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"Behind You"


annecros
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Was watching a bit of Top Chef (fangirl here, watching reruns) and was struck by the magical results that the words "Behind You" have in the elaborate dance of an operating restaurant. One chef behind the other only has to say "Behind You" in a clear, crisp, definitive voice to make the whole kitchen freeze for a split second while the person moves to another station. Then things move along at a rapid pace, because by gosh we gotta get this food out.

Remarkable. Way back in my restaurant days, I remember breaking the "Behind You" rule exactly one time. Then, I "got it" - used it and respected it.

Is there any other word or phrase that compares to "Behind You" in either gravitas or effectiveness?

I wanted to add, that the only time I called down someone else's child in public, was when a 5 year old stood up in her chair, with a waiter "behind her" with a large tray full of glassware.

I got her attention, and told her "No" in no uncertain terms.

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When I was a kid I worked in a few different restaurant settings, including a kitchen, and got into the habit of "behind you." Now with three or four people usually in the small kitchen while I'm cooking, I say it all the time, but the rest of the clan isn't picking up on it. However, I don't think that an intentional "lesson burn" would work as well with my kids as it did with careless wait staff at the Indian place I worked at in the 1980s.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Or, as they say at all the Momofukus, "down the line..."

Really? Interesting.

I would think that "Down the line.." would be akin to "Coming Through" which roughly translates to:

"You better figure out where I am and where I am going and get the freak out of the way because these people have been waiting 45 minutes for this plate and they are getting it right now even if I have to run over you and believe me I will."

As opposed to "Behind You" that to my mind translates to:

"For your personal safety and well being, stand exactly where you are and if possible lean forward a bit or you will die an ugly death."

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I like that......."hot behind"!!! :laugh::laugh:

For me, it's always been just "behind" because things are not always hot, but they could be sharp, or fragile or heavy.

I'm surprised no one has said "corner!". Nothing will set you up for a head on kitchen accident like a sharp blind corner. And many kitchens have LOTS of those.

One time, I was dining in a 5 star place. I had to get up to go to the restroom, and noticed that the hall to the restroom and entrance to the kitchen were in close proximity, (bad design!!!) so out of habit, on my way there, I called out "corner!", and would you believe there was a waiter right there. He laughed and said he'd never seen a customer say that before! Ha! I do believe I saved my fancy blouse that day! :laugh:

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Hubby used to work at the Executive Inn in Henderson, Ky, would call out this...

"Hot stuff coming through,

hot potatoes too!"

(substitute whatever food he was carrying for potatoes).

:biggrin:

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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In my old, odd profession as a carny, "Hey, Rube" led the way. You yelled and every body jumped! :biggrin: I often have the "hot behind" action going on when I cook in the kitchen for the Orioles ( a fraternal organization, much like the Moose or the Elks) or carry out pans of food when I'm helping to serve. It's become a polite psudonym for "Get the _____ out of my way!" :laugh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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"Detrás" - Spanish for "behind" is used frequently in many kitchens including mine.

I wouldn't say that the phrase "behind you" or any other equivalents has some magical way to get the kitchen to freeze like the OP suggested. Saying "behind you", "hot stuff", "sharps", "detrás", or any other phrases are simply warnings to prevent people from bumping into each other, getting burned, or getting cut. We're talking about simple communication skills that are necessary in tight kitchens - not magic.

Edit: I'd like to add that I say "behind you" in places outside of work (by habit) and people give me weird looks for it! Like say I'm in a crowded store, and a lady looks like she's about to back into me, so I say, "behind you" like I normally do in a kitchen, and they always turn around and look at me like I'm from another planet. Excuse me for warning you that you're ass is about to rub up against me! (If it's a cute girl, I'll hold my tongue.)

Edited by wax311 (log)
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Or, as they say at all the Momofukus, "down the line..."

Really? Interesting.

I would think that "Down the line.." would be akin to "Coming Through" which roughly translates to:

"You better figure out where I am and where I am going and get the freak out of the way because these people have been waiting 45 minutes for this plate and they are getting it right now even if I have to run over you and believe me I will."

As opposed to "Behind You" that to my mind translates to:

"For your personal safety and well being, stand exactly where you are and if possible lean forward a bit or you will die an ugly death."

Ugh, thank you for pointing that out. Too many people mistake "behind you" for "coming through" "coming down" "excuse me" or whatever. It's one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says behind you then expects you to move out of their way. So aggravating. I hate it when they get angry too, like "Behind you.....BEHIND YOU!"

Idiots.

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I use them too... "behind you" "coming thru" and "hot stuff".

I worked with a chef that would call out "Hot stuff burn ya and laugh".

I use "coming thru" alot now, my chef talks and points with his knife. Which to me,

a very bad thing, LOL.

Last summer, I called out "Hot Stuff" while carrying a hotel pan of food. One of the retired part time ladies turned and said "Oh Jimmy stop bragging". I thought she was talking about the food. It took me a few days to figure out she wasn't. LOLOL

-Jimmy

Typos are Copyrighted @

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Behind the stick there is decidedly more crossover than behind the line so a tap on the shoulder or a hand on the back is customary, when ever you are in arms reach, because you would "behind you" a zillion times a night.

If you have to grab something from some ones speed rail and they are standing right in front of it "watch your nuts" or just "Nuts".

If you are following someone down a line or down the bar and you dont want them to stop short "Hot on your ass" works well.

Toby

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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My favorite is yelling "hot" and running down the line with a cold pan of baked potatoes and bumping into someone and watching their reaction, they always fall for it. I know its like the boy who cried wolf but its too much fun.

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