forgot password?
remember me

introduction & gossip

Add a Reply
Topic Message
Wendy B
Wendy B

Are chefs abusive?

message posted 30-Aug-07 19:13:10
I am interested in finding out people's views on abusive behaviour in kitchens. I am trying to find out if the behaviour shown in the media is a true reflection of the industry, such as the portrayal of Gordon Ramsay. More information about the programme can be found at where there is a questionnaire asking for your views, or you can respond here if you have witnessed, been on the receiving end or even involved in abusive behaviour
message posted 30-Aug-07 20:10:51
Hi Wendy

What do you mean abusive?. Any chef who started out 15 - 20 years ago knows about abuse. Gordon Ramsay is a pussycat compared to old school chefs.

My reply to any person asking "is it really like that", a kitchen is a very hot, stressful enviroment, things need to be prepared with precision and timing. Also this is not an office enviroment where you can ask the person to step into your office for a little chat
If someone drops the "knife" during service the head chef cannot walk over and have a cosy chat. he has to shout, (why shout ?) you have to shout because the extractor makes one hell of a racket. The expletives used dictates the urgency of the matter. One f*** means not too much of a problem. Two f**** means, get a grip and send the order now. Three f****'s , means get your S**** together because the plate is waiting for you and getting cold.

I think chefs take more abuse from extractors. As all chefs will tell you your ears buzz / ring for at least an hour after you have left work.

Old school abuse.

Cleaning the freezer (no freezer jackets in those days)
Slapped with a frozen salmon or should i say knocked out!
Getting plates out of a hot cuboard without a tourchon, with chef screaming " are you a man or a mouse"
Your coke being poured out and replaced with vinegar during service.
Finishing 1000 ravioli's and chef tells you they are sh*** , START AGAIN!!!!!
Mirepoix by hand for a 500ltr consomme, whilst the chef uses the Robo to crush ice for his margharita.

My first day as a commis. Started at 6am, in those days you did'nt even look at the head chef, he was god. Anyway i get put to work peeling and cleaning. Come 3pm the morning shift starts getting told they can leave, but chef does not say that i can leave, so i carry on. Come 12.30 am chef comes up to me and says i can go, and not to F**** with him again.!!

Just his way of saying, there are another 100 guys out there who would give his left nut to work in his kitchen, dont let me down.

Hope this answers a few questions.
message posted 31-Aug-07 18:00:27
Hi Wendy, I agree with Amuse-bouche

What abuse?

I have been a chef for 12 yrs now and in any pressurized enviroment you have to let off steam. I could not believe a couple of years back that Michelin chef burnt a commis with a palette knife, well hey we all get burnt every day, just good old fashioned testosterone horseplay if you ask me!

The abuse in the industry comes from EMPLOYERS who refuse to recognise us as proffesionals and pay us accordingly.
The restaurant i work in, we have five of us in the kitchen, last year we turned over 850k that is a massive 170 000 each with our own hands.
Now if I was a sales rep for any company i would probably get a basic rate of pay (minimum wage 13 500) then add 10% sales commision for the sales 17 000 giving me a total of 30 500. Well to me this sounds fair - Think again my head chef gets this, me as sous chef gets 5K less.

Its the employers that are abusive, not the chefs.
Wendy B
Wendy B
message posted 04-Sep-07 16:07:04
Thanks for your reply.
Many reasons are given for abusive behviour. The most common being a stressful working environment, however, an operating theatre could also be seen to be a stressful environment yet surgeons aren't seen shouting at their colleagues.
Do you think that the type of behaviour you have described is acceptable in 2007?

Other comments from chefs is that they are artists and therefore by nature temperamantal. Is this also a reason or just an excuse?
I look forward to your comments.
message posted 04-Sep-07 20:06:16
I still dont think its abuse, I think its a male / testosterone thing.

I have worked in eleven different kitchens and all of them to varying degrees have swearing but never have i worked in a kitchen without it.

The surgeon comment can also be applied to a kitchen pass. During service all chatter, banter ends and when you are plating up (tripple bypass) all focuse is on the plate. I guarentee that if the surgeon ties the last stick and it breaks, having to start all over again, there will definatly be a f*** or two going on. Or should we change that to the more polite B*******.

I also bet that a operating theatre is kept at an ambient temperature, no extractor noise (Amuse-bouche) no pans that might burn through your cloth, or hot fat spitting and all of this after fourteen hours on your feet. And we all KNOW that they DONT CLEAN the theatre after use (MRSA), we do.

I dont think swearing in a kitchen will end, and its not abuse, its a way of life.

message posted 05-Sep-07 16:55:11
Hey Kman

I understand totally about employers "abuse" and wages.

I found this on the job section :

This is a Michelin restaurant offering a COMMIS chef 19.000

I salute the chef, and to all other employers, you know what they say. "if you pay peanuts , you get monkeys"

Just remember. THE CHEF IS YOUR BUSINESS, without him you fall.
chef greg a.c.n.j
chef greg a.c.n.j
message posted 19-Nov-07 09:00:10
I run an aprentice program in adition to being a head chef and I can tell you that not all chefs belive in the abusive aproach. Most of us were tourtured as commis or when we took our first line cook job and some of us were nurtured. I was both - and retained more information from those chefs who were tough, but showed some interest in my development. I think a lot of chefs forget that there really is a difference between tough and just plain mean. In short I belive that the chefs of the future will be more interested in teaching than screaming because of the simple fact that the better your cooks are, the better the food in your restaurant will be...and angry, terrified cooks don't cook as well as happy, knowledgable ones.
Kitchen Bitch
Kitchen Bitch
message posted 19-Nov-07 16:32:20
I Agree with you chef greg

However I also agree that the kitchen is a demanding work enviroment and that ocassionally we do need to raise our voices. Being a female in a male dominated kitchen I did have to adapt to the banter and agression that a kitchen can bring.

My personal take was to absorb as much info from my Head chef, no matter what he was like and then when he has nothing more to give I would move on (I still do this today).

Knoweladge is power, learn, make adjustments and grow.

Kitchen Bitch
x x x x
Kitchen Bitch
Kitchen Bitch
message posted 04-Mar-08 19:46:12
An interesting clip :

Gordon gives his reason why .

I would love to give those "idiot" customers we all have a pice of my mind.

Its a reality Tv show you muppets !

You gotta laugh :
Page:  [1] [2]  Next Page»

Follow us on Twitter  Follow us on Twitter Find Us on Facebook
© ChefsWorld   |  Terms of Use |  Site map  |  Web Design by OS3