21 Things you Only Know if You’ve Worked in Restaurants


1) Chefs receive a special class in cooking school on how to insert the word f**k into every other word in a sentence. All will pass this class.

2) The only requirement needed to succeed in the industry is the ability to receive abuse for eight hours straight without crying, or at least not publicly.

3) ‘No experience necessary’ on an advert means – ‘will consider a criminal record.’

4) You will feel no shame about eating leftovers off someone’s plate. This is because you haven’t had a f*****g break in ten mother f*****g hours.

5) A sommelier is a waiter who moves less, talks more, looks smug and never has to carry anything heavier than a bottle.

6) Putting the lunatics in charge of the asylum is a fair description of restaurant management.

7) A chef is someone who shouts at people. An executive chef is someone who shouts at other chefs. A TV chef is someone who never has to work in a restaurant again if they just keep smiling.

8) A Sous Chef meanwhile is someone not yet able to openly abuse you whilst waving a carving knife, but is gradually working up to it. Commis Chef is another term for ‘Moving Target’, whereas Chef de Partie means someone only responsible for not f*****k up one thing.

9) Handing in your notice when working in an office involves a well contrived resignation email. Handing in your notice when working in a restaurant involves shouting f**k a lot whilst throwing plates and avoiding cutlery. Or never turning up again. That also works.

10) The bit between a kitchen and the waiters is called ‘The Pass’. This is because there is a right side and a wrong side to it.

11) In the real world when things go wrong people start shouting. In kitchens when things go wrong everyone goes quiet.

12) An included uniform is often listed as a plus on an advert. And sure, if sweating away in a polyester blend made in a sweat shop in Guangzhou is a good thing then, why the hell not, it’s a plus.

13) It is in fact possible to live off biscotti and complimentary after-dinner chocolates.

14) Finishing time if you are a waiter is shrouded in mystery and suspense. Finishing time if you are a manager is the time at which you would start getting overtime in every other profession on this sweet, green Earth. Finishing time if you are a head chef meanwhile is a number carved in stone on a biblical mountain.

15) As a customer, asking the waiter if the food is good is self defeating. Waiters are hardly likely to say, “no, it’s overpriced crap produced by a megalomaniac with all the profits going toward putting the owner’s daughter through her Swiss finishing school whilst I smile like a hippie in the hope you’ll leave me enough spare change for the bus home because the cheap, f******g bastard is tighter than a mallard’s c**t.”

16) The better the view, the more expensive the meal. There are no exceptions to this rule.

17) Today’s specials are either the freshest ingredients from the market handpicked for your dining pleasure, or, sh*t we have to use up today before it kills someone or develops sentience.

18) “Corked” is a slang term for “This wine doesn’t taste like how I expected it to, and I no longer wish to pay for it.” Wastage meanwhile translates as “staff drinking fund.”

19) You’d think that leaving a tip means we’d actually get it. You really would, wouldn’t you?

20) There’s often a designated staff room. It’s called the broken chair stuffed in the store cupboard that smells of dead mouse. No really, it’s a delight.

21) Hell is a hot fiery place where lost souls toil in eternal damnation, whilst a hellish demon preys upon them for something they did very wrong in a past life… oh wait, that’s kitchens. Sorry, my bad.

Dan Miles’ best-selling debut novel Filthy Still – a tale of travel, sex and perfectly made cocktails – is out now on Amazon.

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