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freddychef

Kitchen Language

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How about "all day"? If I use it outside the kitchen, with normal folks, how on earth do you explain THAT?

And what about 86? In school I was told it was the number of times an old school chef stabbed a cook who'd run out of the most popular dish on the menu.

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I think it's one of those things that makes the back of the house one of the most uniques places in the world.  Where else would "Pittsburgh style" relate to "Black and Blue" relate to extra rare?

You really hit a nerve with this one. I have utter contempt for people order a steak "Pittsburgh" with a temperature i.e. mid rare, medium. I think they just want to sound cool.

You're both wrong. "Pittsburgh style" or "black and blue" doesn't mean "extra rare", it means "burned to crap on the outside and rare as possible on the inside." Big difference. A really good steak place will put the steak directly on the coals to achieve this. Another good way is between two ridiculously hot cast iron skillets.

It's not pretentious, it's a way of ordering that indicates how the diner would like it cooked. If you can't do it, as a waiter, just say so. Don't write down "extra rare" and sneer at the customer. If I ask for "black and blue" or "Pittsburgh style" (FWIW, Pittsburgh is a little more done in the center; it is indeed closer to medium rare) and you send it back "extra rare", I'm not going to eat it; I'm going to send it back and ask for my steak medium-rare, as you didn't accomplish what I ask for.

Don't blame your own ignorance on diners' arrogance. Maybe you should ask the diner, "What do you mean, sir?" We'd be happy to explain to you what we want.

he is right you know.

word to bleachboy.

-m

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How about "all day"?  If I use it outside the kitchen, with normal folks,  how on earth do you explain THAT?

I've also heard first courses referred to as "Friday" and mains as "Saturday." So you might ask the expo what table 23 wanted for Saturday, or you might ask for an "all day"--what are all the orders I've got waiting--and then the expo will respond with "Friday you got two foie and one riblet, Saturday three steak, a veal, and four pork, two SOS" (SOS = sauce on side). The worst is when all that food is "on the fly"--they're pissed off or in a big hurry and you better push that food out ASAP.

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How about "all day"?  If I use it outside the kitchen, with normal folks,  how on earth do you explain THAT?

And what about 86? In school I was told it was the number of times an old school chef stabbed a cook who'd run out of the most popular dish on the menu.

86 actually comes from Chumleys on Bedford and Barrow in the west village, NYC. In the days of proabition when the coppers busted in the front door the bartender would yell "86" which was the address of the back door. So it came to mean outta here. One still 86's a bad customer so they cn never come back.

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i've seen a lot of spanglish used...staff meal is comida, a long day has been called mucho worko, etc. some places i've worked a lot of times on the line we'd just start talking in pidgin spanish, even when no one on the line was hispanic.

others: turn'n'burn--moving tables along so they'll get out so you can reseat the table...worked at a 200-seat restaurant once that did two and a half turns in about an hour and a half before the baseball game (it was right down the street from the stadium).

at my current place we say we're "out on" stuff when that course will be the next one fired, as in, "picking up two potatoes, four sweetbreads; out on two bass, four beef."

a dirty chef is senor susio (spanish for dirty). a hack is a zapatero, or shoemaker. when the whole line is having a bad night and we're cooking like idiots, we say we've been making shoes all night. in the weeds (or any kind of failure, really) is going down. getting under someone's skin by telling them what they've been doing wrong is being in the wheelhouse.

my favorite: "fire one slurry, on the fly." ...when you're busting ass all night long, running and sweating, sometimes you start chafing...in places. delicate places. so you call over to someone (loud enough so the whole kitchen can hear you) that you need a slurry. cuz cornstarch will effectively stop the chafing... (sometimes when we know we're gonna get crushed ther'll be reminders to each other to put cornstarch in their shorts.)

oh and knife wounds and burn scars are battle scars or track marks. you wanna insult someone when they get burned you ask if they want lotion (real men just tough it out :raz: )

thats all i can think of for now. i do know that in most places cooks think of themselves as hardcore, superior beings, too cool for words. which leads to slang, line dancing (executing graceful moves like spinning behind your buddy's back while he plates up, pulling something out of the oven, continuing the turn, and closing the oven door with your foot, using that motion to propel yourself to the pass where you can start your plate-up as your buddy spins and replaces his saucepot on the heat...etc) tattoos, bandannas, piercings, loud music, etc.

ps. this is my 100th post. yay for me.

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Interestingly, we always called that style "Philadelphia" not Pittsburgh... hmmm... But I'd agree with the quote above - if you're not sure, ask - and whether or not it's the way you'd like your steak (or any other food), if you can do it for the customer, do it.

You're both wrong.  "Pittsburgh style" or "black and blue" doesn't mean "extra rare", it means "burned to crap on the outside and rare as possible on the inside."  Big difference.  A really good steak place will put the steak directly on the coals to achieve this.  Another good way is between two ridiculously hot cast iron skillets.

It's not pretentious, it's a way of ordering that indicates how the diner would like it cooked.  If you can't do it, as a waiter, just say so.  Don't write down "extra rare" and sneer at the customer.  If I ask for "black and blue" or "Pittsburgh style" (FWIW, Pittsburgh is a little more done in the center; it is indeed closer to medium rare) and you send it back "extra rare", I'm not going to eat it; I'm going to send it back and ask for my steak medium-rare, as you didn't accomplish what I ask for.

Don't blame your own ignorance on diners' arrogance.  Maybe you should ask the diner, "What do you mean, sir?"  We'd be happy to explain to you what we want.

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86 actually comes from Chumleys on Bedford and Barrow in the west village, NYC.  In the days of proabition when the coppers busted in the front door the bartender would yell "86" which was the address of the back door.  So it came to mean outta here.  One still 86's a  bad customer so they cn never come back.

Actually that's one of those apocryphals stories. I don't remember where I read the whole thing, but I think it was either the NY Times or NY Mag a few years back where they were able to show the term in use in restaurants before Chumley's ever existed. Still, it makes a fun story.

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has anyone ever heard of the term "kit"? meaning, an item that is being prepped is ready to go for service.

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How about "all day"?  If I use it outside the kitchen, with normal folks,  how on earth do you explain THAT?

And what about 86? In school I was told it was the number of times an old school chef stabbed a cook who'd run out of the most popular dish on the menu.

I read somewhere that to 86 an item comes from Delmonico's in NY. It refers to running out of the 86th item on the menu: delmonico steak.

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Here's a couple.

To sell: complete the current order for a table. Often used by an impatient expediter or FOH manager who's waiting for one last dish, as in "Where's the sea bass? I wanna sell this table," or "If we could please get the hash on this plate, chef, I can sell it."

Deli: unit of measurement roughly equal to one quart or one pint, depending on the size of the deli container employed. Example:

"I had a deli of carrot brune right here! Who took my f-ing carrots?"

or

"You! Dishwasher! There's a deli of chicken stock in the walk-in. Get it, stat!"

"Yes, chef. Big deli or little deli?"

"Just get the damn stock!"

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Probably not what you are looking for but my son and colleagues refers to anyone who has been reamed out by chef as being raped......I had a taste of what he meant when he must have left his phone in his pocket. It autodialled me and I answered to hear the apocryphal phrase...'Oi you fat welsh c**t etc etc, hahahaha, son horrified but also amused that I heard it (not him, he isn't Welsh)

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Does anyone still refer to the small side dishes as "Monkey Dishes"?

yes - they were coined by the actual "use" of onkey skulls and it just stuck!

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"Shock the monkey" used for microwave ("Shock the monkey on the Spag Al" = nuke the Spaghetti Alfredo). Cheese= any attractive member of the opposite sex "Cheese on table 27" = Hot girl (usually) on 27 where as the kitchen staff would all strain for a peek. Good Sams for campers on a table ( "my section is full of Good Sams). Or I have heard whole dining rooms called a Wal Mart Parking Lot (just like the people in RVS who park there and don't pay.) Feather & Leather for a chicken and beef buffet. The ever popular "Meeze" for mise enplace (Hey man, don't f' with my Meeze!)

My favorite though is not a word but a parody of Bon Jovis "Dead or Alive" and the chorus went:

I'm a bus boy,

on a steel cart I ride

and I'm wanted (wanted)

on table 5

:rolleyes:

Mol

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"Shock the monkey" used for microwave ("Shock the monkey on the Spag Al" = nuke the Spaghetti Alfredo).  Cheese= any attractive member of the opposite sex  "Cheese on table 27" = Hot girl (usually) on 27 where as the kitchen staff would all strain for a peek.  Good Sams for campers on a table ( "my section is full of Good Sams).  Or I have heard whole dining rooms called a Wal Mart Parking Lot (just like the people in RVS who park there and don't pay.)  Feather & Leather for a chicken and beef buffet.  The ever popular "Meeze" for mise enplace (Hey man, don't f' with my Meeze!)

My favorite though is not a word but a parody of Bon Jovis "Dead or Alive" and the chorus went:

I'm a bus boy,

on a steel cart I ride

and I'm wanted (wanted)

on table 5

:rolleyes:

Mol

Word!

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Lexan: plastic container for perishables or non-perishables.

Camper: Party that stays at a table for way long....especially the last table of the evening!

Robotcoupe: Industry food processor.

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Dishwasher=underwater ceramic engenieer

Dish washer=rainman

All day=total

on the fly=RFN

bartender=intoxologist

Will add more soon...kinda busy now

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Agreed on many of the above.

all day = total

reggae = regular preparation

slamming = salmon

bang cali = Two particilar apps (Bang Bang Shrimp and the Calamari)

me so horny = Miso Glazed Black Cod entree

coming down hot = hot pans, move out of the way!

coming down sexy = hot pans, move out of the way!

coming down sharp = carrying a knife

sea ass = seabass

drive by table __ = check on where they are on eating/finishing a particular course

steak knives to sell = go to dish and find some and bring them to expo

push on plates = push plates to be accessible by the line

burn ice = melt ice well with buckets of hot water

pig = a person that sifted throught the garbage to find tossed silverware

cambro = same as a lexan, different brand

Will post more as I think of them.

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I haven't heard it used in years but a "Shoe maker" is a cook who just can't hang.

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Yeah, shoe or shoemaker is a great one but I've always used and heard it to mean someone who CAN cook, but is a hack-lacks any kind of passion or finesse.

A couple terms I've heard lately are "cock sauce" for sriracha-because Tuong Ot brand sriracha has a rooster on the bottle, and it's fun to say. Edamame is "eatcha mama"-for no good reason at all, except, yes it is fun to say. Asparagus is "assbag-" balsamic vinegar is "ballsack." Do we see a bit of a pattern here? but wadda ya gonna do....

In a less profane vein, "flash" means to briefly heat something in an oven or salamander to bring it up a notch or two-there's another one-"bring this steak up to medium, please."

Or "get some heat on this, chef!" The title "chef" itself is used a lot, sometimes VERY sarcastically, between cooks-" Hey Dave! Your pico de gallo needs a little salt, don't you think?" "Yes chef. Thank you chef. I'll get right on that, chef, ya damn shoemaker!"

Equipment is funny too-a flexible fish spatula is sometimes a Peltex, even when it's not made by Peltex. A food processor, as mentioned by someone else, is a Robot Coupe-generally mispronounced like "coo" instead of "coop"-but big immersion blenders are sometimes made by and referred to as Robot Coupes. Usually, however, these are "beurre mixers" or "boat motors,"and the small versions are "beurre sticks" or even, if the speaker is a real geek, as "emulsifiers." I don't have any insights into its origins, but I HAVE heard the term "all day" used in one other , but similar context-when playing Horse, a poker-type game played with dice which are shaken in a cup and WHANGED down on the bar-so you might say, " I got a pair of fours all day,"and you really mean right then-ish.

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My first chef, a tiny firey Jamacian woman, would describe something that tasted wonderful as Stepped On". "Hon, you really stepped on that curry goat"

Toby

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We always called those small dishes "monkey dishes" too . . . and the round silver little containers that we'd use for a side of tartar sauce or mayo were "bullets." No idea if other restaurants use that term.

I swear, 13 years later I still shout phrases like "behind you" or "watch your back" when I'm trying to get past someone with a load of stuff in my hands. Doesn't work as well among lawyers as it did in the kitchen.

Asking for an "all day" or telling someone to "fire table 40" still makes perfect sense to me. Besides, expediter is a demanding job - they should be able to say whatever they want.

Not sure if anyone mentioned this, but one of my favorite kitchen phrases (as a runner, especially, because of proximity to what was being given away) was when something in the window was "dead" - ie, couldn't be brought to a table b/c it was sitting too long. Like music to our ears . . . it would be mauled in a matter of seconds.

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Among other explanations, 86 = eight feet out and six feet under.

(The coffee isn't working yet.)


Edited by Megan Kathleen (log)

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Cooks, in the Italian restaurant I worked at, would have a hard time differentiating (ESL) the call for a 'veal mushroom' (sauteed) and a 'grilled mushroom' (er, not...).

We changed the call for the 'grilled mushroom' to 'Bobby D' (it had to be something Italian :wink:

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In my kitchen when we get an order fire entree we call it out 'order in, 2 amuse, OFMF....and the entrees'. OFMF or course stands for Order Fire Mother F*cker. Since it's an open kitchen we have to shorten it a tad. :laugh:

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