US chef and writer Paul Sorgule is a seasoned kitchen veteran and when it comes to reporting on life in the kitchen, from how to work the line to the spectrum of characters that call the kitchen home, there are few as qualified as him to report from the inside.
Starting in the hospitality industry as a dishwasher at just 16 years old, the educator spent four decades working his way up the ranks in professional kitchens, learning and garnering invaluable experience that shapes his writing on his Harvest America Ventures blog.
With that in mind, in a recent post, he's drawn on a lifetime of experience to profile the ten categories of cook types that he's come across in years of working in kitchens.
Have you worked with any of these characters? Can you identify which one you are?
The battle veterans of the kitchen with the scars and far fetched stories to prove it. They can be counted on to step up in a crisis, but probably not to hang around in any one kitchen for long.
2. Mysterious Unknowns
Watch out for the quiet ones! The "quiet and reserved chef" that doesn't give anything away, elicits colleagues to come up with fanciful stories as to their "shady" past, from hypothesising whether they're on the run or what can push their buttons to get a reaction. That said, they're very employable, usually little hassle, prepped and on time.
3. Culinary Careerists
A recent graduate or a current school intern with the squeaky clean kit to prove it. They've done the theory and hit the books, now it's their time to prove their mettle on the job. Ambitious, enthusiastic and green, veterans of the kitchen will have plenty of mileage putting them back in their place. If their enthusiasm doesn't get crushed on the way, they'll probably make it to chef one day.
4. Dependable loners
The lone wolf of the kitchen, not interested in socialising with the rest of the team or sharing a joke, but can always be counted on "to do their work, and do it well."
5. Annoying Perfectionists
The great cook and obsessive nit-picker that leaves nothing to chance. The chef that lets nothing slide, whether on their own work station, or someone else's. They are quick to criticise and driven by perfection. "They are a strange lot, but in some respects – the standard-bearer for others" reflects Sorgule.
6. The Chef's Pet
There's one in every classroom and the role seems to translate as easily to the kitchen. The "needy" chef on the line that wants to be the favourite by ingratiating themselves to any authority figures.
7. Simply Content-Type "B"
The solid, dependable team player that gets things done without shouting about it, gets paid and goes home. These chefs keep their head down and do their work, without pushing for more or being over-ambitious.
8. In need of anger management
Every restaurant has one. The angry chef or the "black cloud cook" always on the lookout for a fight. They can upset the equilibrium of the team as other chefs look to avoid them for a quiet life.
9. Everybody's cheerleader
The smiley upbeat chef who has the team effort at heart and can be relied on to boost morale, give compliments and generally be upbeat in good times and bad.
10. Deeply paranoid
The "conspiracy theorists" suspicious about success and compliments as well as being eternal pessimists, describing a good night as just "one more where they didn’t face disaster."