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16 Secrets Professional Chefs Wish Everyone Understood

No, nobody is messing around with your food.

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1. No actual chef has ever done anything unpleasant to your food, regardless of what your "friend of a friend" might have said.

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It's not just never happened, it's not even joked about. Because that person would be fired.

It's kind of offensive to assume that because people are working in the service industry, they are also moral vacuums.

2. For home cooks, the easiest way to improve your cooking is a small number of high quality items.

One good pan and one good knife will make way more difference than any complicated stuff that promises you all sorts of easy solutions.

3. Learning how you actually like your meat cooked will make everyone's life much, much easier.

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"Rare – so no pink, please" is not acceptable.

4. Similarly, knowing what you actually ordered is important.

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Steak tartare is not steak with tartar sauce, for example.

If you don't know, ask. If you're cripplingly awkward and can't bring yourself to do that, (which is understandable), order something else.

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5. Claiming you have an allergy because you don't like something is one of the most unpleasant things you can do in a restaurant.

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If you say you don't like something, it won't be added to a dish.

If you say you have an allergy, literally anything that might touch an item has to be cleaned, and everything has to be prepared completely from scratch, including sauces. As you might expect, this is a lot of work – which is fine for a real allergy, less so for a dislike, or intolerance, of an item.

6. Particularly if you do something like this.

7. The customer who arrives minutes before the kitchen closes is always, always annoying.

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They'll get their food, but the chef will not be happy about it. Especially if the entire table orders three courses, one of which clearly has a very long preparation time.

8. Brunch is probably the worst meal of the week, for many reasons.

Whether or not it's for jerks, it is usually clumsily disguised leftovers being served to hungover people who can't tell the difference and are using it as an excuse to start drinking again. Fry a fucking egg, then go to the bar.
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Whether or not it's for jerks, it is usually clumsily disguised leftovers being served to hungover people who can't tell the difference and are using it as an excuse to start drinking again. Fry a fucking egg, then go to the bar.

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9. Substitutions in themselves aren't a problem if they're logical and straightforward.

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"Could you leave the pickles off the burger?", for example, is a reasonable request.

10. But if you start swapping out half the dish, then really you should just be ordering something else.

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There are many dishes on the menu, so one of those is probably more suited to your tastes.

11. Especially if it's something fundamental to the dish.

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"Can I have chicken instead of pork?" No. No, you cannot.

12. You shouldn't order anything well done.

Not only does it destroy the flavour of the meat, the chef will probably use his oldest viable cut of meat, since you won't be able to tell the difference anyway.This is particularly true if your definition of "well done" is "burnt to fuck and back'.
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Not only does it destroy the flavour of the meat, the chef will probably use his oldest viable cut of meat, since you won't be able to tell the difference anyway.

This is particularly true if your definition of "well done" is "burnt to fuck and back'.

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13. If you ask for sauce on the side, you shouldn't be allowed nice things.

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Live a little.

14. Listening to non-chefs talk about food and offer their thoughts will very rarely be enjoyable for a chef.

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Everyone cooks a bit, so everyone thinks they should be offering their thoughts.

15. The answer is "more salt". It's always more salt.

It's why restaurant food consistently tastes different to home-cooked food.
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It's why restaurant food consistently tastes different to home-cooked food.

16. At some point in their career, every professional chef has had an extended period of time where they've worked hours that break every actual and natural law.

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It's usually due to staffing issues, but suddenly they find themselves at work every day, pulling doubles, for 20, 30, 40 days, and sometimes more. It's almost a rite of passage.

There's a very good chance that they've been more exhausted than you have ever been.