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The Unspoken Kitchen Code. Do You Agree?

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According to Chef’s Resources  here is a run down of the Unspoken Kitchen code.  Let us know what you think and if there is some tings which have been missed of.  Please do check out their site( another link at the End!)


The Kitchen Code:

(not in any particular order)

1. You show up early and are at your station early, ready to work.

2. You arrive in a presentable fashion: showered, shaved, brushed, combed, and in a clean uniform.

Last night’s entertainment is not discernable.

3. You have a genuine enthusiasm for good food, good technique, and culinary advancement,

regardless of how much you already think you know.

4. You maintain a good attitude, finding satisfaction in doing good work.

5. You are coachable and don’t get defensive when criticized.

6. You are not a know-it-all (the opposite of being coachable).

7. You don’t take yourself too seriously and are able to laugh at yourself if you fucked up…but you

also learn from it.

8. You do not dwell upon or allow the feelings associated with a fuck-up to distract you. Instead, you

keep your mental focus in the game and move on. If you need to discuss it with Chef then do so

after service has ended.

9. You season everything with the “correct” amount of seasoning as per the Chef’s preference (not

your own).

10. You taste everything in your station, making sure it is correctly made and of proper quality.

11. Dull knives are disrespectful to ingredients – you have a sharp knife at all times.

12. You NEVER use someone eles’s knives without their permission. As Anthony Bourdain says,

“Don’t touch my dick, don’t touch my knife.”

13. You do not complain – especially about those things which cannot be controlled, such as customer

requests/returns, the restaurant hours of operation, having to work weekends/holidays, how busy

or slow it is, etc. all.

14. You show respect for the food, for the Chef, and for how we want things done at THIS restaurant

(not the way some other chef did it at some other restaurant you worked at…we don’t care).

15. You show respect for fellow co-workers (team members); this includes cooks, dishwashers,

bussers, prep cooks, food runners, expeditors, and servers (yes, the servers too!).

16. You do not expect or demand respect from others. You understand that respect is earned: a) by

being equal or better than everyone else in the kitchen, and b) by treating everyone else like they

are equal or better than you.

17. You understand the importance of a fully staffed crew and you do not call in sick so you can go to

that concert, or party.

18. You consistently show up for work…if you are sick then be prepared to provide a drs note to

prove it (too many have violated the other members of the Saturday night crew by calling in sick

to go to a party).

19. If you have a mild cold, or a headache, or a hangover, you are not sick…show up for work.

20. You don’t get sick often.

21. You have the ability to stay focused under pressure – expect to be in the weeds often… and work

your way out of it alone.

22. You’re not afraid to ask for help if your station gets slammed…but you understand that help may

not be available.

23. If your station gets utterly hammered and you sink, you don’t give up and walk off the Line…you

break out a shovel and dig your way out.

24. You are aware of the kitchen flow and take initiative…if your fellow cook is buried, you help

them out.

25. You always rotate product properly, practicing FIFO (First In, First Out)

26. You always have enough mise en place for your shift.

27. You never throw product out due to over-prepping.

28. You NEVER steal someone else’s mise en place.

29. You always prep fresh products daily…do not make tomorrow’s chiffonade today.

30. When running low on a product for your station’s prep you always let the chef know before the

last of it is gone.

31. Never 86 anything unless there is no more product to prep. When running low on a menu item you

always give the chef at least a one hour warning before having to 86 it. This allows a count-down

for the servers so no customer orders it when it is gone; and it allows time to try to prep more or

find a replacement.

32. You are fast, but not sloppy…your station is clean and organized even in the middle of the push.

33. You always have an extra gear available when needed.

34. You follow established safe holding temperatures and verify that your products in the hot Bain

Marie and refrigerated holding inserts are at temp. You sanitize everything that comes in contact

with food, ie. thermometers, utensils etc.

35. You organize your time efficiently, always planning ahead…you make fewer trips to the walk-in,

always carrying something both ways.

36. You take your breaks when it’s slow, and only with the chef’s permission.

37. You restock your station before taking your breaks.

38. You manage your food well – if it needs to be in the window in 2 minutes you can make it happen.

Or if you’re told to slow a dish for 4 minutes you know how to do that as well.

39. You have an appetite to learn more, regardless of how much or little you already know.

40. You prepare and present the food exactly as the Chef has taught you…every time.

41. When you’re having a great day you focus, prepare, & present the food properly throughout your

entire shift.

42. When you’re having a shitty day you focus, prepare, & present the food properly throughout your

entire shift.

43. You do it right, without taking shortcuts, even if it’s a tedious pain in the ass. This is called

Professional Discipline.

44. You do not bring your personal drama to work with you. You take control of, and are responsible

for, your “Emotional Wake”.

45. You are not afraid to ask appropriate questions about proper procedure…do not hack up an entire

tenderloin because you are too arrogant, or too scared, to ask for a demo.

46. You work neatly and clean as you go.

47. You properly label and date EVERYTHING.

48. You admit when you are wrong, but don’t point it out when others are wrong – especially if it’s

the chef.

49. The kitchen is not a democracy…always do it the Chef’s way, even if you think your way is better.

If you must suggest something, do so in private…hopefully the Chef will give you kudos if he

accepts the revision…but don’t expect it.

50. “Yes Chef!” or “Oui Chef!” is the only proper response to any directive from the Chef. If the Chef

says, “Please do it this way” understand that he/she is not offering you a choice; you are politely

being instructed how to do it and your compliance is expected.

51. You always give call-backs when orders are called.

52. You work in a safe manner, thereby protecting yourself and others from harm.

53. You always use appropriate kitchen warnings such as, “Behind”, “Corner”, “Hot”, “Knife”, “Oven

Open”, etc.

54. You are willing and able to work long hours under high stress, sometimes for many days straight,

w/o becoming a moody detriment to the kitchen or the food.

55. You work for the good of the team and the restaurant.

56. You plan ahead and ask for days off well in advance.

57. You always know exactly what is in your oven, or on your stove or grill, even if it’s not yours.

58. You are aware and observant in the kitchen: you smell when food doesn’t smell or feel right. You

notice if the temp in a cooler is too high. You smell if something is burning.

59. You have a “sense of urgency”.

60. You work efficiently as regards time and organization, meaning that items which take a long time

to prepare are started before items which take less time. During service, if you have a dish which

takes 10 minutes to prepare, one which takes 5 minutes, and one which takes 2 minutes, you are

able to time and prepare all three within 10 minutes and hit the window at the same time; and it

does not take you 17 minutes because you prepared them one at a time.

61. You always tell the chef when you leave the Line, including why you are leaving, “Off Line for


62. When it’s slow, you always find something useful to do, including cleaning your station or

organizing the walk-in. “If you have time to lean you have time to clean.”

63. Always treat equipment with respect, as if you paid for it yourself.

64. Always work in a manner which meets the health code, ensuring that you’re not going to get

someone sick.

65. You understand the proper use of foodservice gloves. They are a pain in the ass, but they protect

our guests. No glove, no love.

66. Know the difference between a cut and a scratch; a cut requires stitches, a scratch does not. If it’s

a scratch put a Band-Aid on it and get back to work. If it requires only 2 or 3 stitches, please return

to finish your shift after the doctor is done. The crew and the chef will both respect and appreciate

you more for it.

67. If you do return to work with injuries, be wise enough to work within your restrictions and not

cause yourself additional injury.

68. You daily rotate all your mise en place on the Line into clean containers at closing.

69. You stay until all the day’s work is done properly w/o asking to leave early. You ask if there’s

anything else that needs to be done before leaving.

70. You mentor new co-workers as you would have liked to have been mentored/taught, not

necessarily how you were taught.

71. You manage your “recreational activities” wisely…too many of us become addicted to alcohol or


72. To be recognized as a leader in the kitchen…you know the kitchen code, practice the code, and

mentor the code. (I know…sappy and proselytizing! But how else could you possibly end “The

Code…” of anything?!)

Chef’s Resources 

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