"I just had to auction off table four!" This is a strange thing for a waiter in a restaurant to say, isn't it? Are they saying they put the table up for sale and opened it up for bidding? Or, are they saying the incited a bidding war on the actual food?
Neither of course. To "auction something off" in restaurant language means that for whatever reason, the server had to verbally interrupt the guest to ask who ordered what dish. This usually happens because someone other than the person who took the order is bringing out the food, and the seat numbers were recorded incorrectly. If this happens often in a restaurant, its a sign of poor organization.
One of the primary problems that waiters, especially in fine dining restaurants, face, is customers ordering items without understanding what they are, and then sending them back, or even becoming angry that they weren't informed of what they are actually ordering.
Recently, I heard a cook complaining about how today's restaurant diners think they know as much about food as the chef. The frustrated chef blamed this on Food TV. People watch the Food Network, he said, and they think they know how everything should be cooked. So, not only do they send food back but they try to tell you how to make it. "They don't know what they're talking about!" he said.
Culinary school students expect to learn the basics of cooking, including such things as knife skills, different cooking methods, sauces, broths, seasoning, etc. You may ask, then, what will I learn in culinary school that I couldn't learn on the job?
I would suspect that many aspiring culinary students envision culinary school as one long "cooking class." You go to a kitchen and a grumpy chef shows you how to make something, you repeat the process while he shakes his head and grunts. You make mistakes and learn from your mistakes, etc. There's pressure, but it's a fun kind of pressure.
Even if you've never worked in a restaurant kitchen, you may have heard waiters or expediters shouting "all day" on some cooking competition TV show.
For example, you might hear "I need four salmon all day!"
What does all day mean in restaurant slang?
Chefs say pastry chefs are a crazy lot. Seriously, ask around. They do. Yet, chefs today often display a sort of schizophrenic seeming attitude toward their jobs. They love it. They get great satisfaction. It is thankless grueling work and no, you should not become a chef.
Why is it that we seem to come across so many chefs who actively discourage people from entering into a culinary career? Young people ask on various internet forums, "Should I go to culinary school?" and you tend to see at least one grumpy character pop up and say, "I've been a chef for a thousand years. Don't become a chef. You don't know what you're getting into."
Most parents want two basic things for their children. They want them to be happy. And they want them to be happy. When you want to go to culinary school and have a career in the culinary arts, and your parents don't support you, it may seem like their goals have shifted. But, what do your think their reasons are for not wanting you to go to culinary school? Perhaps they think that you will end up unhappy! Maybe they don't understand your passion for food.
Restaurant professionals know that bacteria responsible for food-borne illness can multiply by the thousands in very short period of time.
They also know that you cannot tell always tell that this has happened by the smell or the appearance of the food. Fresh chicken that was purchased in the morning and improperly stored can cause illness in the evening.
So, there is a golden rule, when it come to the temperature in restaurant kitchens: Hot food hot and cold food cold.
Most people assume that personal chef and private chef are two different ways of naming the same career. However they are actually quite different jobs. Since becoming either a private or a personal chef can be a rewarding choice of careers for a culinary school graduate, it is important to understand the difference.
Walk-in is the shortened or slang term for the "walk in refrigerator" in commercial restaurant kitchens. This is not to be confused with the term walk-in as used in the front of the house.
These are simply refrigerated spaces that are so large you can walk into them. Like a large refrigerated walk-in closet, they have shelves on either side and are used for the extended storage of bulk food items such as large boxes of vegetable or fruit, or for the shorter-term storage of batch prepared foods.
Many of those interested in becoming a chef, or pursuing some type of culinary career, become interested in food, and perhaps develop a passion for cooking, at home. Then, they decide to enroll in cooking school, and pursue their dream job: Becoming the head chef at a big-time restaurant!
Many people complain about the "broken" tip culture in American restaurants. They argue that waiters don't make minimum wage, and only make anywhere from say, $2.13 (the federal minimum for tipped employees, called the tip wage) to $3.50 (more or less). They depend almost solely on tips to make a living.
Therefore, although it would be disastrous for waiters in the short term, if EVERYONE stopped tipping, then most waiters would leave the industry (while perhaps suffering poverty) and the country would have to "fix" the tip problem and pay waiters minimum wage, at least, so we could all enjoy dining out again.
BOH and FOH are both common abbreviations used in restaurant jargon. BOH stands for "back of house" and FOH stands for "front of house."
You may know what other waiters say, but what does science say about how a waiter can make the most tips? Of course, the first question is whether or not their is scientific evidence concerning this question at all. Yes, there is. So, what do we know, psychologically speaking, about how a waiter (server, waitperson) can maximize his or her tips?