knee injury that required surgery.. and unfortunately I did some permanent damage to my knee. As a result, I wear a giant metal brace on my left knee, and when I walk around in hard shoes, I have to walk with a cane.
My knee is still healing from surgery - the doc says Labor Day by the time it's really healed as far as it will go. I can walk normally with sneakers on most of the time, but obviously I can't wear sneakers in a restaurant environment.
I haven't served wine to anyone since the injury. Honestly, I've been too nervous and I don't know what to do. But, I have to pretty soon, so I was wondering if anyone knows Somms that require walking aids, and how they provide service to their guests.
I have to say Jeff the role of a Somm is changing. You don't have to work in an extremely upscale environment to take care of guests. Use this to your advantage, maybe host some wine classes or look into being a private buyer for collectors. Or even better find a great environment you love that doesn't require a suit and tie (and where you can just wear black tennis shoes) that you can ease back into. Either way reach out to Yannick Benjamin. He is an incredible inspiration as well as a great motivator. Either way never let this stop you and good luck!
Regarding the exam, you should reach out to Kathleen Lewis at the CMS. I would assume they would make any reasonable accommodation that you need.
Beyond that, Yannick Benjamin might be familiar with the general topic. He has worked the floor for many years with a wheelchair and developed serving trays and other tools that work for him and he was able to pass the Masters level service exam.
Hi Jeff, good luck with your recovery. I have served wine to tables in a wheelchair, with crutches, and with a cane, at various stages of recovery from knee repairs. Since you can walk unaided with soft-soled shoes, check out NurseMates and Rockport. Choose comfort and stability over temporary fashion.
If you wish to wear your hard-soled shoes, or must use a cane, you can purchase a shoulder bag to carry wine. I used a black leather wine bag that held 2 bottles and a wine key, which was very helpful, especially when on crutches.
It's been over 10 years since I took the Certified exam so I don't know if it has changed but I was asked to carry a tray of glassware across the room and back. If you can use your cane without stumbling/lurching, you should be able to carry the tray with one hand and lean the cane against your leg when you stop at the table. Transfer the tray to your cane hand, and rest the back of your hand on your cane so you don't drop it when you place a glass with your free hand. Repeat around the table.
I wish you well! Cheers, Kim
Thank you Geoff for the introduction. I am happy to talk to you at your earliest convenience. You can email me at email@example.com.
Regarding the certified exam, I would find the most innocuous pair of black sneakers you can and wear those. If you are able to walk normally with sneakers, I would default to finding some that work for you rather than spending the next two weeks learning how to serve wine and carry a tray with a cane.
I posted the shoe links so now facebook is showing me shoe advertisements. Here are some more that may work for you: https://www.shoecarnival.com/emeril_lagasse/?utm_campaign=20190529-Emeril&utm_medium=Social&ocid=SOC-FB-20190529-Emeril&utm_source=Facebook
What are the odds that the MS that handed me my Certified badge and certificate during the results reception was the last person to reply to my question? I actually missed your response - otherwise I would have said something. Ha!
Thank you Geoff and Yannick! I've reached out to you on email Yannick, I have a couple questions. I found a good pair of dressy shoes that had some cushion on the bottom. I passed the Certified exam - I didn't have an issue carrying a tray or the champagne bucket. But after a few hours on my feet... ouch.
You did well! Congratulations!