We had a right-on flashback to our days working in the kitchen courtesy of Eater LA editor Lesley Balla. Balla just did a piece for the james Beard Foundation on the hazing of restaurant cooks. Although we can never claim we were shoved into a trash can and covered in pigs blood and flour like aspiring NYC chef Tony Liu was, we still had our share of pranks and shenanigans played on us.
Occasionally, the jokes get out of hand. Years ago, John Howie’s crew at Simon’s Piano Bar in Seattle kept stealing each other’s clothes to put in the freezer. “My staff was more concerned with protecting themselves than cooking. That’s when it had to end.”
In his first restaurant job, Casey Miles, now market partner chef for Joey’s in Seattle, was sent across the street for a “cup of fellatio.” The other chef sent him back with a cup of vanilla cream. He was the butt of jokes for weeks.
The good news? Liu survived his hazing to become the executive chef of well-regarded NYC restaurant August.
If You Can’t Take the Heat [James Beard Foundation]
[Image via James Beard Foundation]