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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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Health and Safety? you are having a laugh
ah the joys of small "family run" restaurants

Having done 2 year of evening catering college (G&G Professional Certicate and Diploma courses), I decided to take my hands into the big bad world of professional catering. Thanks to a friend's beady eye spotting a "cook wanted" sign in a local pizza and pasta place I picked up a one evening a week cook's job, basically freeing one of the owners up to have an evening off.

Italian food by English people - who had started the restaurant 15 years ago when the husband (nice man) got cancer and they couldn't continue with their secondhand furniture business (no heavy lifting).

Now it always scares me when I see these people on telly who sell everything and move to Spain to open an restaurant with NO experience of restaurants apart from sitting in one ordering egg and chips, sadly with these people their hearts were in the right place but their soup was out of a tin and their filled pasta frozen.

The walls were terracotta (Orange) and shelves filled with "amusing" bric-a-brac, nothing matched, and the cellar/party room (which would have been a great space if looked after) always smelt of damp. They barely advertised and so the Wednesday would be a few regulars, "friends" of the owners who ordered weird options because they could being "friends of the owners" - the owners hated them but regular cash is regular cash and the ongoing gossip of their torrid love lifes kept us amused.
The only day I ever saw a full restaurant was St Valentines Day for which I was asked to do a shift, which was worth it again for couple watching.

So lets just say, things were a bit slack including the health and safety plans so I was to discover, when the ancient old industrial pizza oven showed me when it dropped the metal bar which stops hot air escaping upwards when the door is opened, did I mention it was a tad hot? onto the top of my right hand as I was reaching to get a tray of garlic bread out of it.
I had to lift the thing off as it was too heavy to move just with one hand, no gentle flick off, so it had more time to burn through my skin, now having done my course, one of the things I was taught was burns = cold water for at least 10 minutes however was I was to find out from the wife (menapausally evil) that in HER kitchen, garlic bread came out of oven first and served, (taking putting the customer first to new extremes) before you could tend your needs and employer care consists of asking "does it still hurt?" 30 minutes later while I am still holding my hand under a running cold tap, sadly (due to the pain, honest) I replied "YES IT FUCKING DOES"
She looked slightly shocked and then complained that she would now have to do the washing up now as I said I couldn't put in my hand in hot water (yes I was a one person entire kitchen staff on those days - well she had to do "front of house")

Result: 2 and a half inch blister, followed by it turning into a blood blister and then bursting and leaving me with several weeks of a bandaged hand, typing hurt, moving my mouse hurt, everything I did with my hand hurt which didn't help with my daytime office job.
I now have, nearly 3 years later, a nice scar.

(They sold up a year and a half ago to retire and the place was taken over and is now often spilling customers out of the door, they get so full - I wonder why?)
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 11:57, Reply)

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