Every cook working the line has one: that one dish or ingredient they hate prepping or cooking, whether it’s fiddly and time consuming (more so than others), or cooked to order in a way they feel doesn’t bring the best out of it. It doesn’t detract from the best things about being a professional cook, though.
Cheese boards. Nothing is more annoying than having to get a cheeseboard out in the middle of a busy service.
Sugar work. I actually really like sugar work in a quiet empty setting but this never exists in a commercial kitchen.
A sandwich with six different types of bacon, a maple bacon glaze and bacon aioli. It is an absolute mess and the glaze burns on the trays super easy once it's put in the salamander.
I'm a catering cook and we have a number of things that are rather annoying. Any sort of passed "puff," because pâte á choux is a pain in the ass. Squeezing 500 dabs of it genuinely hurts. Roasted veg. 15 hotels pans of raw veg just gets boring to make. Fruit displays. They take a while to prep, and no one eats them. Prosciutto-wrapped, blue cheese-filled dates. Yes, they are delicious, but I have to make 400 for your 200 guests and a lot of people don't eat dates or blue cheese. Anything skewered. Again, a lot of labour.
Full English breakfast. I really enjoy making them but it's just way too much effort for one order when it’s busy.
Hard Fried Crab. No question.
Every time someone orders no salt I die a little inside.
I Poop Popcorn
I was the sous at a high-end hotel. I once had to do 850 tuxedo strawberries. Each one had to have a bow tie and three buttons.
I used to cook at a Mongolian grill and hated meals that had an absurd amount of sesame oil and poppy seeds. The poppy seeds would become a million tiny missiles...
Fried chicken livers ... All my grease burns I have are from making livers.
I used to work at a place that served a deep-fried blooming onion. Basically fancier onion rings. Such a terrible, terrible dish to make.
A well-done steak.
This is going to sound super pretentious but ... As a chef, my number one job is to love everything I have to do. If you do not put equal passion and honour and "love" for each dish and each customer who orders some difficult to make or custom order where they ask for everything on the side and well done you simply should not be cooking. If a perfect night for me was only cooking the dishes I liked to cook the way I liked them I would never have a perfect night.
S.Pellegrino and Food for Soul, the non-profit organisation founded by Lara Gilmore and chef Massimo Bottura, form a new global partnership to drive social and environmental change and promote a sustainable food culture.