Kitchen slang is a thing.
I have a ton of new cooks in my kitchen and on the first couple of days, they all have the same questions for me. What is 86. How do you all day? Why am I a shoemaker?
There is a ton of kitchen slang. It varies hard between restaurants and regions. It relates to what is happening in the kitchen, How people are performing, and where product comes from. It’s a language, and just like any language it takes time to understand it.
So lets get into it. I’m going to miss a lot of slang here, but i’ll give it the ol’ college try.
86 is that we’re out of something. This relates to dishes, or product. This can also relate to people, events, clothing, phrasing, cut fingers, moods. It’s very much a catch-all phrase, and it’s used a lot.
Top refers to a table of guests. Top is usually accompanied by a number, six top, two top, etc.
Covers refers to how many guests are coming in or have come in. “We have 70 covers tonight”, or ” we did 125 covers”
Guests restaurants tend to stray away from the term customer. We are not selling you something, we are inviting you in and giving you an experience.
Expoditor is the guy who arranges the tickets and make sure that food comes out together and properly.
Pass is the space between the cooks and the expeditor. This is where the dishes come up, and often where the heat lamps and the ticket machine live.
Board is your ticket line. This is the thing that hangs in front of the pass that you read tickets from. This also refers to cutting boards.
fire is the hot things on the grill or in the oven. It is also what you should be making at that moment. “I have two sprouts on fire”.
Order refers to what has just came in through the printer, it also refers to what needs to be ordered from the store.
On back is what you need to get ready, but shouldn’t Fire yet. Think of it as a warning. Like hey, you have five chickens on back and you should probably get them started so they come out with all of the other stuff on this 20 top.
All day is how many things you have. This usually relates to all of the items on the board.
Shit Bucket a bin for your trash.
There are a ton more, and I’ll update this list as I think of them, but this is a great start for anyone looking to start learning restaurant language.