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This is a question Restaurants, Kitchens and Bars... Oh my!

Many years ago, I went out with a chef. Kitchens are merely vice dens with food. You couldn't move for people bonking and snorting coke in the store room. And the things they did with the food...

My personal vice was chocolate mousse - I remember it being very calming in all the chaos around me. I think they put things in it.

Tell us your stories of working in kitchens, bars and the rest of the nightmare that is the catering trade.

(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 9:58)
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This question is now closed.

Binge drinking is bad.
As a former nightclub doorman i have ssen many things that could make you blush and quite a few that could mmake you hurl. This story is one of the latter and I apologise in advance

Come closing time at a very famous Australian chain bar in Birmingham, I was clearing the toilets af the straggling customers. In the ladies after everyone departed I realised that one of the cubicles was locked. So I perched myself on the adjoining toilet to enable me to see over the partition. Upon looking into the cubicel I find the following. A young lady in her early twenties asleep on the loo. Knickers round her ankles, she has also been sick, however the vomit is nicly perched in her underwear. My colleague and i decided to wake her up without knocking the door down so as to avoid startling her. So we went and got a pint of water which was mpassed to me to tip over the cubicle wall. So I clamber back onto the toilet and proceed to tip the water over the poor girl. At which point she comes too.

"Sorry hun were closed" says I

"Ok no probs" says lady.

Then the unthinkable without checking she yanks the vomit filled undies up takes two steps out of the cubicle, realises what is going on bursts into tears and runs out the front door. My colleague and I are laughing so hard that I fall off the toilet that im standing on into him breaking his wrist.

hehehehehehehe

She came back the next week.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 14:35, Reply)
Karmic retribution
'Twas my first job.

I was 15 and eager to impress. My place of employment was the local delicatessan - it sold really nice sandwiches, soups, pastries and was patronised by the local office workers who didn't mind shelling out a few extra quid for a decent lunch.

The man who interviewed me owned the shop. A nice but dim ex-policeman from the arsehole of the bog-counties. On my first day, I was handed a large box of tomatoes to slice and arrange in bowls for the lunch time rush.

I was led into the back kitchen where his absolutely repulsive, morbidly obsese wife sat grilling sausages and bacon - eating as she went along, the fat dribbling down her chin. She had filthy, greasy hair that stuck to her pasty, spot speckled skin. I understood immediately why she was not allowed out near the customers.

Anyway, undaunted I decided to be the best, fastest tomato chopper in the world. I started slicing with speed and determination. I was about half way through the giant box when I sliced my finger. The blood went all over the newly sliced tomatoes. Unable to admit that we'd have to chuck them all out and have not enough tomatoes to cover the lunch rush, I ran them quickly under the tap and brought them out.

I still feel bad about it 10 years later but the universe has had its revenge, because I haven't been able to order tomatoes on anything since.....:-(

Apologies for length but I've heard a rumour that you make allowances for virgins around these parts......
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 14:21, Reply)
Oh dear god...
Lots to get through, but I'll try bring it down to just three.

I worked as a "general kitchen assistant" (read: dishwasher) for about 5 years. The horror of the real truth behind the scenes is... horrible.

First and formost, glasses. Those were a pain in the ass. Or the hand, as we used to break them often, many a time stabbing ourselves in the hand in the process. One such night I wasn't paying attention as I put the glass up on to the shelf. It hit the underside, and shatterd, with a huge peice stabbing into the middle of my thumb. I was the only person doing dishwashing on this busy friday, and thus I was told to put a plaster on it (read: blue medical tape), and wear a glove if it starts to leak. I nearly finished the night, but when my thumb started to turn blue, I insisted that I be allowed to leave for the hosptial, of which I was allowed to at 11pm.

Secondly, the walk in freezer. Normally those are safe, as there's a handle on the outside as well as the inside. Not so today, when me and another worker went inside the freezer to try find some fish. It was about 5 mins before work should of started, so we were the only ones in the building. We go in, the door closes, we find the fish, press the button to open the door.... and nothing. We try again... nothing. The freezing unit was positioned on the left as you open the door, and it was leaking water, which because the freezer is minus 18c, froze rather rapidly, making it impossible for the freezer handle to open from the inside. Cue us finding a knife and attempting to chip away at the ice for a good 10 mins before the door opens. It's our boss, who had been standing outside the door wondering what the hell was the noise comming from inside the freezer.

The final one was the dish washer itself. The industrial ones have a set type of powder to put in them, as if you put anything else into them, they foam up. Like hell. Cue to the new employee who, while I'm finding some drying up cloths, adds the floor cleaning powder to the machine. 5 mins later, the whole kitchen was covered in foam up to our waists. We had to close the place for the day and spend the time (a good 5 hours) getting rid of the foam. Suffice to say the new employee was fired, not before earning the nickname of foamy.

NeoThermic
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 13:58, Reply)
Death by McJob
Well, not quite, but a couple of nicely dangerous moments while working at my college-funding McJob, in addition to the regular burns on hands and arms (especially the knuckles when toasting buns or removing burgers from the grill.

Turning round to see an inch-thick power cable glowing brightly and burning through a couple of feet from my head was an interesting experience. Dodge to the other side of the kitchen, all the staff watch as it burns right through and trips all the electrics in the building off.

The vats of hot oil were always fun as well. Drop a bit of ice in, or fail to dry them properly after cleaning and they have a tendency to suddenly start bubbling up wildly, resulting in a lunge for the power switch and a dodge across the kitchen until they cool down.

Best though was during a huge downpour. Blocked guttering meant that a huge waterfall suddenly came pouring through the ceiling into the kitchen. Approximately 3 feet away from the vats of hot oil. Slightly more to the right, and that would not have been much fun. Although a huge spray of steam and hot vegetable oil would perhaps have been fairly pretty from a safe distance.

Edit: Also forgot to mention the fun of huge amounts of stock in a relatively tiny (about 8' square) walk-in freezer. And the associated obstacle course, climbing over assorted boxes of frozen food in order to get stuff from the back.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 13:26, Reply)
dodgy indian
A bloke from the nearby indian "restaurant" was arrested over the weekend. Apparently he kept a slave out the back in a tin shed. Didnt pay him, and the slave was forced to work 7 days a week, all day under horrendous conditions...

Bastard... He could have at least passed some of the savings on to us!
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 12:47, Reply)
Restaurants, Kitchens and Bars... Oh my!
Up until a few weeks ago I was the Manager of The Other Place Restaurant in Liverpool. Then I took a weeks holiday to celebrate my 30th birthday. At the beginning of my week off my 7 months pregnant partner was rushed into hospital with complications and got the news that the baby needed to be delivered in the next few days. Knowing this the owner of the restaurant, John Green, decided to call me in to work to sack me for no reason other than I had been asking about paternity leave. In the heated discussion I forgot to tell him that every meal I had took out to him, I had spat in, and next time just happen to bump into his wife Debbie I will let slip about the dark haired woman he brought back and shagged in the restaurant that saturday night. Oh yes and next time he drives home extremely pissed, as he likes to do a few times a week watch the rear mirror for the blue flashing lights that have been tipped off in your direction.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 12:36, Reply)
5 second rule
Yes, the 5 second rule is everywhere, and i'm wasting an answer to show this 5 second rule video


so sue me
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 11:47, Reply)
Not really shocking
..but at least this is true.

Got caught having a shit outside Sainsbury's delivery bay when the milk came in one morning at 5am.

Needs must, it wasn't gonna end up in me fookin' pants, I tell thee.

Edit: Also bugger all to do with the catering trade, although I had been in some squat party - off my fucking tits - does that count?
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 11:39, Reply)
Jumpin Jacks in Swansea....
...after it first opened, it was (and still is) run by one of me ol' college buddies called Ed. He had to put up with some shit, but a few months in that turned out to be the problem.

You see, underneath this converted-cinema-nightclub was a small branch of Tescos which had been there for years. They were open 7 days a week and closed before the clubbers were out. This meant they'd open up with loads of rubbish and empty bottles stacked on their front.

This particular event though, was something different. Ed comes into work one afternoon being told by his workers that something's playing up with one of the toilets. He gets the plumbers in, who check it out and give it the thumbs up. They must've missed something though, as the next week the sewage system built up until it exploded, flooding half of Tescos below in human shit. Ed was not a popular bunny.

About a month after that, Tescos shut down and relocated elsewhere. Ed's still working there and lovin it :)
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 11:02, Reply)
Wetherspoons.....it really is that bad.
Long time lurker, this qotw just got my juices goin too much to keep quiet. Having seen the bottom dregs of the society scum barrel drinking in the Wetherspoons where I slogged my guts out (on piss-poor money I might add) for several years, I had many experiences that should have made me leave right there and then. Foolishly I thought earning a wage rather that getting pissed all day like the benefit-bludging scum was preferable. Can you tell I'm bitter? LOL Anyways:
1) On the hourly toilet inspection one day, opened a cubicle to find the remnants of the Daily Sport. Someone had a VERY good read of it. The paper, and most of the cubicle was decorated with copious lashings of baby-batter. The poor bastard staff members on duty were expected to clean it up.
2) One particularly obnoxious individual customer, spent the whole day (as he did everday actually) drinking cider and being a cnut to staff. But on this day, he didn't handle his drink quite as well as normal. We were astonishingly busy, the pub was hammered with xmas shoppers as it was late night opening in town so we couldn't keep an eye on all the reprobates who kept buying him drinks. Next thing we hear, is that he's passed out and won't wake up. Turns out he has slumped off of his chair onto the floor and is being sick so we quickly get him sat up and try to get him conscious. At which point, he then PISSES himself. Trying not to wretch, we try n get him on his chair as he's waking up.
Then he SHAT himself......It was that night I told em to stick the job. Funny that. Got a much better job in a music store where noone has ever puked on the staff.

There are more but these two stick in my memory somewhat.

Girth and length? Pygmy tribes worship me as a god!
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 10:51, Reply)
the code for a bomb in weatherspoons
is inspector gadget, it was regualrly used by the local nutter, who would charge in shouting it
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 10:22, Reply)
I used to work as a barman

The funniest thing that happened was, once a man walked into the bar!
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 10:09, Reply)
On the National Express...
When you're life's a mess...your stomach will soon be too.
I used to take these busses regularly and some bastard invariably threw up, leaving the pleasant odour of cold vomit hanging around for the last couple of hours of the journey.
My friend told me a story which might go some way to explaining this obscene phenomenon...
She was friends with a gay guy who was a steward on one such bus. He was having it away with one of the drivers at the time, and they fucked on the bus before the passengers arrived. They were also responsible for the food preperation.
Ahem...you can see where this is going can't you...
So one day they are fresh out of lube and they look around for a substitute. The tub of stork margarine for the sarnies catches their eye...so they butter themselves up and start playing silly buggers. Yes. And then they thought it would be incredibly kinky (and apparently it was) to scrape off said butter and use it in the sarnies.
I'm so sorry, you didn't need to know that...

Heh heh.

P.S. I do apologise for the tenuous link to the proposed subject-matter, but hell, people need to know.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 9:23, Reply)
Eww
Found a poo in a pint glass neatly placed in a urinal once... STUDENTS!

We did chuck the glass...I think ;)
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 5:54, Reply)
Pants everywhere
I used to work in a bar in Liverpool when I was a young lad. The things we would find when cleaning up at the end of the night were pretty disgusting. The worst was a pair of knickers with the biggest skids I`ve ever seen.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 5:38, Reply)
nother one from lil ol me
My husband of 5 years, Edward, used to work at a Jack n the box when we first started living together. He was a grill cook/stock loader and assistant manager. ( rather versitile man, *wink*) but anywho. he worked ther for a long while, and went up through the ranks. One day as he was in the fridge stocking fries and patties, his boss came up behind him while he was opening a box with a rather sharp boxcutter and said " ed, i need you to.." before letting out a gaspish sort of sound. Ed had been startled,( which isnt easy for my poor 6'4, 240lb hubby to do) and had slashed his inner arm near the elbow on his right arm accidentally. lest to say, 40 stitches inside, 45 outside later, he still has the scar, long as your index finger. he doesnt work fast food anymore, but still, its a rather nasty tale.( and i love my eddie. poor blighter. i shall have to boink him for memories sake later.)
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 4:58, Reply)
kitchens..
Having worked in bars all over our yummy grey scottish capital (which gets some flinking sun only now I'm down in Auckland, where it's raining) - and having seen everything up to and including a toilet being removed and re-installed by a chef in his whites while on duty, I can say that pub kitchens are truly the scariest places on earth.

Two places you should never look - in the greasetraps, and in the drains... Once, we removed an anonymous looking square block of wood in the floor and saw an unfathomable black pool of pure nasty with a dead rat and small brown nugget floating on it... *ahem* let's just put that back on then...

Oneliner: warning, small children may choke on nuts.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 4:52, Reply)
From Hero to Zero
Whilst I worked at a popular 'no names mentioned' restaurant, the head waiter once told me that one of the regular guests was a 'famous z-list celebrity'. The only clue he ever gave was that his name was Mike. After a few weeks of keeping us guessing he eventually revealed the 'so called' celebrity was none other than chthonic.

As we all started to suck up to him we soon realised what an arrogant chap he was. He would come in every Thursday, always order steak, pasta and vegetables, and tell everybody within ears shot about a so called funny story that happened to him that week. We also got sick of the way he would always ask questions questions questions each week he was in.

Eventually we all grew tired of him so one day, just before he was due his weekly visit, we all started having a game of headers and volleys in the kitchen with chthonics weekly dish (the chef performed an overhead kick that planted chthonic's steak into the sink that even Mark Hughes would've been proud of).

Not wishing to stop there, with those hollow bits of pasta, we played blow football across the kitchen floor with some peas (all of which would later end up on chthonics main dish).

The pierce de resistance though was watching chef play a game he specially invented for chthonic ('play your drink right' he called it). He swallowed as much of chthonic's ordered drink he could, made a mark on the glass, did a rollie pollie followed by 5 somersaults, then we had to guess wether it would be higher or lower the mark when chef spat the mouthfull back into the glass.

Oh what fun days we had.

PS. I'm keeping the fact that we played tiddlywinks with chthonic's carrot slices a secret (winner was the first to get one in the toilet bowl).........just in case I get banned!!!
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 0:59, Reply)
after reading all these stories
I will never eat out ever again :(
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 0:58, Reply)
craigus
5 second rule? I know it as the three second rule - although if you're REALLY hungry and the thing you've dropped it worth it it extends magically to become the ten second rule as you scrabble about desperatly on the floor for it.

Unless it's sticky and you have Cats.

It's a rare and little recognised disease, is Cats - my mum caught it years ago and now wanders around staring vacantly into space, talking to herself covered in short shedding hairs. Oooh, nasty.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 0:57, Reply)
Reading all these comments about 'special sauce'
...I now understand what it means when the menu says "may contain traces of nuts"
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 23:11, Reply)
budget airline scran
i used to work for a firm that supplied snack type goods to a well known budget airline,the production line was-in places-staffed by folk who had a minimum grasp of the niceties of hygiene.

Example:several of them where spied nipping out for a leak against any number of trees that lined the back yard and then returning to thier duties eschewing the washroom.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 23:09, Reply)
Welsh Rarebit..
I used to work in a hospital. One of the "chefs" had a little problem on date, and sent out half a rabbit when asked to prepare a welsh rarebit (actually more like cheese on toast).

Oh, and I have been told by someone who used to be a waitress for the Harvester, never to eat a steak there.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 22:02, Reply)
Dog
Before my wife and I were married, she used to work as a barmaid. One night shortly after closing, there is a large (100lb+) dog wandering around inside. She went over to the band, who were busy putting away their stuff, to yell at them for allowing their dog inside. They said he wasn't theirs. So she took him home "just for one night, until I can find his owner".
Turns out the dog was owned by a stripper and her husband, who were in the process of getting a divorce, and neither wanted the dog back. So my wife kept him. He's a good dog, but he bit me once and relieved himself in the house yesterday.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 20:10, Reply)
catering
In high school, I worked for a catering company - parties, weddings, &tc, at various halls and fraternal organizations. After setting up the dining room and the kitchen, the waitresses, busboys and coffee girls would get out of the kitchen (and the chefs' way) and go stand at attention near the door, looking like troops waiting to serve.

As we all stood near the doors at one wedding, the happy couple walks in, the bride is radiant and so on. The busboy two down from me looks er over and declares, "I bet she gets laid tonight."

Cue the whole staff line suddenly turning to him (in the middle) with a look of, "you idiot -- no kidding." Luckily, if any of the guests heard, they didn't let on. But it had to be obvious something was up.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 18:29, Reply)
people's comments
I do find some of the spunking stories hard to believe... but speaking from experience I know that managers are the stingiest fuckers and half the out of date/stale/off food that's sold is directly because the managers refuse to throw it away to save on their waste (any waste gets taken off their profit for the month).

Like I said on my post, apart from wiping ball sweat on one total fucker's coffee cup and squeezing dishwater into some smug fuckers cup who had actually harrased my girlfriend's sister and came in so he could basically watch me serve him a drink with a smile on his face... I didn't really ever do anything out of spite or anything like that.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 18:17, Reply)
And we all kid ourselves...
...that these things only happen in the places we work or worked in. Never of course in the restaurants that we dine in ourselves...

Young lassie I was acquainted with when at college regaled a lovely story to me of the pub she was working in at the time as a waitress.

She had told me all the classics (re-creaming of cakes, food well past use by date being farmed out/reheated etc) - quite shocking to me at the time. The one that made my stomach churn/me laugh however was late one Saturday afternoon the manager received a complaint that there were ants in the coke.

Lo and behold there most definitely were. When the coke pump (hand-held thingy that also dispensed other drinks) was used, dozens of ants were being dispensed along with the refreshing beverage. Not very pleasant you might think. The part that made me laugh was that they'd had a party in the children's area earlier in the day - and guess what most of them had consumed in large quantities???

I really hope I never eat in the restaurants some of you lot work in - you shower of bastards :-)
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 17:36, Reply)
SOHO
BRbar in soho. They have table names. Table one, Table two, Table three, bullet Table.... Where someone was shot. Don't you just love London?
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 17:01, Reply)
My stint as a waitress/dishwasher/janitor/cook at Hambys
bout 3 years ago i was able to get a job at a small, rundown restaurant called " Hamby's" out in the city of Hemet, in california. My Aunt was friends with the owner, and i needed to help my Fiancee with the finances. so the boss of the place, Jenny, let me on as a busboy, well.. buswoman, anyway. My job was to collect the dishes from the bins that the waitresses filled up behind the front counter, wash said dishes, and replentish the cook with fresh hot plates and fill the silverware bins and cups. At first, i thought it was all right, 8 hours of running to and fro, washing all sorts of cookery for 6 dollars an hour under the table. ( most of the staff was paid the same way.) I'd always thought the food was great, till i worked behind the scenes. my wash station was right next to the grill and saucebed. It turned out that not only was i to serve as dishwasher, but when the cook and 2nd mate called in sick, i had to cook as well, as The boss wouldnt catch herself dead doing so, the prissy bint. so, without my food handlers card and no clue as how to use the Grill and so forth, i cooked all together about a weeks worth. It wasnt the cleanest joint, having only a B rating. and back there, i saw why. they had a roack problem, and a mouse one, too. i saw the main cook, a mexican man who spoke NO english, cooking a tbone steak once, as a rather nasty looking cockroach skittered onto the sidebar. all "Raul" we shall call him did was smack it dead with the metal spatula, then continue to flip the steak with the same utensil. that soo made me not want to have my lunch cooked by him. sooner or later, as the only one who seemed to like me was 'Raul', the other workers decided to pull a fast one on me. the Boss told me to listen to whatever this one chap named " Ty" said, as she had to leave early one day. So i said " All right jenny" and got to the duties of scowering and cleaning the place after it closed. ( and fixing the back sink. see, janitor work too.) Ty told me to clean only the half of the kitchen i cooked and washed in, as there was a catering crew comming in to use the other half, and he would clean it after they were gone. so i said Okay, not wanting to argue with the guy who was basicly 2nd in command to the boss. i did whqat he told me and went off home. Next day i go in, and Jenny fires me for not completeing my work. I guess 'TY' hadnt informed her of the directions he gave me, and left early after me, before the catering crew came in. Stupid Assbiter. anyway, after i left, Hamby's was shut down due to tax evasion problems and Food Code violations. I sowre to myslef i would NEVER work in the food industry ever again.


( ooh my first post ^_^)
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 16:57, Reply)
My family ran a guest house
and one day my brother mistook the cocoa for the gravy powder. Politely no-one commented, or maybe Oxo-and-chocolate sauce works..

Dad would write the menus in calligraphy, patiently, each day. Took some time, but a nice touch. Don't disturb his concentration as the last line once read "Tea or Custard" (not Coffee..)

Mainly catering for young families we would be plagued with the kids coming in to see what was on the menu that night. The expression on their little faces when we simply put
"Bread and water"
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 16:43, Reply)

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