Ten Things I have Learned In Kitchens

Learning in kitchens on the west coast has allowed me to look at a world that despite the many shows on the subject still do not do a good job showing off some of the most interesting things in the cooking world.

  1. Cooks do not get paid well and often times the wait staff will be paid more because of the tips. A line cook will often get paid the same as the wait staff with some of the better places being only a dollar or two above.
  1. Waitstaff or the front of house is a love it or hate it relationship. Simply because many times those tips that the waiters say they need to survive well in some states that is the case in Oregon though it is normal to get paid a full minimum wage and then have your tips go on top of it leading to many waiters getting paid more then the sous chef.
  2. No, we do not spit or screw up the food. It is the very rare person who feels they need to do that and most kitchens will send them out on a group of pitchforks. The food is something you do not screw with if you want an easier life in the kitchen.
  1. The personalities are that varied, and despite all the hours being worked it is rare for someone to just be about food. Some people will be marksmen, others will be writers, others work on the care of poisonous plants. Calling them weird is one of the fastest ways to get a figurative backhand for your efforts.
  1. I have to this day not met a cook who cannot hold their booze. It is not a requirement, but you can bet if you have worked a few years in a kitchen then you most likely have some tolerance.
  1. Coming in just before closing especially after a busy night will have the curses of the families of those cooks sent against you in any form. Within a half hour to close they want people out so everyone can go home to try and sleep.
  1. If your waitperson says the kitchen screwed up and that is why it is taking so much time then they forget to put the order in. Nine times out of ten anytime the waitstaff asks for more time it is because front of house botched something or massive mechanical failure usually because front of house botched something.
  1. Saying the line “I went to culinary school.” as an evidence to skill will make everyone hate you. Do not say it. Shut up and do it the way they ask. After things have died down, as why it is done that way and most time you will find most above you a lot more welcome to explain.
  2. Saying the line “Bobby Flay did it.” as an excuse as to why you are doing something will get you the next opportunity to find the left handed spatulas. They are right next to the backup cans of steam.
  3. Never as a customer go back in the kitchen. If you are the pope then be ready to bow to who is running the kitchen at the time. No matter how many yelp reviews you have written going back there will get you often kicked out or at minimum made a fool.

It is nice to have learned so much over my years because it is another world in the kitchens, and something so strange is often just between a couple sets of doors and usually a bar. I may write more about it later, enjoy the list and have a good day.

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