Working the Line: Chef Pants

At culinary school, all students get issued the same kitchen uniform: checkered baggy chef pants and white men’s chef coats. I get it. Our uniforms are meant to take away our individuality and force us to work on important things like kitchen safety, cooking, and proper sanitation practices. But that doesn’t excuse their ugliness. Surely there would come a day when I had the right to choose… my pants, that is.

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Working the Line: Family Meal

At a dinner service last week, some of our regulars asked me where I like to dine when I’m not at work. I’m pretty much a fast-food gal on most nights. Even though I do love cooking and putting together beautiful plates at work, the last thing I want to do is cook when I get home. The regulars continued to name off a slew of top-rated restaurants in DFW.

…I haven’t been to any of them.

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Working the Line: Picky Diners and Special Requests

In restaurants, we believe the customer is always right. Unless, of course, they’re not.

Sauce. Protein. Starch. Vegetable. All of these elements are seasoned and cooked in a way to make a delicious, harmonious dish. During menu development, chefs mix flavors and textures that (hopefully) rock a diner’s world. They consider the season, the area, and what food trends are sweeping the fine dining world. Blood, sweat, and tears are part of this exhaustive process, which is why it makes the kitchen sad when diners ask for modifications before even tasting a dish. Case in point: Sally Albright in When Harry Meets Sally. Try not to be like her.

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Working the Line: New Girl

As you’ve probably figured out, I am a woman in the culinary industry. Is my gender a relevant factor of my experience in the kitchen? Of course. Should it be? That’s debatable.

Every day is spent sweating and getting hot oil splashed onto my face. The tiny hairs on my hands and forearms are nearly nonexistent now because of the blazing hot flames that ascend from our massive gas stoves. I burn myself at least once a week and manage to cut myself about once a month. (It used to happen more frequently, which was super embarrassing, not to mention painful.) These things happen to every line cook, but I apparently seem more badass because I’m of the “fairer” sex.

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Working the Line: An Introduction

Dear SideDish readers,

I am your friendly, and sometimes not-so-friendly, neighborhood line cook. I work at one of the many fine dining restaurants in DFW. Week to week, I’ll be sharing my experiences with you: the good, the bad, the funny, and the infuriating. Working as a line cook is not exactly glamorous, but I do it because I love food, and because I’m a bit of a masochist. By now, you’ve probably noticed that my actual name is not on the byline. This allows me to share more insight into my life and work.

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