My Response: 25 Things Chefs Never Tell You

Like I would pass up an opportunity to post this picture

I am trying to fight through the worst bout of writer’s block I have had since I started writing this blog.  I started at least three different posts yesterday that ended up in the recycle bin.  In my last post I promised to get back to some server related posts, but my brain has forced me to break that promise.  In the meantime I have been holding this one back for just such an occasion.

An article recently came to my attention that I am surprised none of my fellow bloggers jumped on.  The Food Network recently did a survey of chefs around the country.  They wrote up the results in an article titled “25 Things Chefs Never Tell You.”  For the most part I think it was a balanced and informative article.  There are probably a number of points that most diners are not aware of.  I recommend the article for those of you who have not put in time working in a restaurant.

Read the full post at Restaurant Laughs

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About David Hayden

David Hayden is a restaurant marketing and training consultant based in Kansas City, MO. He writes a series of 9 blogs collectively known as The Hospitality Formula Network and is the author of "Tips2: Tips For Improving Your Tips" and "Building Your Brand With Facebook"

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  • nativenapkin

    Did they actually interview any Chefs for this bit of drivel or a bunch of 20-something line cooks? This was nothing but a fluff piece attempting to perpetuate stereotypes.

    “The appropriate tip is 20%…
    That’s what chefs leave when they eat out, and it’s the amount they think is fair.”

    When did this start happening? I’ll tell you when: never. Most “chef’s” (read: line cooks) will sit visit a restaurant, make it known they are in the biz, maybe drop your Chef’s or Sous’ name, and get beau coup extras thrown at them all night; and then tip for shit, even on the discounted amount. Every time. It’s their way of leveling the playing field with regards to their hourly wage vs. a waiters (hourly plus the tips). Executive Chefs that have dined in my station and gotten full comps leave $0. Bupkis. Pains me greatly to admit it, but I know because I did the same things when I was BOH.

    And while I agree with you that Chef is a professional title, one does not become a Chef simply from a single course of study at an educational institution. To me, it’s a title of respect that is used a bit too freely. A Chef is someone who has forgotten more about food and cooking than I’ll ever learn; someone who has instinctive talent, a palate beyond belief for flavor and texture and presentation; and has risen beyond the simple mechanics of the job. Simply graduating from a culinary course of study, no matter how intense, doesn’t make one a Chef any more than being able to play “Heart and Soul” on the piano makes one a musician…

    • tipsfortips

      I appreciate that. I was worried I was the only person who thought that too. Line cooks tip poorly, but I do pretty well off actual Chefs. I work in a restaurant where we are trained to refer to every cook in the kitchen as “chef.” I can see where a trained and certified chef would be upset.

  • pren

    omg dropping stuff on the floor and reusing bread!? ok ive worked in a few (not a ton) of restraunts and i have NEVER seen or heard of these practices taking place. ick! im kinda grossed out that 1/4 of the cooks say this happens. does that mean that i have a 1 in 4 chance of getting stuff thats been dropped on the floor when i go out to eat. no thanks im sticking to restaurants where i can SEE my food being made. not that i will necessarily actually watch it being made but i like that i could if i wanted to.

    • tipsfortips

      It means that you have a 1/4 chance of having your food cooked by someone who under some circumstances would consider it. They cook hundreds of meals everyday. Your chances are pretty minute and no bigger than they were before you read the article.

  • yellowcat

    The other night a woman gave her uneaten baked potato back to me. She said, “You have one extra.” I gave her the “Um…WHAT?!” look so she explained, “I didn’t eat it so now the kitchen has an extra baked potato they can serve.”

    WHAT?! I told her all uneaten food goes in the trash and she was horribly offended. Maybe she was one of the chefs who recycle the bread basket.

    • tipsfortips

      I don’t get this either. I managed a buffet style restaurant and people got highly offended that we did not donate the leftovers to charity. There is really no practical way to get and keep the food out of the danger zone overnight to then transport it to a shelter. It would be a logistical nightmare and one that would drive up the cost of the food we sold.

      • yellowcat

        I know the saying and it’s disgusting.

  • yellowcat

    Oh and HAHAHAHAHA to the $662 a week TAX FREE. My money is never tax free.

  • skippymom

    I almost choked on my wheaties. TAX FREE? Are they kidding? Well obviously they have never seen a waiter’s paycheck then.

    I have never [and would never] worked in a restaurant that adhered to the 5 second rule or the reuse of bread. That is so wrong as to be ridiculous.

    • tipsfortips

      Once it hits the table it is inedible in my mind. I think everyone has worked with the scavenger server or busser who sees it differently. One server I worked with would happily eat leftovers from attractive female guests. The most appropriately censored translation of his reasoning that I can come up with is that for those guests he would do far less sanitary things than eat their leftovers.

      • yellowcat

        Woops! My second response was supposed to go here.

  • teleburst

    As to the wine cost issue, that might be about right (but I’m not really sure). I think that you’re confusing *restaurant* wine cost with liquor store shelf cost when you answer this, ““Most chefs said that a bottle on their wine list costs 2½ times what the same one would cost in a wine store.” with “That would be a 40% wine cost. I think that is actually a little low. It is also nearly double what chefs would like to keep their food costs at” I know that most restaurants cost the majority of their wine at roughly 3- 4 times cost. That *could* end up being around 2 1/2 times shelf cost depending on the retail store’s own cost/markup structure.

    The funny thing is, when “civilians” complain about wine markup, they don’t realize that, normally, the more expensive the wine, the better bargain they’re getting. Expensive bottles ($50+ in more modest restaurants and $100+ in fancier restaurants with big wine lists) are usually only marked up 2 – 2 1/2 times cost whereas that cheap white zinfandel is usually marked up 4 times.

    Just thought I’d mention that.

    • tipsfortips

      I had a guest try to tell me that our markup was too high so she was just going to have a $8 glass of White Zin. I managed to avoid laughing until I escaped the table.

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