Ten Rules for working in the Kitchen

Ten Rules for working in the Kitchen

I have a hard time taking anything seriously and while I may hate the industry, I still love to cook. I don’t care about titles or awards or any of that but I do care about what I put on the plate. If you want to cook with me, pay attention to the following.

1. Have your own knife

Notice that I say knife, not knives. You don’t need a full kit in most places and I sure as hell don’t expect you to have your own peeler or wooden spoons. But for fuck’s sake bring at least one sharp knife. It doesn’t have to be a top of the line hand forged piece of steel, just something sharp that does the job. Fun fact: Come to a stage without your own knife and you won’t get the job.

2. Don’t sleep with your staff

I can tell you this until I’m blue in the face but chances are you’re still going to do it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun but it never ends well. I’ve done it a few times and the last time it almost ended with a brick getting thrown through my window.

3. 15 minutes early is on time and on time is late

Take a bit of pride in your work. I don’t take the time to write the schedule as a suggestion, I’m not hoping it works with your other plans and I don’t care about your bullshit excuses. Show up with enough time to get your head together and be ready to work. You’re going to want to have time to take a piss, make some coffee and check the reservations without being in a rush. Plus, if you’re covering the night shift, the day crew is going to want to make sure you know what’s going on.

4. Always keep a separation between Church and State

Leave your personal shit at home. While there are certainly exceptions, chances are that you’re not going to know, let alone be friends with anyone you work with now in a year. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have fun and be personal but do yourself a favor and play your cards close to your chest. People will use your shit against you and no one wants to work with someone who’s always bitching about how much their life sucks.

5. Know how to handle your drugs

Super joint

I go into work every day stoned and yet neither you nor my bosses would ever know since I stay busy, I don’t fuck up prep or orders, even during a rush and I simply keep my shit together for the most part. I smoke weed so that I can stay focused but I never drink while I’m cooking since it makes me sloppy. A lot of people can’t handle taking a toke within hours and some guys need to be stoned to function. Know your limits and if things get out of hand, get help before you turn into a total fuck up.

6. Stay humble

No matter who you are, you really don’t know a damn and have a lot to learn so shut up and pay attention. While some of you young bucks might think your hot shit, the more time and experience that you get under your belt, the more you see how little you really know. There’s no summit or end game, it’s a constant process of evolution. On that note, you’re never ever ever going to be too good to wash dishes, take out the trash or mop the floors at the end of the night. If you think you are, you can get fucked. If you work for someone who thinks that they are, fuck em, find another gig, you’re not going to learn anything from someone like that other than how to be an asshole.

7. There’s no such thing as front or back of the house

There’s no such thing as “It’s not my job”. Those words or any variation there of will get you kicked the fuck out of my Kitchen faster than pissing in my soup. If someone needs help, you help them. While we all play our roles, we’re still a team and if the bartender needs ice and you have a minute to grab it, do it. I can promise you your shift drink at the end of the night will be a bit stronger. Be an ass and you’ll be lucky for a quick pour from the well. I’ve seen too many places that there was an unnecessary rivalry between the front and back of the house that ruined the vibe of the joint. Dishwasher, Chef, Server, whatever your “title” is, it’s still your job to take care of the rest of your crew.

8. Fuck Sysco

Seriously, don’t waste your time ever using these bastards. Not only are they one of the single biggest factors to the decline of standards in the Culinary world, their products and service are some of the worst in the industry since they view themselves as too big to fail. No matter what amount of smoke and mirrors the rep tries to throw at you, they don’t care about anything other than profits for them. Take the time to do your homework and find local vendors who will be more than happy to work with you.

9. Always be ready for worst case scenario

If it can go wrong, it will go wrong. The split second you think that you have your shit together, something will go sideways. Your ice machine will break, your dishwasher will show up on shrooms (always entertaining but the fucker never brings enough to share) and a tour bus full of Kosher keto vegans will show up 10 minutes prior to close.

Always make sure you have your shit together, always make sure you have your backups. Make sure the guy to your left and right have their shit together since if they go down, so do you. If something needs to be done or could be done, don’t wait, do it.

10. Cook like you fuck

This isn’t a joke. If you have any intention of setting foot in my Kitchen you better bring your fucking A game homie. If you’re going to cook, fucking COOK, don’t half-ass it and don’t ever let me see you throw something on a plate. I don’t care if you’re cooking at a strip club or a Michelin rated joint, food is food. Everything that we work with gave and entrusted it’s life to us to give life to others. Everything is sacred. My Kitchen is a temple, my customers are my congregation and I’m preaching love. Got it?

Bonus points

Be a leader: Don’t be that asshole screaming Chef, be that Chef that people look up to and admire. Your job is work with and train your staff, to help them be the best they can be. If someone fucks up, don’t scream at them in front of others, pull em aside and address the issue and work with them to fix it. Trust me, you will get much better results like this and be able to build a crew who’s loyal to you. All that being said, this is a team sport.

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