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Kitchen Jargon: 25 Insider Kitchen terms explained

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Kitchen Jargon: 25 Insider Kitchen terms explained
Photo star5112/flickr

Professional kitchens are busy places, but they can also be confusing workspaces. Especially if you haven't learnt the kitchen lingo.

In this pressurised, time-poor environment, a special lingo littered with shortened words and kitchen slang helps things run more smoothly during service.

If you've ever entered a professional kitchen, you'll probably already know a few of them, but here are some of the main ones to get you started. Left some of your favourites out? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

Kitchen Jargon

1. “86”
When an ingredient runs out and a dish can no longer be served it gets 86'd. Can also apply to when staff leave or get kicked out!

2. On the fly
When a dish is required ASAP ususally due to a mistake it needs to be made “on the fly”.

3. Off line
If you step away from the cooking line communicating that you are "off line" lets the team know you're stepping away from your post.

4. "Behind" 
Used to alert those around you that you’re behind them and may be carrying something hot or sharp.

5. 5-Out: 5-out, 3-out, and so on
Co-ordinating the dishes to go out on one table.

6. Deuce
A table of two guests.

7. "pickup"
Alerts servers that a dish is ready to serve.

8. Dying on the pass
Hot food that's been sitting on the “pass” for too long. 

9. Mise
The prepped ingredients all ready at the station.

10. Fire
Items that need to be cooked or grilled now, need to be  “fired.” 

11. Kill it
A term used for a request for well done or overcooked meat.

12. Sandbagging
Cooking ahead of time and then re-heating at the time of order.

13. Family meal
Can either mean a meal that new chefs have to familiarise themselves with the menu or a dish made from the leftovers of that day or evening’s service.

14. All-Day
A quick and easy way of keeping count of items on the kitchen rail or board. 

15. Covers
A straightforward term for customers. 

16. Walk-in and deep
A walk in is the refrigerator, while "deep" refers to the freezer.

17. In the weeds/weeded
The most polite way of way of saying the kitchen is behind on orders.

18. Alley rally
Also, “curtain call” and “pre-shift.” The moment when chef's catch up on how a mealtime's service went.

19. "Stretch it"
For when you're short on certain ingredients and you need to eek them out in order to last. 

20. "Heard"
When you've understood and you’re doing what you've been asked without question.

21. That's a Dead Fry on the Plate
The food has gone cold on the plate.

22. "Sharp"
Watch out, I’ve got a knife in my hand.

23. SOS
Put the sauce on the side.

24. Short
To be missing an ingredient from the dish.

25. Waxing a Table
Giving a table VIP treatment.

 

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