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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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Food hall
When I was 15, I used to work in the food hall of a well known but old fashioned department store (rhymes with Bittlewoods). My main function was to work on the till - wearing a trés chic and stylish uniform consisting of a dark brown nylon skirt, matching tabard (apron) and an orange polyester blouse tied at the neck with a jaunty brown nylon cravat. All this beauty was topped off with a brown hat, similar to that worn by American GIs during WWII.

I didn't mind working on the tills - I was quite fast and was always very polite to the customers (mostly old dears buying biscuits and cat litter) but I hated it when my boss ("Mike") asked me to cover the deli counter. People would come and ask for something like "a pound of mature cheddar" - well, having had no training, and being 15 years old, I had no idea what a pound of mature cheddar looked like. I used to slice off a chunk of cheese with my cheese wire, weigh it, realise it wasn't big enough, slice off another bit, add that into the scales, still not enough etc until the poor old lady would be sent off with a pounds worth of cheese in uneven shaped slivers.

The best bit was being asked to cover pick'n'mix. If any of the sweets were running low, you had to go to the stock room and fetch more. They used to keep the sweets in big bin-bag sized sacks. My faves at the time were chocolate brazil nuts and one memorable day, I must have visited the stock room at least 10 times on the pretence of replenishing something, but stuffing my face with handfuls of chocolate brazil nuts each time.

I spent the next 24 hours vomiting a chocolate fountain whilst my mother shrieked "Serves you right for stealing!" Doncha just love the Catholic guilt. Still can't face brazil nuts either.
(, Fri 21 Jul 2006, 13:49, Reply)

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