His two daughters had warned him that I was probably going to ask him his age. She does not reveal it.
“Even to customers, I never say it!”
Only his bosses are in the secret of the gods.
Laughing heartily, Jacqueline Pelletier just reveals to me that she is the oldest employee of the restaurant where she has been working for 39 years.
The place is without presentation. Greek is always full.
Since it was founded in 1959, people from all over Quebec have made a detour on Route 138 in Trois-Rivières to stop there as a place of pilgrimage. His followers swear by his famous pizza.
Luc Corriveau knows the recipe. He has been a cook for 40 years.
He is the employee at the top of the seniority list, the living memory, the pillar, the quiet force.
“A little” younger than Jacqueline, the 60-year-old recalls the exact date, day and time of his diver debut on October 18, 1978, on a Thursday at 4 pm
He never forgot either the height of the pile of dishes to wash.
“To the ceiling!”
At the time, the restaurant closed in the middle of the night, but the young man never left before 5am, as long as the last utensil was not washed and wiped.
For twenty-seven and a half years, the single person was content with a single day off a week that could reach 60 hours of work.
He was a diver during the day, a cook in the evening, in addition to looking after the purchases, receiving the goods … and looking after the sheep grazing at the end of the parking lot where children come.
Some customers asked him the question before me. No, the animal named Panayotis never found himself in a recipe. Neither the first nor the others that have succeeded each other over the decades, in the small enclosure.
The sheep is not the only emblem of the restaurant Le Grec. The fustanelle too, the Greek national dress that the waitresses wear.
Jacqueline Pelletier has always been proud to wear it. This is also the case for girls who take over in 2019.
“They are anxious to have their dress!” Says the lady who is convinced that this ceremonial costume is part of the success of the restaurant.
Jacqueline owned a convenience store before offering her services at the restaurant where she dreamed of working.
The lone mother had no experience in the field, but she had this essential quality to get the job.
“I like the world!”
And the world loved her just as much.
People ask to sit in her section where the waitress goes from one table to another, in perfect control of the plates she balances on one arm, always ready to make the conversation between a coffee for sir, a tea for madame.
In this period of labor shortage, especially in restoration, Jacqueline and Luc are a rare, endangered species.
These two model employees have even grown their current bosses, Ioanna and Dimistris Yannopoulos, the third generation of homeowners.
“We’ve been in their legs for a long time. My brother and I were playing hide and seek around the restaurant, “says Ioanna admiringly for this duo of foolhardy loyalty and endurance.
Their respective job requires standing for hours.
“Young people are in misery while we are being fooled. We are used to it. ”
Luc has his idea of the cause: “They spend too much time in front of computers. It looks. Today’s young people are more comfortable with electronics than with manual work. ”
While the director of Greek struggles to recruit candidates to fill the needs, Luc never felt the urge to go to another restaurant if the cauldrons were brighter.
Fortunately. Regular customers worry when they do not see him around.
“But who will prepare my favorite dish?” Have already asked the old-timers who come here up to three times a week.
Luc is never far away, probably in the second kitchen, at the back of the establishment that we had to enlarge.
Their cook is not ready for retirement that could ring in five years.
“It will depend on my health, but I would like to stay. Maybe not full time, but to troubleshoot. I’m sure I’ll be bored the day I’m going to stop completely. ”
Greek is his family.
She is also that of Jacqueline who after all these years, continues to work on weekends and evenings, as in her early days.
It’s his choice. “I always did that.”
It’s his life. “I like the world!”
The waitress ageless knows no better recipe than this one.