Behind the swinging doors in a commercial kitchen is another world. A world some love some, some loathe. A world where the personal boundaries are different, work college’s standards are different and friendships are different. Why? Pressure, heat, danger, timing, frantic speed, stress and most of all more pressure. When the love is there and it’s got to be bloody love, it’s is then a hectic high, an adrenaline rush and a food junkie’s maximum hit. What a buzz of sheer pleasure from the start of service to the just wicked moment when the remanding last dockets are spiked.
With this all in mind it’s easy to understand the language chefs often speak can be crude, offending and even just dam wrong to the outside world. As I have said before a commercial kitchen is not for the light hearted. It’s a hot ‘n’ greasy, fast paced, high stress, dangerous environment. We count on each other to bring it together, make it happen. But at the same time take the piss, humour each other and see past the small talk. What goes on behind those doors stays behind those doors.
Maybe its years of handling, cutting and pulling apart an array of dead animals or the holy hell stress of making it through a busy service, maybe it’s the late nights and weird sleep patterns, maybe it’s the knock off beer that turns into more than one. Whatever it is, it happens all over the world. Trust me!
Yes there is a strong love, an admiration for your fellow team mates. We need to flow together, cook together and push those dockets through. Sending out table after table of perfectly cooked cuisine. This united determination brings us together in a 3 hour service of absolute mayhem. Body parts, privates and all are bumped, rubbed, pushed, poked, cut, burnt and scored. The small place, the line-up, where all the meals come together, our ballet is performed. It’s inevitable you are going to come in contact with each other. Mentally, spiritually and verbally and defiantly not very politely. I have many scars from many burns to prove this.
Another team mate, another chef, can take the Mickey out of you to almost tears, tell jokes that will make you squirm and scar you for life and it’s all just another day in the office. It’s just the way we roll.
To me we are a team. A very strong team, all as important as each other. From the Head chef to the dishwasher, we are all needed to perform our own ballet to unite us as one. Hard-core and rude but it’s a family rude, kitchen family rude, in a strange way lovable, acceptable rude. Acceptable scars, acceptable crudeness, acceptable family love. It’s just who we are.
A chef family, my chef family and I love them all.