Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
Saffy

All Your Food- and Drink-Related Pet Peeves

Recommended Posts

Hmmm...come to think of it, I could do this all day! :raz: I have a lot of pet peaves...

Here's another: I hate it when a server demonstrates they have no idea what's on the menu. For instance, when they ring back a carbonara, no red sauce (for example). While I don't expect a server to know every spice and ingredient in a dish to the level of a line cook, I do expect that if they're explaining a dish to a customer they know the basics. If a patty melt is on pumpernickel, they better not say it's wheat or white. It's a rare staff member that will have eaten every item on the menu but they should be passing familiar with them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmmm...come to think of it, I could do this all day! :raz:  I have a lot of pet peaves...

Here's another:  I hate it when a server demonstrates they have no idea what's on the menu.  For instance, when they ring back a carbonara, no red sauce (for example).  While I don't expect a server to know every spice and ingredient in a dish to the level of a line cook, I do expect that if they're explaining a dish to a customer they know the basics.  If a patty melt is on pumpernickel, they better not say it's wheat or white.  It's a rare staff member that will have eaten every item on the menu but they should be passing familiar with them.

well that ones easily rectified - staff briefings can be used to inform staff of menu items, chefs can quiz staff on dishes, type up (or get the manager to do it) descriptions and tehn they have no excuse


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I usually the most easy going and chill person, there aren't a whole lot of things that bother me. And seriously, the things that do, should pretty much be common sense.

I tell everyone, and i'm always polite about it, when i'm busy, and you know i'm busy, please do not come behind the line. I really mean it. I'm a bunch of orders deep, they all came in within one minute of each other, half have stupid mods (like a buerre blanc w/ no butter.... yes someone tried to order that once).... and the waiteress walks behind the line, right in front of me.... to grab a random ticket to make sure the time was readable? seriously? And things like that have happened many a time. For some reason, wherever I work, there is always at least one member of the foh that just walks behind the line when it's busy. So annoying.

Another one I *love* is when I get staff asking for food at the busiest times of the day. No, they couldn't eat when I offered to make them something, but when the dining room is full, yes, now they want something. Really?


Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

staff calling in sick.

the best is calling in sick after you know they have been out the night before or would rather put their herbs in a rizla (or zig zig) rather than a dish.

ive never taken a day off sick in my life and i see no reason to. 'uh ive got a cold' so has half the rest of the world some time in the year. this isnt like working for the government or working in a office, people actually require you to come to work.

most of the time when these regular 'not coming in today chef/manager' people call in for being sick its a pathetic line like 'i've been up all night being sick, i've hardly left the bathroom' or 'i just feel so weak, like i cant walk or even get up'

next day, they're in work. what a miraculous recovery!

ive worked with a chef in the past whose best friend was a doctor at a nearby village practice and on more than one occasion he has asked her to go see how his terribly ill employee is. i dont think being caught shagging the girl from last night counts as being ill!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well that ones easily rectified - staff briefings can be used to inform staff of menu items, chefs can quiz staff on dishes, type up (or get the manager to do it) descriptions and tehn they have no excuse

Ah, if only that were true! :laugh: Nearly all the places I've worked had comprehensive menu training for the staff. You can lead a horse to water, as they say...

A couple years ago I was the Sous at a hotel property run by my current employer. The training for the serving staff was pretty good, and I myself made it a policy to explain any dish or answer any question in detail. At any rate, the GM called a mandatory general staff meeting to go over some issues (ie a bitch session). To open it, he passes out enough blank scraps of paper for everyone that serves food- all in all, probably 60 people counting regular restaurant servers and banquet servers that work the restaurant P/T. He asked one simple question: how many shrimp are on a grilled shrimp skewer? He was incensed to find that only 2 or 3 out of about 60 got it right, and one of those admitted to me after the meeting that she simply guessed. :shock: One server that had answered "three shrimp" lamely offered that she doesn't sell many skewers, leading the GM to exclaim "I can see why!"

After that all staff had to pass a written test of menu knowledge in order to serve food. There was a lot of servers sweating bullets, and lots of them coming up to ask me questions! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ever since a neat freak chef chastized me for leaving a bit of marzipan on the robot coupe, I have been careful to leave equipment clean after I use it. My current kitchen seems pretty neat and tidy over all, so I can't understand why the robot coupe, cuisinart, and vitamix are all exempt from being cleaned. The splatters of basil oil and beet puree all over the equipment are starting to bug me. How hard is it to take a towel and 30 seconds and wipe the thing off?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My current kitchen seems pretty neat and tidy over all, so I can't understand why the robot coupe, cuisinart, and vitamix are all exempt from being cleaned.  The splatters of basil oil and beet puree all over the equipment are starting to bug me.  How hard is it to take a towel and 30 seconds and wipe the thing off?

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My current kitchen seems pretty neat and tidy over all, so I can't understand why the robot coupe, cuisinart, and vitamix are all exempt from being cleaned.  The splatters of basil oil and beet puree all over the equipment are starting to bug me.  How hard is it to take a towel and 30 seconds and wipe the thing off?

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

Word. Clean as you go, mo-fo!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My current kitchen seems pretty neat and tidy over all, so I can't understand why the robot coupe, cuisinart, and vitamix are all exempt from being cleaned.  The splatters of basil oil and beet puree all over the equipment are starting to bug me.  How hard is it to take a towel and 30 seconds and wipe the thing off?

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

Word. Clean as you go, mo-fo!

Naturally. I worked at a national "casual fine dining" chain years ago, and "clean as you go" was drilled into me, which has turned into a life long habit it would seem. "Drive the CAYG" was the motto for us! I am taking care to pass that along to younger cooks where I work now.

-- Matt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Naturally.  I worked at a national "casual fine dining" chain years ago, and "clean as you go" was drilled into me, which has turned into a life long habit it would seem.  "Drive the CAYG" was the motto for us!  I am taking care to pass that along to younger cooks where I work now.

-- Matt.

Hey that's a pretty good motto. Chains aren't all bad after all!


Edited by heidih (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My current kitchen seems pretty neat and tidy over all, so I can't understand why the robot coupe, cuisinart, and vitamix are all exempt from being cleaned.  The splatters of basil oil and beet puree all over the equipment are starting to bug me.  How hard is it to take a towel and 30 seconds and wipe the thing off?

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

How about resetting the slicer to zero....


Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately, many of the cooks at this particular restaurant were a bit lazy and/or inconsiderate.  Upon taking their chef coats, most of the cooks failed to put the hangar on the tree where it belongs.  Some people would just drop them on the floor!

every time i walk by the coat rack at work and skid around on the hangars on the floor i think how it must be the worst part of the linen guy's job to deal with coat hangars. some comedian, maybe woody allen, had a theory that coat hangars "did it" in the dark in closets and that's why there are so many of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cooks with dull knives. I can hear them bruising chives and basil from across the kitchen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cooks with dull knives. I can hear them bruising chives and basil from across the kitchen.

scallions too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I get ticked off over the slicer; it seems no one ever cleans it when they're done with it. Ditto for the wall mounted dicer- every time I close it has tomatoes all over it. Gross.

you think that's bad? where i work now, they don't even clean the slicer when they've been cutting meat on it! thank heavens i'm pastry, so i don't reach for that thing very often. :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing that drives me nuts is when someone else helps with your station, and then doesn't put things back where you had them. You're slammed, you reach for the red wine vinaigrette bottle and end up with Mignonette on a salad. There for forcing you to start over.

I am finishing out my two week's notice at a place where the exec chef and chef de cuisine are both horrible at putting things back where they found them/where they belong. When one of them comes to "help" me on saute, I end up spending almost as much time cleaning up after them as they spend cooking the food! Sometimes it makes you wonder...how do these people fail to learn a very basic line cooking skill, and still become chefs?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well that ones easily rectified - staff briefings can be used to inform staff of menu items, chefs can quiz staff on dishes, type up (or get the manager to do it) descriptions and tehn they have no excuse

Ah, if only that were true! :laugh: Nearly all the places I've worked had comprehensive menu training for the staff. You can lead a horse to water, as they say...

I agree with the original poster: Clearly, this is a management issue.

When a neighbor of yours has dogs that run wild and tear up your yard, do you blame the dogs? Or do you blame the neighbor?

When a parent comes into a restaurant with kids that screech at the top of their lungs, do you blame the kids? Or do you blame the parents?

I've worked front, back and management, and every position that a restaurant has available. If service staff don't know the menu, it's because the FOH manager hasn't shown the importance of menu knowledge, or the Chef has totally slacked on giving up details of menu changes and specials, or most likely, both of them just don't really care enough to communicate and coach what needs to be taught and learned.

Personal pet peeves? I worked at one restaurant for about a year where we weren't even allowed to eat the food, never mind getting a discount. No family meal, as a company policy, and not even allowed to buy food to take home at full price at the end of the shift. We did get to try a good portion of the menu when we were in training, but after training, if the menu changed, it was entirely up to the server's guess as to what most of the newer menu items tasted like.

Occasionally, if the Sous wasn't too coked up, drunk and moody at the time, we got to taste a single plating of a new special that we were supposed to sell. Unfortunately, if this happened during Ramadan, one of my co-workers would scoop half of the new Sea Bass entree into a plastic container so that he could eat it after sundown, leaving the rest of us with the remnants on the plate to taste between ourselves. If we couldn't scrape any of what was left, too bad. If our one day off for the week was on the day the new dish was introduced, too bad.

Don't blame the dogs, or the kids, or the servers. (Sorry to make such an unfortunate analogy.) Most servers in upscale restaurants really, really want to do a good job, and they scrape pretty hard to get the knowledge they need to do as well as they can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Servers who speak condescendingly to the cooks.

Servers who consistently take the wrong food and argue that it was made wrong.

New cooks who "know" everything and insist you do things their "proper" way.

Cooks who use my knife(ves), dull them and leave them filthy.

It can go on and on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine are mostly because Im a product of a Thomas Keller kitchen, but when cooks say they have "scrap" of something, I get angry. Thomas would always say "We dont have scrap here, we have trim." So from then on, when someone says scrap, I give them that quote. Even when going through the walk in and seeing a lexan labeled "beef scrap" , for example, I make a new label that says "beef trim."

Another Keller quote was "We dont have customers here. Walmart has customers. We have guests." I love that one.

TK had the best quotes.

-Chef Johnny


Edited by ChefJohnny (log)

John Maher
Executive Chef/Owner
The Rogue Gentlemen

Richmond, VA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My biggest pet peeve is that many cooks seem to be allergic to or have never been trained to use a spatula, its unbelievably easy to use but is never done right. Damn rookies, that and when a cook watches a clock and says its 8 im off now see ya, well are you cleaned up or are you going to screw the morning person, but before you realize how bad of a job they have done they are on the way home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Spatulas...leaving the spatula or wooden spoon in the pot of boiling sauce. Is that for extra flavor?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it's simply because I've worked with too many bad cooks, or if I'm a product of too many high-end restaurants, and apprenticed under French chefs (who themselves were products of 2 and 3 Michelin star restaurants), but I've got alot of pet peeves...

Mostly related to disorganization, uncleanliness, poor technique, and lack of respect. I've been a pastry chef for awhile, but was a cook for years before (doing very high end food), so it used to drive me nuts when I saw the bad habits of the savoury cooks... Especially when they'd start cluttering up my workspace and I'd have to chase them out. And while I'd mostly take care of my own ordering, it always pained me to see execs/sous who couldn't keep up with inventory...

And of course, servers stealing pastries would also drive me nuts, so I'd always have to be hiding pastries and chocolates in mislabeled boxes...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Servers who speak condescendingly to the cooks.

That should never be allowed, ever. But what about the other side of the coin?

I have worked back and front of house, management, server, line cook, chef, etcetera, etcetera. . .

I have found servers who talk down to cooks, but it's usually in the lower-end restaurants, and it's often just a casual noting to suggest that servers make more than cooks. So what? What you make doesn't (ultimately) mean that much, but whether you do the job you want to do at the price you think is fair does. If you feel that you are being unfairly paid, then you should change that situation.

The other day, I was quickly setting up the front of the house a half-hour before we opened, greeting tables that wandered in well before we were supposed to be open, brewing tea and coffee, setting up soda, etc., and Moises, who I have known for years now, said, "Hoolia! (My name) Back up ramekins!"

An aside: The Mexican cooks in every restaurant where I've ever worked, and especially this restaurant, where I have considerable tenure, [I]love to shout my name. It's a combination of my name having some Latin roots, plus some famous Mexican singers who share my name, plus the fact that they know I speak Spanish that leads to this situation.

So, I was really busy, whereas Moi - a pet name - had been finished with his prep for hours, eaten breakfast on the clock, which he sure as hell didn't fix breakfast for me, even though the company would have paid for the ingredients if he had, and it's actually part of his job to do so - it's company spec - but he's just standing there, on the line, yelling at me to back up ramekins, and I'm in the middle of 3 first rounds of beverages going out to tables, because we've cut back to just a few servers being around at the very beginning of service.

Another aside: I work in a restaurant that works so efficiently that we actually make the servers back up china to the line in the middle of a busy service so that the line cooks never, ever have to back up their own china. Usually it's efficient, but a few times, it is not. Still, they have pretty cushy jobs, for line cooks, and I know darned well, having worked that side of the line myself.

So he says, "Hulia! Back up ramekins!" and then, under his breath, he says, "Servers is so lazy." I looked straight at him and said, "If you call me lazy then I will do nothing for you."

He said it again, and then a manager told him to go back and get his own damned ramekins. Moi is still my friend, of course, because I'm one the best expediters he's ever worked with, but he still likes to yank my chain sometimes.

As for my own pet peeves? Mainly expediting. Nobody, and I mean nobody, knows how to expedite well. If a ticket calls for a side of a sauce, then have that sauce in the window before you call for runners. Before you call for runners, have your poop in a group, please, people. Don't go screaming for runners, drag people out of the dish pit, silver polishing, first rounds, guest requests for sides of this and that, only to have people standing in line, watching you wipe a single plate and adding garnishes, lemon juice, olive oil and such while our guests are all wondering where their first round of cocktails, glasses of wine, iced teas and such have gotten to. Please. Please. Please.

Incompetency doesn't discriminate. It works both sides of the line, easily, which is way more than I can say for my co-workers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...