A Splash of Humor and a Dash of Asshole

Tools of the Trade

Kitchen is closed, and I’m frantically trying to scrub my station, wrap my mis up and get the hell out of here. We just did a ton of covers with not enough staff. I’m elbow deep in a bucket of suds trying to clean when IT happened. I look up and see that girl from the host stand. I don’t notice her slamming body or her angelic smile. I notice my baby being slaughtered right in front of my eyes. My brand new 10 inch chef knife is being twisted into the butcher block table. Miss teen U.S.A is flirting with the sous chef while she is jamming my “blade of glory” deeper and deeper into the table. Do I politely ask her to stop and set it down? Do I explain to her how she is really hurting my feelings? No, I raise my voice and in a very pissed off tone I say “what the fuck do you think you’re doing, that thing is worth more than your life.” Tears instantly pour from her eyes and she has no response. I ended up apologizing later in the evening, not my proudest moment.

Knives become almost an extension of a cooks body. They are used all day every day in a kitchen. Good cooks treat their knives like their children. How many onions do we dice or how many cloves of galic do we slice in a normal week? That knife tranforms from a kitchen tool into a workhorse very quickly. If you have a cheap or a dull knife your job gets a lot harder a lot faster.

Cooks are picky people. There is that pair of tongs that have the perfect feel to them. They are not too tight but not too loose. Spending a shift without them could ruin a night. Towels have to be folded perfectly and in abundance. All your mis en place has to be in just the right containers and put on the line in the perfect location. It gets borderline crazy. But when you stop and think about it, we are all a little crazy.


2 responses

  1. Alex Penn

    Don’t touch my knives, ever! I’m the pastry chef, and really, don’t touch anything of mine, EVER!! You thought line cooks are nuts? Just try me!!

    March 27, 2010 at 5:30 am

  2. rina h

    I used to be a cook, family type place, nothing big time..I also worked in the kitchen of the County Jail…I hated it HATED IT when someone messed with my stuff, knife, spat, bar towels. And, I made sure they all knew it too, if they dared mess with my stuff a second time…well let’s just say no one tried it a second time. Tools of the trade are just that, whether you are a cook, chef, surgeon, carpenter.

    March 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm

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