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One Chef's Guide to The 26 Unwritten Laws of The Kitchen

By FDL on

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One Chef's Guide to The 26 Unwritten Laws of The Kitchen

There are many rules to follow when it comes to working in the kitchen and following some of them will certainly make the difference between a successful cooking career and one that flops pretty quickly.

The so called Laws of The Kitchen have been written and passed on in many forms but a recent post by chef Paul Sorgule who has produced a comprehensive list of how to behave in the kitchen. Sorgule has worked as a chef, restauranteur and culinary educator and has written a piece on the Culinary Cues blog that list 28 different laws of the kitchen.

We think he’s pretty much nailed what’s needed perfectly for a great start in any kitchen and the advice is all sound. Below you can see his list and there’s a lot more detail offered about each point on the Harvest America Ventures website.

1 - My KNIVES are my KNIVES – HANDS OFF!
If you are looking for a sure-fire way to bring a cook to insanity – try picking up his or her knives to use without asking.

2 -NEVER, EVER, PUT DIRTY KNIVES in the SINK and WALK AWAY.

3 - DON’T be LATE- On TIME is at LEAST 15 MINUTES EARLY.

4 - MAKE SURE that your MISE is ALWAYS TIGHT.
When mise en place starts to fall apart for one cook so goes the rest of the line.

5 - KEEP your HANDS off my MISE EN PLACE.

6 - I MAY YELL AT TIMES TO GET A POINT ACROSS – DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
Some may view this as the creation of a hostile work environment and it can certainly be seen as just that, but when used sparingly it can be effective.

7 - BEND your KNEES DAMMIT!
The majority of kitchen injuries happen because an employee lifted, reached, or turned incorrectly.

8 - WORK CLEAN – ALWAYS!

9 - KNOCK FIRST – WHEN LEAVING the WALK-IN and ALWAYS ASSUME that SOMEONE is on the OTHER SIDE.

10 - Say “BEHIND” WHEN you ARE.
When walking behind a person in the kitchen, coming up to a corner, or entering into a room or cooler – always announce your presence.

11 - SWEAT the DETAILS – It’s ALL in the DETAILS.

12 - NEVER SACRIFICE QUALITY for SPEED, NEVER SACRIFICE SPEED for QUALITY, be PREPARED for BOTH.

13 - HOT PANS and WET SIDE TOWELS DON’T MIX.

14 - ALWAYS TAKE CARE of the DISHWASHERS.

15 - KEEP VENDORS HONEST – CHECK PRODUCT when it ARRIVES.

16 - You START it – You OWN it.
Put a pan on the stove, turn on the flame, add a bit of oil, and walk away assuming that someone else will keep an eye on it for you? I think not.

17 -   A HANGOVER is not an EXCUSE.

18 - No GLASS in the KITCHEN.
Glass and food do not mix. Use disposables or plastic for your water, if you see a cook using glass – address it immediately, and if anyone ever uses a glass to scoop ice out of the ice machine – show them the door. A broken glass in an ice machine is one of the restaurant’s worst nightmares (next to a fire, sewer problem, or fire suppression activation).

19 -   ROTATE – LABEL and DATE – No EXCEPTIONS, No EXCUSES.

20 - DON’T ASK ME to TASTE if you HAVEN’T FIRST DONE so YOURSELF.

21 - Put EVERYTHING BACK WHERE it BELONGS.

22 - DON’T OPEN ANOTHER CONTAINER of SPICES BEFORE CHECKING for any OPEN ONES in USE.

23 - CLEAN UP YOUR OWN SPILLS – IMMEDIATELY.

24 - In THE HEAT of SERVICE- ALL for ONE and ONE for ALL.

25 -    STAY HYDRATED.

26 - STAY PROFESSIONAL – DON’T be an ASS.
There is no room in a professional kitchen for renegades who think that all of this is a joke. This is serious business and your cooperation is essential. If you want to be a rebel and come across as an ass then I would encourage you to look for work elsewhere before the crew decides to straighten you out.

Read more from Paul Sorgule.

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