I wasn’t there in person, the story was told to me years ago by another cook outside while getting high on cheap weed after a long night in the Kitchen where the stress had almost reached the tipping point. We’ve all seen it, it’s one of those situations that we dread the most, one small thing goes wrong, the entire vibe changes and shit continues to go sideways the rest of the shift. Afterwards, you’re left shaking and questioning why the fuck you’re still putting up with this bullshit after all these years. The good news is that you didn’t snap, this time, and you still have a job to come back to.
If you’re going to go out, fuck it, go out in style.
“The son of a bitch salted the line!!!” he said, clearly reliving the glory of the moment while he continued to explain the situation. For starters, the Chef was Greek. I don’t care what you want to say about profiling, everyone of them that I’ve worked with has been fuck as nuts and I’ve worked for a few. I’m sure there are a few great ones that don’t throw hot pans without warning but I’ve never experienced it. I didn’t know the guy in question but he lived up to the reputation and was savage as fuck to his crew. Now listen, I came up in the 90’s, I know all about the old ways and kinda miss em, but there’s a difference between driving your crew and being an abusive asshole for no reason and this guy was clearly in the later.
Nature has a way of balancing things
For every action, there tends to be an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes, an object will even store energy until it reaches critical mass and releases it in one, often violent action. What I’m trying to say is that you can only push a motherfucker so far before they push back and you can be sure that when they do, they’re going to put every ounce they have with the full intent of putting you on your ass. If a person is a big enough of an asshole for long enough, this will happen a few times and hopefully the person will learn to be less of an abusive asshole.
It was around 4:30 on a Friday
Right before service and most likely the cook had just come back from burning a phatty for the 4:20. This way, you come back refreshed and relaxed and you still have a half hour to tighten up and polish your Mise without rushing into service. Apparently the Chef didn’t partake and was feeling vulgar. He chose his victim and went off on the guy for some bullshit arbitrary reason like his parsley wasn’t chopped fine enough. Now, a real Chef would have said “Hey, this isn’t how I want it, let me show what I expect.” and not do what this bitch did which was scream and tell him he was a failure and piece of shit.
Dude stood there in silence.
He took it like a man while the rest of the crew was too terrified to move let alone speak. About half way through, something in his eyes changed, he still didn’t say a word while the Chef ripped into him but his eyes got relaxed, he wasn’t scared at all. He had snapped but no one else could see it. After a few minutes, the Chef finally ran out of steam because Blow is an intense but short lived high, and told the guy to get back to work.
He shouted it back with a smile as he grabbed an unopened five pound box of Kosher salt and broke the seal with ease. Then he proceeded to salt the entire fucking line, the fish, the soup, the herbs, butter, everything. People were used to watching the Chef lose his shit on random people and everyone had been the victim of his bullshit at one point. What they weren’t used to was seeing anyone speak up or take any kind of action. In other words people froze, no one did anything other than try to hide their utter glee for the moment.
Of course he ended it by slamming the box down like he’d make the game winning touchdown at the superbowl which, for all intents, in that moment, he had. It was a small yet highly effective gesture that was far more fitting than a simple “Fuck you!” since the effects of this one act would be felt throughout the night. Yes, it meant that that crew was one short on a Friday and they had to restock their stations but it was a small price to pay to watch that prick get a taste of his own venom. Finally someone had the balls to strike back and strike back hard in a way that could be felt. The beast could in fact be wounded and it didn’t take long for the rest of the crew to get sick of his shit and follow. From what I gather all but two of the Kitchen staff quit within a month leaving the guy struggling to find cooks since no one wanted to work for a total asshole, no one worth a damn at least.
What’s the point?
As Billy Butcher puts it so simply “Don’t be a cunt.”, it’s really that simple. Be cool, treat your staff with respect and pay them a living wage and most will go above expectations to help you succeed but if you are one, at some point you’re going to pull that shit with the wrong motherfucker and it’s not going to end well. While I never have and never will advocate violence, don’t be afraid to stand up to the cunts in the world either since the only reason they get away with that shit is because people let them.