Battle Scars of the kitchen

Joined Feb 1, 2008
My worst was when a convection steamer went cahhhput on manual setting... it pretty much sprayed out steam when I opened the door on the top of my hand/wrist. instant blister the size of a small cell phone in that area.. It took about 2 weeks to heal over... Getting burnt with a sheet pan in the back of the head wasnt fun... waking around with a red line on the back on my head for a week, hehe
Joined Apr 17, 2006
This is how you know you should probably get out of this business: A few weeks ago I had an order for colossal shrimp and we didn't have any thawed. I was running water over and trying to hack some open as once they're butterflied, they cook fast. I'm hacking away with a santoku knife, saying to myself that if I keep this up I'm going to whack my finger, and then I did. To the bone. No adhesive tape for a butterfly stitch and I'm the only cook on, so put band aids on as tight as I can and a glove. Once the bleeding stops, glue it shut with crazy glue. Someone asked me later if I needed stitches. I said I probably did, but the only point in that is to stop the bleeding which the glue took care of, so I guess I don't need stitches any more. One of the guys said this was the first job he worked where you didn't get to leave because you were bleeding. I asked what kind of wimpy job they let you go home for just because you're bleeding, and he said construction. They'd get to go to the E-room and then home. What a bunch of wimps! They get paid about 3X what we do too. We're in the wrong business!
Joined Jul 2, 2009
Oh I have a few.

I love how missing fingertips grow back in place. Covered a rag in blood last Sunday after cutting the tip of my left index off.

A few years back, I was working at a pizza place. Tired, after a long shift I was cleaning the dough sheeter with steel wool, and a strand got caught in the gears. Tired, obviously not thinking, I wraped in around one of my fingers and whacked the strand with tongs.

Just a few to mention.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
I've got a perfect 2" triangle (from trying to salt a foccaccia while still in the oven) Its 2 years old n only just fading. Just beside it a 2" slash burn, I now have a tan, which makes it stand out.

Got an impressive scar on my left instep. Went to pick tomatoes from the kitchen greenhouse years ago. It had blown down in the high winds the night before. Stepped on a shard of glass. Didnt even feel it. First i knew, someone was moaning about my bloody footprints across the kitchen
old school chef thought he'd like to try stitching it himself. luckily i hitched a lift to A&E
Joined Sep 8, 2003
It's been awhile since I really got cut, but my son has a nasty burn up the back of his calf where his chef shut the even door on his leg. I can't quite figure out how his leg got in there, and I'm not even going to try.:lol:
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I had to laugh out loud at this one and I have to say it's true in a lot of cases!!
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I've cut myself a few times but the one that stands out is when I had a filter basket of coffee fall onto my hand mid-brew. That was bad! At first I didn't realize what I had done and I started to clean up the mess when my manager told me to get that under water and then did it ever blister up. It took a good couple of weeks to heal and I did have a scar there for a while but it's long gone now.
Joined Sep 26, 2009
  • asked to borrow a pairing knife, took it out of fellow chefs hand, they didn't let go-stitches
  • slicing an onion when 18, sliced up one side and then down the other, caught membrane on onion-stitches
  • slicing standing prime rib, customer wants it wafer thin, did my best-stitches
  • lighting gas BBQ, threw flame on top of grill nothing happened, bent down to have a look, boom- burn cream on face
  • picked-up hot pan with wet towel-burn cream
  • deep fried calamari for the first time- burn cream
All when I was young and learning the trade!:rolleyes:
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I should have known better but I have a stupidity related burn. Last Wednesday was Remembrance Day and well we forgot or didn't consider it when we did the schedule (and the KM and I did it together..ack!) so needless to say we were slammed and had to have the owner come help us.

In the thick of the stuff I was making multiple tuna melts and I had slopped a bit onto the grill (which is set at 375F) so some stupid part of me thought it was fine to pick the tuna up with my bare hand and put it back. Well what resulted was a small burn but it was bad enough that I couldn't handle being in the kitchen without my fingers on ice (I did the ring and pinky fingers) so I spent the rest of the rush with my fingers in and out of ice slush and when things slowed down i spent the rest of my shift with my fingers on ice telling people what to do!
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Don't have a permanent scar so I didn't post this earlier, but with the mentionof burn cream.....

It took me a couple of times to learn this, but I have grabbed the handle of a saute pan I had recently pulled from the oven.
Busy night, pans going in, out, shuffling around, forget I had just finished that dish in the oven, then YEOWCH!
Nice red, handle-shaped burn mark on the palm of the hand, finger tips red and tender.
Funnier seeing the hole in the handle print, a little circle of unburned flesh.

As I said, took me a couple of times before I started placing these pans with the handles facing away to remove the temptation.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
I've done the hot pot off the stove into the ultilty sink forgetting the **** thing is hot and touching the handles thing before... definitely an OW moment!
Joined Apr 3, 2008
grabbed a towel one day, it caught the tip of my straight edge carving knife. It spun around on the cutting board and stabbed me in the side with the point(3 stitches). I then reflexively reach down with my left hand to remove the stabby intruder of my side and cut my left ring finger wide open cause it had spun edge up (13 stitches), at that point I cooly and calmly remove the knife from my side by reaching across with my right hand and pulling it out by the handle. Oof Dah! What a morning. Spent the rest of the day at the clinic bleeding and waiting to get stitched up. was at work the next day with a glove on, someones gotta open.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
Once I was cutting the netting off of a roast when the handle broke on the cheap *** scissors I was using(house equipment). The tip of one of the blades impaled my hand between two of the bones. In and out, I didn't feel it until the ER doc was pulling it out. The rest are from filleting accidents and peeler/mandolin mishaps on the left side and splatter burns on the right.

I once worked with a guy who had the worst kitchen scar I've ever seen. There was a dent in his forearm about 3" in diameter and almost to the bone in the center from some jerk horsing around with a wet towel around a deep fryer. He told me that he was in the hospital for almost a week with that one.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
I jammed my ring finger right hand second swelled.....I taped it and kept working with it, went to dr. besides not using it there was little they could do. I let it rest when I could then after about 6 mos had an MRI to see if it showed anything....nope, just beginnings of arthiritist.....there's nothing like the fear that your dominate hand is out of commission (potentially forever).
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Working a brunch, cold table lids were open under the pass as usual.
Put a plate up in a crowded window and then I thought I saw it tottering backwards, so I shot my hand forward to catch it only to jam the cold table lid between my ring and middle fingers, splitting the web wide open.
Furiously super glued it until i got a good seal, then finished service.
Took forever to heal as I had sealed it wide open.
Looked ghastly.
Joined Nov 20, 2009
This is sort of on topic.

The first chef I ever worked for also did land clearing on the side (tree removal, etc). So in addition to working for him in the kitchen I helped him clear trees. I fed trees into a chipper in the morning, then worked the line at night.

Approaching a tree job one morning, my chef/boss points to a tree to take down. I follow him and he says that he's going to clear the brush out from under the tree first. He fires up his chainsaw, swings it to the left, then to the right - and right into my kneecap. He said he thought he hit a tree stump - it was me.

He looks at me wide-eyed. I look down at the 8"-10" hole in my jeans. There is blood on his face, my face, the trees ...everywhere.

We decide to go to the hospital.

The strange thing is, I felt no pain at all, not even a little. I saw bone, ground meat and a lot of blood. Maybe I was in shock - I don't know. He offers to stitch me up himself with his Army issue medical kit sice I have no health insurance. He calls his wife (that works at the local hospital) - I can hear the wife scream through the phone from about 10 feet away. The chef/boss says "my wife thinks we should go to the hospital". I don't remember how many stitches I had.

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to go to work that night. I lasted until about 9:00 and then the most excruciating soreness and pain set in. I had no pain killers. It was bad.

Every chef needs a good war story. When I'm in my rocking chair, telling my grandkids several "back in my day" stories, I'm sure this one will come up.

All my good scars happen outside of the kitchen. Oh well, maybe one day.
Joined Oct 11, 2009
After more than 30yrs, and more injuries then I can count. The worst one I `ve seen ( besides the arm cought in the 40 qt. hobart mixer) happend to a soux chef of mine.
While emptying a double stacked convection oven of baraised pork ribs, and could not find a place on the table to set them down because of clutter, my dark skined chef tried to put them back in the oven, when the hot grease spilled onto his arm. Other employees came to tell me that "kevin is burned really bad". When I finally caught up with him, he was putting on a new, clean cooks shirt and heading back to his station.....90% of his arm was now whiter than mine!
After more than 15 days in the burn ward he returned to work, but was still ready and willing to finish his shift that day......NOW THATS ONE TOUGH INDIVIDUAL!!!
Joined Oct 28, 2008
worst burn to date: at the very beginning of my career I naively believed that you had to endure pain to the enth degree and had to be uber respectful of those above you and their space. So once day I take a sheet pan out of the oven, do the whole "behind!" thing. Unfortunately the exec sous was too large to make himself smaller and I need to get past him. So I pressed the sheet pan against my arm and squeezed past. Later in the shift the sous looks and my arm and says "jesus did you burn yourself?!" I didn't think it was that bad. it didn't feel that bad, but it had bubbled up like a mofo and the scar is still there. The doctor said it would have faded within a few months.
Joined Sep 29, 2009
When burns don't hurt, it's time to get worried. That means nerve damage, AKA, you cooked yourself a little.
Joined Nov 23, 2009
I have so many I can't even count. Over 25 plus years tend to take it toll. I agree that most injuries are done because of carelessness or just to hurried. My biggest is the scar in the middle of my right hand due to put a ticket spindle through it and the tip of my right thumb is missing due to a run in with a faulty slicer.

I would like to address the 14 plus hour situtation. It sounds like someone is a bit out of touch. Unfortunately in this day and age, too many upper management are too scared to stand up to employees and discipline so those who actually do show up to work wind up working over.
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