Speak Up

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


At Ko, Mr. Peter Serpico in the background

Has your chef ever come home uttering the words of a kitchen? Your face tilts to the side and you squint your eyes as your face says "huh?" and he says something about a low-boy. Low-boy, what's that? Sounds like some kind of adolescent boy hired to run around the kitchen sweeping up purple Peruvian potato skins. But really it's a little fridge kept beLOW the counter height to store sauces and other things needed to easy access during service. (right, Erik?)

I'm beginning to pick up and even apply the kitchen lingo to real life, now. At Momofuku Ko I totally spotted the salamander right away. No, not a slimy amphibian from a pond, but a its kinda like a heat lamp - except it is used to cook food, not just heat it. . It applies heat food from above. (again- right, Erik?) Chang is rocking a gas salamander which is apparently better than the electric version.

Plus you can't forget the phrases they use during the dinner service rush. "in the weeds", "86'd" and "going down".

Recognize any of theses kitchen terms? If you can't then consider yourself lucky-maybe you chef talks about other things, things from real life, when he comes home.
  • Ninth Pan or nine pan
  • flat top
  • robot coupe
  • vita prep
  • walk in
  • tasting spoon
  • santoku
  • bain marie
  • mise en place
  • quenelle
There are definitely differences in kitchenspeak between different schools of cookery. Since Erik has mainly worked for the JG corp during his cheffing career that's the main one that he (and I) know.



Anonymous said...

Super floor clean is my fav...keep wondering when he's gonna do that at home. =)

Anonymous said...

Sous-vide--has been the de rigeur cooking technique in all the food demos at events.
Umami--keeps popping up in food conversations, refers to a quality of tastiness.
Braun--a handheld blender.
Microplane--a kind of grater.
What's santoku? I've never seen that term before.


Hilary Battes said...

santoku is a kind of Japanese knife. Oh yeah, sous vide-the water bath. Now, braun I've never heard Erik say.

Anonymous said...

I was so impressed with the Robocoupe that I used it as a murder weapon in Simmer Down! The Salamander is another favorite of mine...Bill i always saying things like, "He threw me under the bus." Is this bus throwing business a chef thing?

Katrina said...

I visit my chef pretty much daily (i work at the restaurant sometimes) and I always stand in front of the salamander...then complain about how hot it is. I don't think I'll ever learn!