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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)
Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Refreshingly clean story: at the end of the night in a busy 'Brewers Fayre' style pub restaurant, my sister and I were carrying large towers of gateaux boxes back from the sweet counter, through the kitchen, to the fridge. My sister, carrying a pile of empty boxes, happened to drop hers. No harm done. I was a few paces behind. The pot-washer, assuming my boxes were also empty, leapt in to the air and with his best Karate Kid squeal, karate-chopped the boxes I was carrying. Stunned silence as about £100 of gateaux exploded out of the sides of boxes and all over the kitchen.
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 15:42, Reply)
The foreign staff in my local mcd were so bad I once had to climb up on to the counter and take a shit into my own burger.
Several other customers asked for a dollop and I now run my own small restaurant in Tower Hamlets.
If a customer is rude to any member of staff we put mayonnaise in their spunk sauce.

I can do made up stories too.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 13:58, Reply)
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.


She came back the next week.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 14:35, Reply)
A word to the wise on food contamination and unsafe food-handling practices:
It's not just common, it is universal. Not only do restaurants contain a significant number of people who work there because it's the only class of business that hasn't learned better than to hire them, and who thus will take any opportunity to foul food production through ignorance or malice... but the food itself is generally universally-contaminated.

The grand majority of food production is automated - in harvesting giant machines are used, in slaughtering there are vast assembly-lines of dead animals, and anything processed has giant swaths of crap going out over a factory floor. At any point contamination can enter when there is either no person supervising the production or the person who is watching doesn't care.

As a result, no food regularly emerges from that mess to the consumer uncontaminated. Even the U.S. government, quite possibly the most ludicrously over-protective entity in the first world when it comes to food safety (they won't even let us have good cheeses made from raw milk over here - it's illegal), recognizes a percentage of contamination that it deems "unavoidable."

Acceptable Food Defect Levels (Opens in new window)

Insect bits in veggies, mold and rot in fruits, rat droppings in grains. All are common to the point of being ubiquitous.

Beyond this, every kitchen in existence fails very important bits of the health code. In culinary school we are taught two procedures for pretty much everything - how we are supposed to do things, and how everyone in the real world actually does them. This is because the health codes in themselves are rather over-extended, and cover things that most people would consider ludicrous because they were shown to be a vector for one incident of foodborne contamination. As a result, for those of you saying you'll only eat at home for the rest of your lives - your home kitchen would fail inspection for nearly every aspect of the commercial health and safety inspection.

For instance, how often do you wash your can opener? Health regulations say it must be washed every three hours when used, because every time you open a can you are transferring food particles to the blade of the opener... to then rot in open air, before being transferred back into anything else opened. Or how often do you clean out your ice machine? Restaurants are supposed to do so every other week in some areas to prevent contamination or the buildup of the cold-tolerant intestinal-bug listeria on old ice. And I'll bet there are cleaning products stored somewhere in the kitchen at your home as well - a clear violation of health codes due to a number of instances where people were served fried chicken battered with oven cleaner instead of flour due to their remarkable similarity in appearance.

The truth of the matter is, most cases of foodborne contamination occurs in private residences thanks to people who have a misguided belief that their food is safer if they or a friend cook it. These same people often have a frightening lack of understanding regarding proper cooking times or holding temperatures, and will generally cross-contaminate like mad between bacterial harbors and foods about to be served. Compared to what I have seen some of my own relatives do with their home cooking (namely, cooking a mass of food for lunch on holidays and then leaving it to sit out on the table at room temperature for eight hours before then coming back and eating the rest of it for dinner)... some guy getting his kicks by stirring urine into a giant pot of soup is nothing. Urine is sterile 90% of the time anyways, and in a large enough pot the actual contamination is miniscule.

You do have recourse should you fall ill after eating at a restaurant, though. It is commonly accepted in restaurant health and sanitation that more than two people independently coming forward with the same symptoms after eating at the same restaurant or supermarket constitutes a "foodborne illness outbreak." In my neck of the woods at least, that means the restaurant in question gets shut down for a week at minimum while the entire place is run over with a fine-toothed comb looking for what caused the illness to its patrons. It makes the news, costs the place business, may very well shut it down permanently, and if intentional contamination is found it will likely result in a criminal charge against the individuals involved. But the grand majority of the things talked about here are petty revenge. They won't convey illness, they won't even change the taste of the food, and so they have as much an impact on your day-to-day life as the 10 beetle bits per gram in your breakfast cereal.

Take solace in the fact that you're not the guy who feels so powerless and abused that he decides to add saliva to someone's burger as a measure of revenge - despite the fact that 99 times out of 100 it'll do absolutely nothing to anyone and that 1 anomaly could easily cost him his job. It's the culinary equivalent of swearing under your breath - it isn't even a confrontation with the people causing you grief, and in the long run it has absolutely no impact on anything other than giving you a bit of "revenge" for obviously having to do something you detest - make food for people.

Myself, the only bodily fluid I've ever added to an item of food to be served was blood. And since it was meat anyways, it was just more flavor in the dish - "long pig" was a delicacy in some parts of the world for ages, after all. But then, I got into culinary because I like cooking for people. Why people would bother getting into the profession when they don't is an eternal mystery to me - it's hot, humid, and dangerous with incredibly long hours to work and lots of chances to accidentally kill yourself or someone else in a dozen different ways. Which goes no small way towards explaining why most people in culinary will take any chance they get to break away and have a little fun.

Apologies for length and breadth of the culinarian rant.
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 19:40, Reply)
Cellar loving
At a pub I used to work at my manageress was caught quite literally over a barrel by her husband as she got a good seeing to from behind in the cellar. Rather than him losing his cool and belting seven shades out of the barman providing a different kind of service (can’t blame him as he was a huge squaddie) he simply calmly went back upstairs, locked the cellar from the out side and then parked his car over the top of the delivery hatch so that the pair of them were stuck downstairs. After emptying the till and giving the keys over to the regulars he walked out never to be seen again.

The regulars nearly drank the whole place dry and even had the balls to shout down to the lovebirds in the cellar to change barrels when they ran out.
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 16:26, Reply)
Morality? I'm shocked
I'm a lying, two-faced cheat at the best of times, but ...

To all the dissatisfied chefs and food preparers: if a mechanic buggered up your car on purpose, of if a dentist drilled your teeth just for kicks, or if an irate builder left your house unsafe, or if a teacher taught your kids untruths, or if a traffic warden ticketed you unfairly because they were unhappy with their job ... how would YOU feel?

Would you laugh and say, "Yeah! They really got back at their boss!" Or would you feel righteously shat on?

I'm thinking particularly of the knife roulette story. There's humour, and there's vindictive, thoughtless malice.
(, Wed 26 Jul 2006, 10:25, Reply)
Hell's Angels
I used to work the occasional weekend for a friend of mine who ran a veggie catering stall - I was the cook.

One year we paid a fortune to trade at Glastonbury and one fine summers even we setup stall and started trading. Business was brisk (how I'll never know. Veggie burgers taste like shite) and we soon had a rather large queue.

Then there was a disturbance at the front of the stall. A large mob of hairy-arsed Hell's Angels had turned up and muscled their way to the front of the queue.

"Oh shit" I thought. "They're going to rob us, smash the stall up and demand protection money. We're fucked"

Seeing that I was the biggest bloke on the stall I felt duty bound to deal with these rapscallions myself. I stepped to the front of house and looked at them, quaking inside, sure I was due a beating.

"Can I help you?" I asked the leader expecting the reply "Give us all your women and money and we'll let you live"

"Err - can we have 12 cups of Earl Grey please" says the leader, a dead-ringer for the Missing Link profferring a 20 quid note.

WTF? Hells Angles and Earl Grey?

(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 10:34, Reply)
Woo Clapper!
Have to agree. This is probably the first QOTW that I haven't read every entry. Just too sickening. I'm no angel but I wouldn't dream of doing some of the things posted up here. Cowardly, twisted and perverted and, what’s worse, not even vaguely funny.

OB QOTW answer to *try* and keep on topic.

As a nipper I used to work in a supermarket, bringing new stock up from the warehouse for the shelf-stackers to stock the shelves. (OK, it's supermarket but it*is* food related...).

We had a right bitch of a shift manager, fresh out of Uni, who thought the best way to get work out of people was by screaming at them. This one night I was amusing myself and my workmates by guessing which star-sign they were and being surprisingly accurate. So bitch manager says:

"OK Smartarse. What's my star-sign?"

"Taurus" I said.

"Bloody hell!!" she gasped " How did you know that?"

Looking her straight in the eye I said.

"Hitler was a Taurus"

She burst into tears.......

(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 13:26, Reply)
I worked as a public toilet attendant

And when the manager pissed me off, I used to put pizza toppings in the toilet bowl.
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 6:52, Reply)
I've never spat
in a customer's burger, because I've never had to work in McDonald's.

Just because you have a shit job, no need to take it out on someone else.

Now get me a coke, monkey.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 10:30, Reply)
Oh, I forgot about this one! (Take-away related)
I had been telling my obstetrical nursing students the day before about how some cultures ate placenta and not to be surprised if the parents asked to take theirs home.

The next day, I came in and someone had brought in Chicken Something from the Orient Gardens carry-out covered in that violently Chinese-red slop. I hatched a brilliant plan: I put it in a styrofoam coffee cup and took it into the student's room.

"Hey, you guys, remember when I said some people liked to eat their placentas? Well, the lady in room 39 had her mom cook hers up and brought it in. I asked her if I could have a little to share with my students." They see the bright crimson, gooey chunks on the end of my fork and turn white.

"Does anyone want to try it? I'm going to see what it tastes like.." and I raise the drippy thing to my lips. Before I can laugh and say, "Just kidding!", Kevin turns and hurls into the wastebasket and Belinda's eyes roll back in her head and she has to sit down fast.

I do feel remorse over Kevin's losing his breakfast. Sorry, guy.
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 20:02, Reply)
Tee with that, sir?
Many years ago I used to work as a barman in a Golf and Country Club, in Earls Colne, in Essex, and 'twas some of the best times of my bar tending career, half decent money, bit of respect from the punters, use of the gym, sauna, pool etc.

Every year they would have a summer ball where the members would have a slap-up feast in a huge marquee in the grounds, followed by a round of golf, tee-ing off at midnight. With so many inebriated, rich, up-tight golfers and their wives, the whole thing quickly slid into a morass of drunken, bodice-ripping, sexuality, with various people 'going to the loo' only to return disheveled and red-faced.

The food was superb and the Champagne flowed freely - the kitchen would even 'accidentally' cook about a dozen too many steaks and let us get rid of the evidence for them (Thanks Barry!). I remember me and a waitress, both of us plastered, sitting under a bush at about 2am, eating steak sandwiches and swigging from bottles of Moet.

Another part of our job was to wander the grounds when it started to get light, to round up any lost guests (and staff). So, as I wandered the essex countryside finishing off a last bottle of champers, I stumbled accross a couple getting friendly in one of the bunkers. I cleared my throat to announce my presence and advised them that the taxis would be arriving soon. As the lady tried to find her dress, the gentleman thanked me, then asked if there was any champagne left in the bottle I was carrying 'cos he'd accidentally got sand all over his cock, and needed to wash it off as he wasn't quite finished yet. Being a professional, I left him the rest of the bottle.

Length? Well, the champagne WAS pretty cold.
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 10:35, Reply)
Plump cow with special sauce...
A few years back, I used to cover the occasional waitressing shift at the place I worked.

I didn't mind this. I worked hard, was polite to the customers, & made a bloody fortune in tips. Same went for most of the waiting staff.

We were relied upon to administer our own breaks, with no formal times given to us. However, it was generally understood that no more than an hour or so in total of the course of an eight-hour shift was considered to be the norm, & that's what we all stuck to.

Except for this one girl. A lazy, pudgy little heifer who I shall call That Tubby Bitch, for that is her name. Honest...

That Tubby Bitch would spend at least fifty percent of her working day sat on her arse in the staffroom doing bugger-all, regardless of how busy the place was, or how many other waiting staff were available.

As if this wasn't irritating enough, That Tubby Bitch also had a painfully obvious crush on my bloke, who also worked at the same place, & would practically fall over herself to get down to the staffroom whenever he was on break.

One day, I got asked to cover a shift as two staff members had gone off sick. That Tubby Bitch was the only other person waitressing, & predictably, left me doing all the work on what turned out to be one of the busiest nights of the year. Just as I'm finally about to break for lunch with my bloke, & am on my way to the staffroom, plate in hand, That Tubby Bitch, (who had already eaten several hours earlier) comes rushing past (having spotted my bloke) after having been out of the staffroom for no more than about 15 minutes, claiming to be gasping for a ciggy.

When I eventually do get to eat my rather cold lunch half an hour later, it's nearly the end of the shift. That Tubby Bitch comes into the staffroom & sits down next to me, acting all buddy-buddy. And has the nerve to ask me to share my tips with her, as she hasn't made much that night.

That was it. I somewhat loudly informed her that maybe if she'd actually done some fucking work, she'd have some money of her own, & that the only tip I'd consider giving her would be how best to fit her fat head into the kitchen oven.

A passing manager overhears this, asks me to explain myself. Which I did, backed up by other members of staff. Manager sends her out to do some work for the last couple of hours under strict instructions not to return to the staffroom until the end of the shift, & tells me to take half an hour's break & chill out.

All well, & good, but there was no way I felt like chilling out. I wondered around the staffroom for a bit kicking random objects, until eventually, the bloke decided to pass through the staffroom on his way to the bog.

A swift explantion of what was wrong, & the bloke disappears to the prep room (where us waiting staff made the sandwiches for the customers). He returns a few minutes later looking pleased with himself, but won't tell me what he's done, as there are now other people in the staffroom.

About five minutes later, That Tubby Bitch is escorted into the staffroom by a female manager. Said manager escorts her into the locker room to collect her coat, & the off the premises.

Eventually get home a couple of hours later, & get to ask the bloke what he did.

Turns out that just before he came in to use the loo, he heard one of our very fussy regulars ask for a sandwich & a cup of tea. This woman, who put quite a lot of business our way, tended to be a bit on the rude side to staff, & never tipped. As a result, she was somewhat paranoid about people tampering with her food, & would throughly inspect anything before eating it.

The bloke had managed to get to the door of the prep room unseen, & discretely watch as she finished making the sandwich. And then sneak in unobserved, steathily bring up what he described as "the biggest blob of booger-throat-glop you've ever seen in your life" into the sandwhich, & sneak back out again.

When said fussy customer went to inspect her sandwich, the 'special sauce' was immediatly spotted, & the manager called.

That Tubby Bitch was formally dismissed after a displinary hearing the following week. Result!

*Insert length joke here*
(, Sun 23 Jul 2006, 22:18, Reply)
"By the end of this semester, we will have to use the extinguisher at least once. Don't let it be because of you."
Thus were the words of my teaching chef when starting the "meats and main courses" section of my culinary school experience. I attempted to heed them well, because our teaching kitchen consisted of the equivalent of a walk-in closet packed with enough open flame, scalding oil, and heated metal to easily cause anyone's demise. It was a "teaching kitchen," after all, so they didn't even bother having it up to the building/health/safety codes for actual restaurant work.

Unfortunately, my class was the one that wound up having to use the fire extinguisher.

Fortunately, I wasn't the one who wound up setting the ceiling on fire.

Now as you may know, seafood in lemon-butter sauce is a classic dish. It is made by taking lemon juice, wine, and herbs and heating them in a sauce pan, before then adding in massive quantities of butter until the cholesterol is thick enough to cause the sauce itself to congeal into a thin paste of deliciousness. It is made this way because as any deep-fat fryer demonstrates, fats don't boil - they just keep on heating until they smoke, and then later on burst into flame. Water and anything with water IN it, however, does. So if you instead do the sauce-making process in reverse, like my fellow classmate decided to do...

Large amounts of grease go in the pan. Pan is heated on burner flame for a few minutes, before water-based liquids are added. Water instantly flash-boils, spraying superheated grease everywhere. Classmate screams, drops pan into burner flame. Large amounts of grease splash upwards, while burner flame spreads to it.

Result: One very impressive pillar of angry orange inferno reaching from the tabletop "porto-range" straight up to the corkboard drop ceiling (did I mention the room didn't fulfill kitchen building codes?), which looked for all intents and purposes like it should be asking for Charlton Heston in regards to some forgotten commandments. Quite large. Rather awe-inspiring. Very holy hell the room's on fire! Class was surprisingly short that day. Louder than usual, too.

I'm still in the same classes with these walking deathtraps, though. What can I say? Everyone who wants to be a chef is a latent pyromaniac. Scorches are still there, too.

At least we're leaving our mark on the school.
(, Sat 22 Jul 2006, 21:21, Reply)
Boiled Breasts
I used to be the manageress of a restaurant, and I had a gaggle of giggling chavvy teens as my waiting staff. Hey, they're cheap.

We did a lot of buffets, it being a hotel, for wedding receptions and suchlike. We used to serve the food from chafin tins, which are long steel trays full of boiling water, heated by little parrafin lamps, and with the trays of food perched on top, being kept merrily warm, with my chavtastic slaves stirring the chilli or whatever disinterestedly and flopping it on the partygoers plates.

Now, being a posh hotel and all we had some very lavish IN and OUT doors which, being the manager, I had to use accordingly. I'm glad I did, because when clearing up from a buffet one evening I hear a THUD, a sound like someone had dropped a dustbin lid, and a high pitched squeal.

Turns out that 'Nikki', a large chav with a ginger ponytail on the top of her head, had picked up a chafin tin full of boiling water and taken it in the OUT door to empty in the sink. Trouble is an equally dumb (but door-sign-rule-adhering) waitress had come OUT at the same time. Nikki had poured scalding water over her chest.

The sight of a big ginger girl pulling off her now see through white blouse and sticking her bright red glowing boobs under the pot washer's cold tap whilst squealing like someone trod on Mickey Mouse is permanently etched into my memory (and her mammaries).
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 14:21, Reply)
When I was working in Trinidad
on a oil drilling related ship, our cook was partial to the local 'erb ( and so where we) but the company we worked for had a draconian alcohol and drug policy, being that they would randomly raid the ship and take urine samples from the crew. With this being the threat, the cook decided to introduce a new herb to his dishes so that all the crew would have tainted piss.
When the shore superintendant did a raid, he took samples of 10 crew, which turned positive, then they complained that it must have been a faulty reading, so he sampled more of us, including the Captain and that turned positive. So he concluded that the testing kit was at fault and would have to order more from the US, which would take several weeks, and by that time we would be safely back in Blighty. The cook did make some exceptional cookies for the special few of us on board.
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 11:43, Reply)
This sucks
I'm posting this only as it's so close to being a new QOTW, so I feel that the off-topic sin is not so bad.

Some of these stories are horrifying. And cowardly. Too scared to confront someone's unreasonable behaviour face to face? Don't worry kids, just do something gross and dangerous to their heath behind their back. Customer is upset due to poor service/quality of food/foreign objects? See above.

I also can't understand the mentality of people who want to get revenge, when the recipient doesn't even know! Surely the whole point is that they find out they've wronged you and that's why this horrible thing has happened...?

And we wonder why eating out is such a vile experience in Britain. It's because people will keep their traps firmly shut and put up with any old bollocks because they are terrified that something like this will undeservedly (9 times out of 10) happen to them.

Mainly I'm just glad I don't have to be on the recieving end of some of the truly bad behaviour that service industry people have to witness. And I do have sympathy with you,I really do. But surely there must be better ways of dealing with it then actually putting one of your bodily fluids into their bodies? There's names for doing this kind of thing without people's consent...
(, Thu 27 Jul 2006, 12:48, 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)
Used to do Bar-work.
I can honestly say it was the best job I'd ever had. Working in a pub in the centre of Swansea was an eye-opener, and no mistake.

Our landlady was a 4 foot skinny midget of a woman, who would stand down to no-one. She was also one of the funniest women I've ever met, and the bestest boss I've ever had too :) Rachel did have one thing though; an anger unmatched by the Greek Gods themselves. There are a few examples of her anger;

1st week she was there; she goes out clubbing with the staff, just to get an idea of Swansea. They all turn up at "Quid's Inn" (a fucking dive, if you've ever been there) and are allowed in as staff. Rachel, as the doormen didn't her from squat, had to pay. She gripped the largest of the doormen by the collar , dragged him all the way down to eye level and said in her most authorative voice "Do you not know who I am?", which did actually scare the doorman.

Someone attacked one of the bar-staff with a broken glass, because she called one of the assistant managers (called Matt) and this drunkard thought she said Twat. Before the doormen got near them Rachel had Superman dived over the bar catching the attacker by the throat and throwing both of them to the ground. The doormen had to clean the mess up.

Rachel was a bit lonely, and got roped into a date with this "Steve Martin" look-a-like who was an eco-warrior (ie wanker). She really didn't want to go, as he wanted to take her to the cinema to see some shit film (I think it was Titanic or something). Luckily I was there to rescue; Rachel suffers from a bad reaction to vodka in the same way that Gamma radiation affects Bruce Banner which is she becomes a snarling green beast of rage. After getting one of the regulars to get her two double-vodka-redbulls just before the date, we could see her eyebrows twitching as she was walking out with him. Apparently she threatened to kill him in the auditorium at some point. They didn't date again.

Two 6 foot skinheads smashed a window with a pool cue because some twat regular tried winding them up. I throw out the regular with the words "well, I would have to clean you off the wall otherwise" and then walk upto these huge Mitchell look-a-likes. I say rather calmly "Look guys, you're both 7 foot 8 and could easily kick the living shit out of me, but hey, I've gotta ask you to leave." They smile and apologise about the window, saying thanks then leaving quietly bless 'em. On the way out, Rachel storms up and physically grabs them, dragging these huge thugs out of the pub while they both literally shit themselves, much to my amusement.

One dark November Wednesday night off; my ex-fiancee at the time lived in a flat which was above the pub where I worked (convieniant). There were windows on the side of the building, which allowed us to see on the roof of the adjacent building next door. This was also visible from the 2nd floor of the pub (which housed about 9 pool tables and a bar at the time).
Me and said-ex walk into her room, and we decide to watch a film. She asks me to stick the TV and video on, which are right by the window. I happen to glance out the window and spot a curious sight. I immediately shout "Kill the lights!!!!!" to which said-ex does so. She comes over to see what I'm looking at, which is a girl spread-eagled over an air vent while a bloke is standing there pumping away while drinking a Carling. Said-ex says "Fucking hell, tell the regulars downstairs in the pub", which I do and bring up half of them to which we're all quietly laughing and voyeuring at through the pub windows. Except now, there isn't only the guy with his carling and her. There's now the guy with his carling with his two mates and her, and they're all taking turns on her. By this time, the entire pub is looking out of the windows laughing at this, until one of the barmen opened the window and shouted "Go on luv!".

The four of them stand up with the three blokes smiling and bowing to us all and the girl covering her face with embarrasment. This earned a shoutout of "Dunno why you're covering your face, we've seen everything else".

Five minutes later, we're all downstairs laughing about it and the 3 guys from the gangbang come in for a pint. Apparently they'd only met her half an hour earlier in a nightclub and wanted to take them "somewhere quiet". Got that wrong, didn't you?

Soz for length, but it's what you do with it that counts.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 10:02, Reply)
I worked in the pub trade/catering
for many years. 'Tis true, the alcohol/drug induced debauchery that goes on amongst staff is amazing. (It's the hours gov'ner honest)

In larger pubs that have accomodation for the staff it's even worse. Oh how I remember the days of two different ladies on one night. Gosh that was a while back.

One story invovled me and the haed chef (I was the second chef at the time) looking at the wrong date in the diary and thinking that we only had half a dozen people booked in that night for food (it was usually dead during the week) so off we went to smoke a couple of joints. More than a couple later a very panicked waitress informs us that we had got the day wrong and we had over 60 people booked in. Have you ever tried cooking many different meals for many different people when you can harldy even stand up? It went really rather well though, no one complained as some people got the dessert twice and were amused by the "two very jolly and friendly chefs" that kept popping from the kitchen to chat.
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 10:58, Reply)
Stone baked bread
I spent several years working in the bakery dept. of one of the UK's largest supermarkets *slaps back pocket twice* and I can confirm that what the eye doesn't see, the heart doesn't grieve over. Bread pudding was generally made from products that had been sitting on the waste rack for up to ten days; if it was green, that just ensured a little extra flavour for the lucky punters. If a lump of dough went on the flour, the bits of grit were picked out and it was chucked back on the conveyor belt. We occasionally played pranks on each other, so after receiving a lump of dough to the back of my head from a playful colleague, I poured a handful of multigrain seeds into my grease jug, surreptitiously crept behind him, then emptied it into his arse crack as soon as he bent over to stop the machine; the manager was not impressed to discover one of the staff sitting in the sink (where the utensils were washed), pulling cumin/poppy/sunflower seeds out of his ring along with a healthy helping of tagnuts and arse hair.

However, the crowning glory occurred about ten years ago. I was a bit of a smoker in those days, as was the guy I worked with at the time, so we used to see how stoned we could get whilst we worked. I'd roll a joint, smoke half of it, chip it out then give it to him, then around half hour later, he would do the same. If it wasn't possible to pass it on due to other staff being around, we'd just stick the half-spliff in our respective pockets until it was convenient. On one such occasion, I searched my pocket to give my mate his half of the doobie and discovered that it was missing; evidently, the THC-induced memory loss had kicked in and I must have smoked it myself.
Well, the next day I was working away merrily (for we'd been smoking weed since 4am), when my manager came out the back to see me.
"Bloody customers, they'll try anything!" he exclaimed.
"What's up?" says I.
"Someone's only just walked in and said that he's bought a french stick with a roll-up sticking out of it. He's obviously lying, so I told him to f*ck off, but he reckons that he's going to EHO about it."

Cue the next two weeks of me bricking it and expecting to be sacked which, although it was a sh*t job, would have inconvenienced me considerably; we made our own hours up so even though I was on about £4 p/h, I was taking home about £300 p/w. Furthermore, we were under scrutiny until the investigation was conducted, so work became extremely unpleasant.

There is a happy ending, though: The environmental health people didn't notice that it was a spliff, just that it was a roll-up, so they tried to pin it on this mad woman who worked out the front with the packing staff, for she was the only member of staff (that they knew of) who used Rizla. She kicked off and denied it, so they interviewed the cleaner, a local chav who happily admitted that he smoked spliffs on the job and it could well have been his and on top of that, could he have it back?

He was sacked, but I think I got the bum deal, because I ended up working there for another six years.

Apologies for length, but I'm used to saying that. My b3tan hymen has been well and truly snapped.
(, Wed 26 Jul 2006, 19:18, Reply)
Serving food to people you never meet...
I was hired for three days to help cover an illness in the kitchen at Walls's sausage machine factory in Machester's docklands. This was the oddest canteen I've ever worked in. We kitchen staff spent most of the day cooking food. We cooked/prepared everything starting at 8 am and working until 1 pm; from breakfast, through lunch, dinner, supper and snacks; eggs (scrambled, fried and poached), sausage, bacon, tomato, black pudding, pies, hot-pot, stew, chips, fish, chops, salad, cheesecake, cakes, fruit, the bloody lot.

What did we do with all this freshly cooked food? Serve it through a hatch? Carry it out waitress-style? Silver service, even?

No. We flash chilled it, plated it up as if it was hot, then entombed it in cling film. These culinary masterpieces then had a coloured sticky label stuck on by the 'chef de cuisine' Tony (of course) and were placed in rotating compartments ranged along one wall of the kitchen. As we opened the door to do a 'fill', the light on the far side went out and only we could turn the carousel. The carousels would turn round at the request of someone in the canteen, who would remove the meal and follow the colour coded sticker placed by Tony. There was, apparently, a bank of microwave ovens out there with coloured labels stuck over the buttons.

We filled the drinks dispensers with cans and bottles from the rear as well, and there was another, smaller carousel for plate returns.

The factory staff worked shifts, 24 hours a day, and we never heard any more than a dozen or so people at any one time in the canteen. We never went into the canteen, only Tony did that. He would unlock the door and return a few minutes later with a tray of empty sauce bottles, sugar dispensers and salt pots for refilling. He would take out a box of sealed, disinfectant soaked cloths which the workers used to clear up after themselves. The canteen floor was mopped by the factory cleaners, we mopped the kitchen floor.

We never, ever, EVER saw any of the workers. One night, I lurked around outside the gates waiting to see one of these mysterious workers, but all I ever saw were shadows moving behind the obscuring, translucent panels in the walls, high up on the side of the factory.

It was very freaky.
(, Wed 26 Jul 2006, 12:43, 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)
It's long, skip if you want - no apologies
Colonel, thanks for reminding me of some of the ‘characters’ at the Toby Grill:

Mark was our dim pot-washer. He actually said his ambition was to be a glass-collector at Yates’, not sure if he ever made it that far. He was about 5’ 2” and 17 years old, to get a good mental picture of him, imagine morphing the face of a mongoloid child onto a wombat. While working at the place he lost his virginity to a 22 yr old single mum who was at least 5’ 8” tall and very ugly, he thought she loved him. The look of pure delight on Mark’s face as the resident Friday night DJ played ‘Like a virgin’ for him to celebrate his popped cherry was heart-rending. Mark used to bike to work.

‘Dippy’ was a chef – in the loosest possible sense of the word. His nickname came from his not inconsiderable reputation as a pickpocket and thief. Once, he nicked Mark’s bike from outside the kitchen while he was working. Next day, poor Mark had to borrow his sister’s bike to get to work. Dippy nicked it, Mark never twigged, we all knew.

Pat the manageress was like something out of Coronation St. She might have been late 30s but first thing in the morning she looked a rough 65. She took up with the 22 yr old deputy manager who was a cnut of the highest calibre. They both ‘lived in’ and had free meals/drinks, so had more money than sense, or manners, or style. He had an MR2 and used to go (from York) to Manchester for a take-away curry. After a while, he started hitting her, she’d come down in sunglasses and tons of make-up, he’d come down with a smirk.

My least favourite customer was Mr Bastard. He’d come with his wife regularly every Friday night for a slap-up meal of pre-packaged dross. Each time, when he bought his first round from the bar in the restaurant, he’d say “Would you like one yourself Che?”, to which the standard answer would be “Thank you very much Mr Bastard, I’ll take for it now and have it later.” Fast-forward to the Bastards’ anniversary or some such. They arrived with about six friends and sat in the pre-food lounge area. At which point Mr Bastard turned towards me at the bar and snapped his fingers – yes, he actually snapped his fingers, then beckoned me over. I had to go over, take his drinks order and then carry the drinks back over for him. He had paid for this butler-like service with a few halves of lager. So, what was this snobby, arsehole of man in real life? He collected money from slot machines.

My favourite customers were a couple that lived nearby and were friends of Pat. They came in one night with a friend of theirs whose wife had just left him. They talked to him all night and he left around 11.15. There was a noise outside and the couple went out to see what it was. Their friend had gone outside, sat down against his van, stuck his shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. We all got home late that night.

To end on a happier note, we had a ‘back room’ with no bar that could be let out to private parties. A regular booking was for the Morris Minor Owners’ Club. I found out one of the favourite pastimes for this group was ‘guess the part’. They’d pass round a black velvet bag with a part from a Morris Minor in it, each member would feel inside the bag without looking and write down what they thought it was. There were ten rounds…wild nights.
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 13:53, Reply)
Oh ...
... and another one, also from the Selsdon Park hotel. I did a spell on porters for a while, and part of the job was parking guests' cars and looking after their keys, if they were too lazy, or just plain pompous, to do it themselves.

One night there was a big storm. It was huge and devastating, and made the whole building rock. In fact, it turned out to be the biggest hurricane the UK had ever seen - the great storm of 1987.

One guest (a particularly patronising, arsey American) came down in the morning and asked for his car. I personally took him out to see it, and savoured every second as he beholded his brand new BMW. A large oak tree had fallen on it lengthways, and it now resembled a very expensive length of drainpipe. It was completely flattened. I wish I had a pic - it was truly a sight to behold.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 15:37, Reply)
I have many, many catering stories..
..apart from this one:


When I was working at a place called the Selsdon Park (big 4* hotel) quite a few years back, I was in charge of the bar. The rule of thumb was that at night, as long as there were at least 20 residents in there, we stayed open.

This obviously led to all sorts of late night free bar conference shenanigans, with sad twats who couldn't hold their drink.

The one story which sticks out from all the rest is when we had a big fashion retailer called Pamplemousse (do they still exist?) in for a conference. They had a free bar, and were still in there at 5am.

I finally decided enough was enough when one of the table staff caught one of the senior Pamplemousse staff giving someone a blowjob underneath a jacket in the corner. We shut the bar, and sent everyone to bed.

Obviously not content with this, the same staff member proceeded to go upstairs to the man's room, do whatever she had to do, and then lock herself outside in the coridor naked. To cover herself up, she pulled down a large and very expensive curtain and wrapped it around herself. This classy and sophisticated lady then decided that she needed a shit, so she curled one off in one of the ashtrays beside the lift. She then went down to reception, smelling of turd and with a curtain wrapped round her, and angrily demanded in a pissed-up drawl to be let back into her room, indignant at the fact that the hotel had somehow got her into this predicament.

She was let into her room, and then presented with a ma-hhooo-sive bill by the duty manager the next morning. Funnily enough, she apparently didn't utter a single word of complaint, and sheepishly got out her chequebook.
(, Tue 25 Jul 2006, 15:17, 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)
Special Sauce
I second that comment about the sealed containers of mayo, which is why, after working at McDs for a I became annoyed with the customers. Having heard the urban legend about "special" sauce, I thought I would re-enact it. Imagine my dismay when I found that it was very hard to do in the back of the restaurant - the best I could manage was not washing my hands after a fwap. Not special enough.

So I jacked that job in, and got one at a company (name understandably witheld) that makes mayonaises and sauces, for most of McDs in the south east (along with a number of smaller establishments and some sandwich manufacturers).

I worked there as an computer support monkey for a few weeks until I got the lay of the land and worked out all the proceedures and processes. And I waited. One week, they had shut down part of the plant for cleaning (they did this regularly) and I realised that this would be my opportunity for spunky revenge.

I collected about a weeks worth of spooge in a plastic bag, and the night before they were due to re-start that part of the factory, I dumped the entire bag into the egg-yolk vat that would be used in the McD sauces. 100ml of man-fat in half a tonne of yolk wouldn't be noticed and wasn't.

So I spunked in all the big macs in the south east, over a several week period. And a lot of the sandwiches you buy in petrol station forecourts. And a lot more food besides that. Hee hee.
(, Mon 24 Jul 2006, 11:44, Reply)

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