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.

Greatest Kitchen Practical Jokes


Joisey
 Share

Recommended Posts

At the joint I work in now we have these 5 gallon jugs of grated horseradish. It's tradition, more or less, to ask one of the new guys "Does this smell alright to you?".

Oh man... I fell for that one when I started there and it was bad! My lungs hurts for a few days afterwards.

Trying to make a salad in someone's back pocket is pretty funny. Just slowly add ingredient after ingredient until, VOILA, You've got a salad.

Once someone I worked with started francticly calling for a server to the line. When the server (Luis with a mexican accent) got there he was told that we were out of strawberry mash potatoes and that he needed to make sure that all the other servers knew and to tell the bar as well. Dude came back 5 minutes later and said, "Is thees a yoke?!?"

I'm amazed at how many other people have done the compressed espresso patty surprise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A coworker of mine told me that a popular one in German bakeries is to tell new apprentices that ammonium bicarbonate smells like mint. Stick your nose in a container of ABC and take a good whiff and you won't be smelling anything for a while.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

nothing like freezing a noob's shoes or jacket in a 22qt. bucket. funny as hell to watch a guy walk home in his socks on a rainy night, knowing that he has beed defeated.

another one... a bucket of fish fumet with yeast and green food coloring (and any other various ingredients guarenteed to stink to high hell) left under the fryer, over the oven, or someplace else warm and moist for a week, then tossed over a guy without warning on his last night... always a great one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bring in a dozen doughnuts for the waitstaff. Position them next to the coffee machine.

The next day bring in the photo of the kitchen crew all bent over with a doughnut stuck in the crack of their a$$. Tape to coffee machine.

www.saltyskitchen.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A couple days into my first job as a dishwasher, I'm called into the kitchen by my Chef and in this semi-frantic tone [it was a busy night, and I was a little nervous to be talking to this guy, so I had a pretty big sense of urgency] he tells me that I need to go find him the parsley curler on the fly. I eventually made my way back to Chef empty handed after having searched the entire kitchen/upstairs storage and asked just about everyone in the kitchen.

I finally found out that it was a joke about a week later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay so what I have seen probably isn't the greatest ever, but it sure is gross. We had a server who was also a manager at times, and loved to talk up the BOH to get rich dinners for free every shift he worked. They usually ran along the lines of wagyu, risotto, some type of roulade, basically something featuring the best we had that day. Even though one cook in particular seemed always to fulfill these wishes, I guess one day he decided to exact his payment for all those dinners he made at the end of his shift. Needless to say by this time the server had gotten used to receiving and totally trusted whatever he got.

Let's just say he's now a lot more wary of mayonnaise creme brulees (hey that rhymes!). Truly, truly disgusting. Other than that I think the most common trick played by our kitchen staff on the FOH was the smuggling of burning hot peppers in free meals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It was a couple days after halloween and I took the dummy off my front porch. Put a hangman's noose around the neck and hung it by the top tier of the walk-in freezer rack. Scared the bejusus out of the staff one by one.

Suckling pig head as delivery guy hood ornament.

bit of tomato stem (the green/black crown thing) looks insect-like, so I fold it just under my sleeve. "Hey Mel, somethings been itching my arm. Can you take a look and tell me if you see anything?" So Mel, female line cook, gets up close and personal just as I unfold the bit of sleeve and out pops the stem. She's afraid of spiders. She freaked... I would have been gutted had she a knife in her hand. Funnier yet was John, 50 year old steel worker turned cook. I had whispered "John, watch this" just before turning to Mel. When the stem pops out, he gives a school-girl scream and does a little dance of horror - he's afraid of spiders too!

20oz styro bowl plastic wraps, tubelike and about 30" long. I tell the dishwasher new regs require him to wear the plastic on his arms, like a giant condom, when handling the trash. We let him go for a week and a half on that one ("wheres the extra arm condoms?").

breaded deep fried chicken livers. "Hey whats this?" ask staff as they saunter in to work. "Chicken...its for staff" I reply in all honesty. They grab one, pop it into their mouth and promptly go "yeccchhh", spitting it into the garbage. (except chicken boy #11 who enjoyed 'em and finished them up).

and the 'pretend to be electrocuted' gag when moving the toaster is always fun with newbies.

not so much a practical joke, but fun nonetheless. I always kept a bottle of high octane hot sauce, like Blair's or The Bomb or Ground Zero for the loudmouth customer who wants "the hottest you got". Dishwashers and waiters generally think Tobasco is the hottest sauce around, so trying to educate them, I offer some of the heat on a toothpick. With a proper warning, of course, but they always accept... fun to see their eyes bug out and visit the ice machine every 5 minutes for an hour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes "professional" kitchens are a dangerous place to work.

All of the posts bring back some cherished memories both FOH and BOH.

But none compare with the accounts of Ludwig Bemelman in his book "Hotel Splendide".

Get some sophistication to those silly pranks. Read from a master.

Thanks for the reference, looks interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the home made ice cream place where I worked, I discovered that one of the employees (who later went on to divinity school) was an absolute master of the prat fall. He would fall off of anything, completely convincingly, bringing down piles of plastic and stainless containers, tongs, milkshake cups, bins ... anything that could bounce, fly across the room, and make an incredible racket. He was willing to risk injury for his art, and many times ended up with cuts, black eyes, and shredded clothes.

I was manager of the place, in charge of ice cream making and FOH, and probably should have put an end to this. But life is short, so instead I became his apprentice.

It was like Karate Kid, with him teaching me tricks with increasing degrees of danger (and glory). The crowning achievement was to get on the highest rung of the step ladder that we used for changing flavors on the dry erase board, reach for something, and tumble off--bringing down the ladder, the markers, and all the loud containers and other props that we'd laboriously set up on the counter below.

The customers, it seemed, didn't like this. They didn't know if they should laugh, politely look the other way, or run for an ambulance. The employees who scooped the ice cream dreaded it (it made them nearly jump out of their skin, and then they had to pacify the customers). And the owner HATED it. But he somehow felt powerless to stop it. Maybe he thought we'd quit if we lost our only creative outlet.

Another game that tortured scoopers and customers alike was pioneered by a brilliant, filthy-minded ice cream maker. He staged mock dungeon proceedings in the kitchen. He loved the deafening noise you could make by slapping two of the long, plastic spatulas against eachother. He'd be alone in the kitchen, and suddenly the calm would be violated by a loud SMACK!!! followed by "Ow!!!" and then (through gritted teeth), "Thank you sir, may I have another!?"

This would be repeated fifty or sixty times, while the scoopers up front blushed and tried to pretend they don't hear anything.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This just happened the other day, it's an old war horse and I can't BELIEVE anyone would fall for it, let alone the Assistant Director of Purchasing. One of my cooks asked Jerry for a specialty cheese for a dish he was working on, some "Fromunda" (GROAN..I know, it's 3rd grade but whatever). Jerry took the bait and called 4 or 5 local purveyors...The Director said he had 3 messages on his machine saying they've never heard of that particular cheese and they couldn't get it. It might be worse knowing that there are purveyors that would fall for that as well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its been years since I have worked in a kitchen but some funny things we did include...

- Baking a co-workers keys in a calzone.

- Deep frying the same workers keys (after this he kept them in his pants pocket.

- mixing in raw eggs with the hard boiled eggs that were used for salads.

- rolling wet side towels into the shape of a penis, freezing them, and putting them in interesting places (lockers, hotel pans, etc)

- Sending newbies to deliver pizza to addresses that don't exist

-

Or a twist on the raw egg trick: put one or two hard cooked eggs in the egg tray, just before the breakfast rush hits.

Buen provecho, Panosmex
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Worked at a now defunct Frenchified place where we bought ice cream in by the half gallon to make the coupes, cutely named after the owner's daughter's and nicknamed by us using their family nicknames...Coupe Dodi, Coupe Mumfi, and Coupe Boom Boom. the luncheon chef buried a rabbit's head in a tub of vanilla ice cream and we were all highly gratified when a waitress turned it up with a scoop and screamed. He also put one in a bucket of side towels to be washed by the wait staff, but it was missed and wound up shedding bits of meat all through the wash.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

My son, about to graduate with a second degree from the CIA, cut his culinary education teeth at Job Corps, a federal program that, as he described it, is like a cross between the military and prison. It was exactly what he needed. He wrote the following story down for me recently, about a trick he played early in his Job Corps career:

So it was vegetable day for me – I had to do different cooking techniques for vegetables. So I decided to make a fried portobello mushroom sandwich with grilled zucchini, eggplant and red peppers or something like that with a jack cheese and sun-dried tomato tapenade. I'd made this sandwich and I was in the cafeteria with my buddies Chris and Travis and this other girl, I think her name was Tasha. And we were eating and she asked me what it was, and I was like, “It’s a portobello sandwich.”

We had a mushroom in the cafeteria, and she asked us what it was, and we said it was a raw portobello mushroom, and Chris dared me to eat it. And I was like, “Okay, no problem.” And so I took a chunk of it and I chewed it and swallowed, and Chris turned to me and said, “Dude! Dude! I was just kidding!” And then he told me, “Portobellos are poisonous unless you cook them.” And so I kinda lost all expression from my face, and I turned to Travis and looked at Tasha who, by the way, was studying to be a nurse, and then I looked at Chris and said, “Are you serious?” and he said, “Yeah!” So I ran back into the kitchen looking scared. Out of view, I got a little latex glove and I cut the pinkie finger off of it and I put some baking soda in it. Then I blew it up so it was a really tight bubble, but small, about the size of a marble. And then I got a cup and put some white vinegar in it. And I kinda tucked the baking soda back by my molars and I walked back into the cafeteria holding something that looked like a cup of water.

Tasha was obviously concerned because I'd just eaten this poisonous mushroom. I was kinda weaving back and forth and I said, “Uhhh... I don’t feel too good.” I said something like “Maybe I should get some fluids in me, a drink of water or something.” So I took a swig of the vinegar and while it was in my mouth, I popped the latex balloon with the baking soda and as this massive amount of carbon dioxide was being produced in my mouth, I dropped to the floor and convulsed violently in what looked like a grand mal epileptic seizure while foaming at the mouth. So while I was on the floor shaking like no tomorrow, she ran and got one of the cafeteria workers. By the time she came back, I was on the floor still, not convulsing but laughing hysterically along with Chris and Travis.

She was pissed.

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Germany 1951, me into third month cooks apprenticeship.

Head Chef's tall order:

" Peter, you need to go the Hotel Restaurant "........." kitchen and asked the chef there if we could please borrow the

" Kuemmelspaltmaschine "

( a mechanical device to split Carraway seeds in half with )

Me, proud for such a tall order to be trusted with, went across town on foot. At the other establishment, making my chef's request, I was given, after about 15 min wait, a large box weighing just a bit over 50 pounds, and was told in a very stern voice to not open the box until I got back to our place.

Arriving, and naturally anxious to see this piece of small kitchen appliance I had never heard of, I was told to wait until all personell, including management and waitstaff was present as many had not seen this thing either.

Time came, everyone with eyes wide open, I, very nervous opened the carton to only discover that the box was loaded with plain old bricks.

40 or so people had their Schadenfreude and laughter prevailed for at least 15 minutes, plus I was reminded of this calamity, mine, for the next week or so.

Not to forget, the chef from the other place called and wanted to know when I would bring back his so much neede tool.

I was devastated and ashamed to fall for this practical joke

Edited by Peter B Wolf (log)
Peter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

1958 Hotel Americana Miami Beach, Main Kitchen with Chinese section for Bal Masque and Medallion Dining Rooms.

Chinese Chef always having a Stogie in his mouth, Head Chef Hugo Huenecke constantly reprimanding the Chineman. To no avail.

At times he put the stub onto a produding metal hook holding a fire extinguisher.

We always seasoned the chewed end of the Cigar with Tabasco Sauce.

One cleaver swinging screaming Chinaman running berserk. Funny

Peter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...