Okay, so some of you think that after the last article that I’ve gone soft. No no no, the claws are still sharp and ready to tear into someone’s ass the moment that they step out of line. Even the managers at my current position are very well aware of this fact and they know that I have no mercy when it comes to my tongue.
I got lucky coming up in Kitchens during the 90’s right before things went PC and people starting getting butthurt over stupid shit. Listen, I get it, there is such thing as verbal abuse and there are certainly assholes who take things way too far. These are the same misogynistic assholes who claim to be Doms and yet have no respect for women. This is completely different from what I’m talking about. There’s a huge fucking difference between degrading your crew and what I’m talking about and if you don’t understand it, you need to take your ass back to the dish pit.
What I’m talking about is the poetry.
There are two types of people that you never ever want to get into a shit-talking match with. A Chef and a Drill instructor since we have perfected our vulgarity into an art. It’s not just a matter of calling someone a fuck tart, that’s basic, simple and unskilled. No no no, we craft every aspect of our attack, our tone, our speed, the choice of words. Amateurs scream and yell while guys like us stand back and smile, waiting for the stutter, the opening that we can use to go in for the kill.
A good lashing is a performance. It often starts with something small yet effective enough to get the persons attention. The target replies but is instantly shut down and verbally bitch-slapped again. The challenge has been issued and this is when the amateurs try to step up and act hard. They don’t realize that they’re being toyed with, pulled into the trap. Clueless, they take the bait and this is when the audience starts to gather. It’s as savage as watching a lion eat a deer and as beautiful to the ears as a symphony. Often, the profanity is kept to a minimum since a large vocabulary earns extra points and the word “Fuck” or any of its variations are used sparingly, as a seasoning for just that little extra bit of flavor.
It’s also a matter of respect.
Dude’s mom just passed a year or so ago? You don’t go near that subject, it’s unspoken but off-limits and if you do, it’s over. For a lashing to be done right, you have to know your target and know their buttons. The goal is to leave them speechless, not to make them want to punch you. You want it to be so merciless that even your target is cheering you on.
A good lashing is a savage tour de force, picking apart every perceivable defect of the person. You go after their clothes, their sports teams, the way they smell, how shitty they keep their mise. But you always know the line and you respect that line. You pay attention to the situation, to the vibe of how people are taking it. You don’t cross that line since, at the end of the day, we’re still crew.
The tables get turned
From time to time, someone takes things a bit too far and pushes a bit harder then they should on the wrong person. Often it’s the quiet one, the kid who never speaks up. One day, he has enough and snaps and when this happens, it tends to be savage. You can only push someone so far and when they’re backed into a corner, things tend to get very colorful and oh so entertaining.
You don’t get to talk shit.
This is what people on the various social media sites fail fucking miserably to understand. Yes, talking shit is a major part of the Kitchen culture but you don’t work with me, you don’t have my respect, we haven’t done the dance together on a busy Friday night. My crew has my respect and I have theirs and there’s a whole lot of thing that they say to me and I say to them that would never fly outside of the Kitchen. My guys and I make race jokes all the time but have no doubt, if someone else made those kinds of remarks to them, I’d be the first person to throw a punch since well, I’m white and probably wouldn’t go to jail and if so, it’s worth it.
I hate the fact that our culture is changing but it is and yes, some people get way too upset over some really dumb shit. These are people who, to put it nicely are too weak to deal with the stress and really don’t need to be in a Kitchen since they tend to slow the rest of us down. At the same time, there are a whole lot of guys that cross the line and create a hostile work environment. It’s one thing if everyone is laughing but if you’re not cool with your crew at the end of the night, you’ve got a problem. If you can’t figure out the line, err on the side of caution and shut the fuck up since chances are, you’re not as funny as you think.
There’s a certain comradery that forms with a crew that’s been working with each other for a while. The hours and the stress take its toll and we talk shit to burn off steam. At the end of the night, we always make sure to shake hands. It’s not PC, it’s not for the easily offended but there’s still a level of respect. We know that the guy standing next to us has our back when shit is hitting the fan.
By the way, if you dig what we’re doing and want to help
We are currently in the process of filming a new indie documentary series called “Life on the Line” about the real lives of working-class Cooks and Chefs. For as little as a buck a month, you’ll get behind the scenes, uncensored access to one of a kind content you won’t find anywhere else or you can make a one-time donation below. This project is fan-funded so seriously, every dollar helps out a lot. Thanks and I look forward to cooking for you soon.