The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Outrageous

David Woodward is a British author who worked in the hospitality industry in the UK and Switzerland for more than 30 years. Nicknamed ‘Woody’ he has relocated to the Algarve, where he enjoys the sandy beaches, the sunny weather, and his passion for writing.

David, do you have enemies? (Your debut memoir Confessions of a Waiter received 96% 5-star reviews and only one – dubiously – lousy review.)

I would like to think I’ve been lucky enough to meet a whole host of friends from various walks of life, not to mention numerous nationalities. I hope I’ve never intentionally offended anyone, but I don’t believe everyone will agree with all my views in the book.

You set up your own award-winning B&B business in Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, and the chosen name for the villa was Keats Cottage. Have you always been attracted to literature?

My guest house was named after John Keats, the poet who resided there 200 years ago and wrote some of his poetry. And yes, I’ve always loved books, especially those about historical places and their people.  

Did you write Confessions for yourself, for the people within the industry, or for us, those positioned on the other side of the hospitality’s fence?

Firstly, I wrote it for my son Jack to show him that his Dad isn’t perfect and that life might not be easy, but with the proper application and desire, life can have many wonderful moments. I also hoped that fellow caterers would be able to relate to the stories and, more so, that all those people who have been guests might see themselves in part of my tale.  

Are you working on another book?

Yes, I’m working on another book. The Stupidity of Adults is based in part on my own experiences but features two families whose lives are entwined, both going through the struggles of divorce. The story is told through the eyes of the children involved.  

What do you like to do when you’re not writing or reading?

I love travelling. I also enjoy meeting new people and even find it fascinating to just people-watch. I also love the theatre and enjoy all sports,  even if my fitness isn’t quite what it used to be.  

Why did you decide to settle in the Algarve? 

I moved to the Algarve as it’s so beautiful and, of course, for the sun, but primarily because of the people.  

You were featured in  Channel 4’s Four in a Bed programme, where B&B owners throw open their doors and take turns to stay with each other as they compete to be crowned best hosts. What was that experience like?

 Being on TV was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Did I enjoy it? I like to talk, so yes, I definitely did!  But for me, the best part was that my fellow competitors stayed in touch and came back to visit. That said, I cringe when I see myself back on TV, and as my friends keep reminding me, I did wear “a bloody awful jumper”.  

Would you recommend catering to others?’

If you truly love people, are prepared to sacrifice a great deal, and are a little crazy, the rewards and experiences will stay with you forever.  

What is your message to the readers of Tomorrow magazine?

Work hard, play hard, and, most importantly, treat everyone with kindness. It certainly worked for me. I also hope that all my readers can relate to some part of my tale.

Confessions of a Waiter review by Dan Costinas

Most waiters have probably experienced people being impatient – t even obnoxious – towards them or have been treated like a slave. I’m not saying rude waiters don’t exist. David  Woodward’s debut memoir book demonstrates this to be true and lives up to its full title by revealing ‘The Good, the Bad and the Downright Outrageous Side of the Hotel Industry’.

The book

It very much reminds me of Ernest Hemingway’s memoir A Moveable Feast –highlighting the author’s deeply personal but stressful experiences and hilarious anecdotes of living and working abroad, as well as using a very direct, honest and humorous language as a seasoning, which in turn makes every page warmly affectionate, witty, interesting, joyful and colourful. Any book’s most important asset is its readers. That’s why, by finding an effective, catchy title, David Woodward has managed to attract their attention and hopefully increase the chances for good sales ab initio.

For whom the bell tolls and to whom is this book addressed? For himself, family and friends, for the people within the hospitality industry, or for all of us positioned on the other side of the fence? The author’s very words:

“Over the years, there have been several extraordinary people I have met, celebrities I have served and friendships I have cherished. There have also been a number of establishments that I have been lucky enough to work at or have visited that have had a large bearing on my life.”

The book reads like a nonfiction novel written in memoir form. And yes, the audience feels fully immersed and involved in such a relatable story, despite the fact that they did not get to live the same life experiences. Thought-provoking and relevant, Confessions of a Waiter objectively deserves more attention, and gets an overall 5-star rating from me. 

The author

David Woodward is much more than a waiter. Yes, unlike me, he is able to carry a tray without spilling the drinks, but he is also a successful businessman with proven managerial skills, a relentless fighter, a loving father and a caring son. Innately talented with words and having A levels in Latin, English literature and history, David Woodward was predestined for writing. And he is a good wordsmith, not just a ‘king of the blah de blah’ – as his good friend Pascal described him once. So how did he end up in the hospitality business? I found the answer in David’s book’s pages: 

“After the initial interview with the careers adviser, I received a letter of acceptance for a week’s apprenticeship at the five-star Crieff Hotel in Scotland. It was here that my love affair with the industry started.”

All in all, the book tells a real story about daily life in catering, focusing on some of its touching personal struggles and on moments of happiness and pain. After this brilliant debut, I’d encourage David Woodward to pursue a new career as a storyteller, perhaps writing more memoirs or perhaps fiction. It doesn’t matter what he writes, while he has this fantastic flair for feeling comfortable among written words.

If, after this wordy consideration, you still want to discover David Woodward’s Confessions of a Waiter by yourself, buy it on with £2.99 (Kindle edition) or with €16.95 (paperback.)

If, after this wordy consideration, you still want to discover David Woodward’s Confessions of a Waiter by yourself, buy it on with £2.99 (Kindle edition,) or with €16.95 (paperback.)


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