My Five Cents: Scenes From Exhibition Kitchens

All the world’s a stage.

Dear Restaurateur,

If you design your kitchen so customers can watch your chef do their thing you’d better be sure they are on their best behavior at all times. Here are just a few incidents I have witnessed in the last month.

Busboy in u-shaped bar with customers all around him takes a plastic ice tea glass and fills it with ice and about four fingers of bourbon. He tops it off with Coke. He then walks through the upscale dining room to the open kitchen and hands it to the chef who takes a healthy swig. During dinner service.

I’m waiting in a short line for the ladies room which is located basically inside a restaurant’s very busy kitchen. The dude standing over the grill making fajitas (whoops!) wipes his sweaty brow with his forearm first and then a towel which he slings over his shoulder. He removes the meat, wipes the stainless steel table with same cloth, tosses meat down, and begins to chop with  glove-less hands.

It’s a slow night in a restaurant on Cedar Springs. The entire kitchen staff is standing around a various little groups and chatting. One chef is eating a sandwich. One male cook has his arm wrapped around another male cook’s waist. When an order arrives, they break apart but not before one plants a big fat kiss on the other.

I could go on.   And I’m sure some readers will chime in with other tales. I hope you listen and remind your staff to remember they are performing in front of a live audience.




  • Jim Weiss

    You got something against Bourbon and Coke ?

  • Karen Habbestad

    bad management, bad children!

  • Robert Sullivan

    Really, chef’s drinking service?!?! It is so common, one recently opened restaurant has a menu item that allows patrons to buy a round of beer for the kitchen. $30.

  • Robert Sullivan

    WOW! Chefs drinking during service?!?! Say it ain’t so…Not only is this very common, at FT33 there is a menu item that allows guests to buy a round of beer for the kitchen.

  • Jeff

    I’m fairly sure that those beers are delivered during post-service breakdown and cleaning, not during the Friday night dinner rush.

  • Jeff

    The kitchen environment is rife with hazards and a cook/chef who is intoxicated or high is a danger to themselves and their kitchen mates. The important point here is that if a chef lacks the professionalism to operate with this in mind probably also lacks the professionalism to handle your food properly or train his staff to do so diligently.