DON’ T UPSET THE CHEF
For years we humble servants of the eating public have been held up to ridicule by all and sundry as being difficult, temperamental, bad tempered, irritable, prone to knife throwing, pot throwing, and all around culinary legends. Remember that the Chef is humbly working away in the kitchen under enormous pressure, putting together dishes that would be fit for a king, and you, the undeserving public, have the gall to criticise us, be warned, by sending in these endless complaints that you voice just loud enough, so you can be heard in the next town whilst trying to impress your girl friend with your culinary expertise and the beleaguered waiting staff with little moans like, “oh the Mousse was a bit heavy” or too light or the gravy was not reduced properly to much heat maybe, or not as nice as my mums, how about, tell the chef that the pate in the Rossini was a little grainy and I don’t like grainy pate. This is good but have you got mushy peas and so the list goes on.
So, after many years of working as a Chef, I have collected these stories from my long-suffering colleagues around the world, of what they have done to customers and employers that have upset them. All the chefs will remain nameless for good reason, as the last laugh, must always be had by the Chef.
So remember that when you walk into an establishment to eat, whether a roadside cafe or a top class restaurant, tip the chef well, keep sending back the compliments, because outlined below are what we can do to you if you don’t.
This is one from Australia. A new manager of a hotel and his family kept on going into the cold room and taking six chocolate mousses each night after the Chef and his brigade had gone home. If they had friends over, up to a dozen mousses would go missing. Every morning the Chef would have to assign a staff member to make up more mousse, or horrors, the head Chef would have to make them up himself.
A week of this went by, and the Chef was beginning to get a little peeved. On this particular morning all of the staff were nursing hangovers of biblical proportions, after the Sous Chef’s birthday at a bar in the next town, and that morning the Head Chef had to remake a dozen mousses. Chef was not amused,
he had the chocolate melting down in the Bain Marie, the cream all ready and the eggs separated. He fitted the blades into the hand blender to begin whipping the egg whites, and as he turned the blender on, out came pieces of the cockroaches that had taken up residence for the night, as this was in an hotel in the north of Australia where ‘cockies’ are a part of life. The Chef looked at the Sous Chef - he nodded, he turned to the Saucier - he nodded, as he looked around to the whole kitchen staff, they all nodded their approval.
After he had finished the mousse, he kept them to one side, and that night he put them to the front of the tray. Sure enough, that morning all of the roach mousses had gone. When the family came down that morning the manager and his wife came into the kitchen and said ‘Chef, those mousses we had last night’. All in the kitchen fell quiet; the Chef turned from his Bombe Alaska and said ‘yyyess’. ‘Chef’ the manager said in his pompous voice ‘never before have I, I mean we’, looking at his wife ‘had a taste experience as good as that mousse we had last night, especially the crunchy chocolate pieces,’ interrupted his wife. ‘Thank you’ said the Chef graciously, ‘I’m glad you liked them, I’ll make them that way in future for you if you want’. ‘Would you?’ said the manager. ‘I’d be delighted’ said the Chef.
In a hotel up in northern New South Wales in Australia, the local police had had other units drafted from the capital Sydney to take out raids on the local hippie farms for Marijuana patches - most were just out of Cop College and out to change the world.
All of the kitchen staff enjoyed a quiet puff as did the whole town, including the local cops who resented the incursion by the out-of-towners with their smart city ways and technology, but had no choice with the new commissioner’s war on drugs.
It was a busy day in the hotel restaurant, and all of the newcomers were ripping it up at the bar and at the tables. The local cops, all three of them, were at their usual table playing cards and had just ordered their usual rump steak with mushroom and onion sauce. One of the out-of-towners, a little worse for wear, started to mouth off how he dragged this hippy out of his tin shack and shoved his pistol in his mouth and forced him to tell him where his patch was. All of the out-of-towners joined in with their own tales of terror perpetrated against the locals.
The local Sergeant was getting a little tired of all this and beckoned the already sexually harassed waitress to come over and ask if the Chef would like to join them for a drink. The Chef came out and sat down to a beer. ‘Chef’ said the Sergeant, ‘can you fix these young pricks including their uppity boss who are upsetting my town?’ ‘Sure, Sarge’ said the Chef.
The loud young cop saw the waiter bring the rump steaks on sizzle platters to the local cops, all smoking and the smell got to him, and he yelled ‘ hey fellas! we’ll all have one of those,’ so the order went out to the kitchen, and after the kitchen and waiting staff had all spat on or urinated on the out-of-towners steaks, the chef put a strong laxative into the mushroom and onion sauce. All of the police were sent back to Sydney after the raids failed because of sickness, and the little town got back to normal.
This is one from the north of England. At a seaside hotel, a party of three families were always causing trouble, especially their eight rowdy children, who were always poking fun at the Chef because of his size, which was very generous, even by traditional Chef standards. On this one occasion, the children had been taunting the Chef, and their parents had ignored the problem, by treating all of the hotel staff as their personal servants. It was ten o’clock in the morning, and after a disastrous breakfast with food all over the place, the family had gone off to the beach until lunch, with instructions for real hamburgers for lunch on their return.
One of the waiting staff came into the kitchen, where he heard the Chef muttering from the food prep area, and a slapping sound. He edged closer and peeked around the corner, and there was the Chef, saying ‘that’s for you little Bobbie, you prick’, slap slap, ‘and that one’s for you, little Susan, you little bitch’, slap slap. There was the Chef without his jacket, standing in front of a tray of hamburger mince, grabbing a handful and rolling it up into a ball, and putting it under his arm pit and slapping his arm down twice to flatten it out. That was, in my eyes, sweet!