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Old 08-02-2007, 04:12 PM   #11
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At another place, there was this guy who would NEVER prep for the next guy coming in his station. One of the rules of most pro kitchens is to prep as much as possible for whoever it is taking over your station and vice versa. So the day before a really busy night, that particular cook worked and left the station for another cook pretty bare. Mind you he had plenty of time to prep the night before since it was slow, and this was a habitual thing for this guy and we all were just sick of it. Those of us with time ended up helping to prep up the station anyway but that wasn't the point since this was always happening.

In many kitchens, a lot of cooks leave their knives and tools there because they don't want to carry them back and forth everyday (I ALWAYS take my stuff however and it wasn't just because of what's coming next). So this particular cook had some pretty nice stuff: Globals, Wustofs, etc. All of us were so pissed off already that we threw away all of his equipment except for his tongs, fish turner, and meat fork. In place of his equipment, we left a note that said: "Since you only cook while you're here and NEVER do any prep unless it's for yourself, we decided that you don't need anything to work with except for these. Oh, and if you say anything to chef you're going to get the living s*** beaten out of you."

Needless to say he made sure his station was fully prepped thereafter.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:23 PM   #12
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Once we had this dining room manager who was total incompetent a**hole. For example, he would come into the kitchen screaming that the food was taking too long because his hostesses overbooked a certain seating and he did not check. Or he would yell about the same thing after a server either forgot to fire a ticket or f***ed up an order that we had to re-fire or make on the fly. Hey, we would make mistakes too but we'll take the blame for our mistakes only. Cooks do NOT like to take the heat for mistakes that the front of the house made. So anyway, we had this Mexican cook who would sometimes make a mole sauce for crew meal. It was really good with chocolate, different chiles, etc. So one day, we took some of the mole on the side and melted about a half box of Ex-Lax in it. We plated the crew meal so that no one else would accidentally take the doctored mole. Needless to say, it was a very stimulating evening for him. I remember he was asking everyone else that night if they had the runs. Nope, just you buddy.
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Old 08-02-2007, 04:42 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by college_cook
On the bright side, line cooks learn REAL quick that its best just to never drop food at all. As a group, we've got some of the best reflexes, steadiest hands, and thresholds for pain than you'll find in most other professions. That translates into us almost NEVER dropping food, even when someone tosses a steaming hot water pot your way to be refilled while you've got a blistering hot filet in your hand that just came out of your 500 degree oven. You hold onto that steak like it's your child, take the pain, and then catch that water pot thats flying through the air toward your face with your free hand, and try to set it down before it gets you. Metal will burn your a lot worse than food will.

Cooks also have to be great throwers, as well as catchers. Got a huge stack of dirts pans that need to get washed in a hurry? Grab em all and chuck them 10 feet down the line into the dish pit, making sure you dont knock any other cooks or waistaff in the face while doing so.

So next time you're eating out, and start worrying that you'll recieve "floor food", just know that the cooks are worrying even more than you about having to serve you floor food. More importantly, know that the odds are heavily in your favor that you will not recieve floor food. God forbid you ever eat food that makes you hang out with your best porcelain buddy for the rest of the night, know that when that cook finds out he made someone sick, he'll be throwing up the next night, sick at himself for making such a glaring mistake. We strive for perfection in our profession, and we're very driven towards it, and that's why you shouldn't worry about all the things that can go wrong while you're eating out, but hope for all the things that can go right.
CC, I've never worked in a kitchen where food or equipment was thrown. In fact, every chef that I've worked under would throw a fit and probably send you home if he saw that happening. If or when you decide to work in another kitchen, my advice is to not take that with you because from what I've seen, it does not happen in most good kitchens.

I agree about the "floor food", except when it applies to mid-range to low-end restaurants. I know from talking with people who have worked in places like Applebee's, Chili's, McDonald's, etc. that if the customer didn't see it, you didn't do it. Many people who work in those places do not have a formal culinary education and therefore are not versed in proper sanitation and food handling techniques. They are also not surrounded by those who care enough about or respect food so that information doesn't get passed down.
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:22 PM   #14
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This is a classic.

I used to work at a family owned resteraunt (was voted the best pizza and wings in the area in 2005, when I worked there), and I really busted tail there, I was having a rough time financially so I was working alot.
The Kitchen Manager was/is my mental picture of the devil. She was a *****, she was mean, she was frightful to see and would get on my case since I was new and doing various stuffs in the kitchen. I would say I was pretty good at what I did, always prepped, dated, and worked well with my team. We had a nice line normally, and it was always better when "She" wasnt there.

Anyway one day she was really getting on my case, and I had a good friend there too. When we were making a vodka sauce, he was tossing me a few sauce cups of vodka to help me deal with her. I was working the grill and the fryers at this point, with my buddy doing pastas and another dude calling orders. "She" was nowhere to be found. It was getting pretty late and we were getting close to Close, but someone ordered fried calamari (only takes a second). My buddy ran the order out to the bar, and saw the ugly evil kitchen manager making out with one of the owners (she outweighed him by over 100 lbs, and we always thought he was gay, not that theres anything wrong with that..) and after that we always laughed when we saw either one of them.

I quit that job when I moved out of the area, but I heard from an old friend that she got all fired up and ran out of the kitchen one night. he probably found a new partner.
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:32 PM   #15
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When my mom contracted diverticulitis, then intestinal cancer, I had to teach her to order "off menu" -- specifically to order foods that are already on the menu, probably already prepared. We used to call it "tearing apart the menu," and she rarely had problems. The one time I worked in a restaurant, I never saw food picked up from the floor; if anything the prep was so meticulous that a lot of food most of us wouldn't think twice about eating at home was thrown away. I, too, had the experience of having a couple of guys come in at closing time to rob us, and beat up my boss in the process. I decided that the food industry wasn't for me, especially after spending the better part of a day in court only to see the guys walk.
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Old 08-02-2007, 08:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by college_cook
That sounds like a typical mom+pop type of place trying to run on a budget. That's a real shame about the steaks, too. As for the garnish, well its gross but I've definitely seen worse.
Agreed! You now what the real shame of it was though? She bought whole rib roasts (sometimes bone in) and they were fresh from a distributor. She then cut her own 1 inch ribeyes….then froze them only to have them mutilated by the fast moving short order cooks! ARGH!

Waitresses and a few others would soak one or two at a time in water at the start of the evening, or hot water for a quick order……but man……what a waste.
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