kitchen language

Joined Dec 19, 2001
Hi. I am looking into the various uses of language in kitchen context. I am interested in finding out about all words that make each kitchen unique or that share's with others. I have worked in kitchens that for example have code words for ordering, cooking, people, etc and then there are words for various appliances. Any posts would be great or email [email protected]
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Most of the words I'm used to hearing are f_ _k, s_ _t, g_ dd_mit,
this s_ _ks. Is this blackened or burned? Etc.
Ok. Now I'll step aside and let someone give this fine newcomer a real answer.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
  • wind oven- convection oven
  • ruin me a filet- ordering a filet well done (applies to any cut of any kind of meat ordered as such).
  • getting Schanno'd- getting fired (our first fired employee's last name was Schanno).
  • swanning- when the chef goes out into the dining room to talk to our guests (stolen from Anthony Bourdain's job description of an executive chef: "swanning about the dining room in a chef's jacket taking credit for other's toil.")
  • savages- any guest that orders a dish prepared in a way we think it should not be preparered (see "ruin me a filet" above, as an example).
  • pocohantas- anybody slow in the execution of their job.
  • ordering- under our present system of timing our tickets, means the same (most of the time) as "fire". In other words start the dish and bring it to a point where it will be 4-5 minutes from being finished.
  • pick up- finish and plate a dish that has been ordered.
  • single out- called out like this; "ordering a sole and a fusilli, single out. In our place, both these dishes come off the same station. When called out like this, the person working that station knows to time these dishes so they are ready at the same time and plates them without any further calls from the expeditor.
Anything else I can think of at this point falls under the multi-asterisk category chrose has already covered. :D
Joined Nov 21, 2001
how about pearl diving - dish washing.
86 - none left of a specific item, such as 86 the fish off the specials.
drop - as in drop the fries into the fryolater.
i also know a lot of those other words mentioned in the other post, but in about 4 different languages.
Joined Mar 12, 2001
I love kitchen language, I'll try to think of a few of the ones that i've used recently.
Robo- refers to any food processor, from the brand name of the best, Robot Coupe
Blitz- to puree with a processor or blender
Rolf Harris- to cook and plate more than one order at the same time. Comes from a song that Rolf Harris sang with the line, 'All together now...'
Very late, brain not working, I'll think of more later.
Joined May 26, 2001
Where I've been, "order -- fire -- pick up" are three distinct steps. Order is a warning to the cooks to start getting ready whatever they will need for the dish (pull the piece of beef out; slice and dress the hearts of palm and put aside). Fire means start cooking; this one relies on coordination among the cooks, to let each other know how long each item will take so that they all come off at the same time. Pick up means same as for Greg: get everything on the plate and up in the window at the same time.

There can be some confusion, though, since PICK UP is also yelled at the runners to get their a**** into the kitchen and take the food out while it's still hot. I just worked with another cook who kept going crazy because he thought it was aimed at him, and so he was frantically cooking things off way before time.
Joined Dec 8, 1999
Suzanne, you've obviously been in all the right places! Order, fire and pick-up should be three distinct steps. Unfortunately, the foh mgr. we had when we first opened wanted the servers to time the tickets, not the kitchen. Meaning, they don't send their orders until they think we should fire them. :eek: Both the chef and myself tried to convince her our way was better, but she wouldn't budge. Now that she's been schanno'd (see my list above), we're going to do things the way you describe.
Joined Mar 9, 2000
ordering a steak 'bleu' was so rare it was cool in the middle or 'Pittsburgh' meant charred on the outside and blood rare in the middle.

'86'- out of something

mis en place- 'everything in its place', your prep work.

drop the fries or fritters,ect...- drop baskets or items into fryer

'Up DAWSON'S Creek'- the restaurant was DAWSON'S, and we were buried in orders, or pick up was not going smoothly,ect...

order, fire, pick-up (self explanitory)
Joined May 26, 2001
ChefJP: your "Pittsburgh" is my "black and blue." Your "up Dawson's creek" is my "in the weeds," which I suspect everyone here knows all too well.

And then there's diner lingo: "whiskey down" for rye toast; "red shoes walking" for fries with ketchup to go ... Wish I knew more.

One thing I really love is that with so many Spanish speakers working in the kitchen, a lot of items end up being called by their Spanish names by everyone. For example, we always called for "camotes para uno" rather than "sweet potato fries for one."

BTW, does anyone remember that Barbara Feldon's character on "Get Smart" was Agent 86? Ever think about that???
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Don Adams, was Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. Barbara Feldon was Agent 99. A good trivia question-what was Agent 99s' name in the series? I'm not telling!

"Hazelwood"-dumping an oily or greasy mess on the floor.
"Jonestown"-a REALLY quiet night.....
Joined May 26, 2001
Peachcreek, you're right! Ooops.

OMG-- Jonestown. OOOOOOOH:eek: Hope your place doesn't serve Koolaid!
Joined Feb 21, 2001
This is probably pretty specific to where I work..

Danishing...the act of wandering through the dining room just before lunch, polishing off the desired tidbits in each bread basket.

others I've heard

a hockey puck..for a well done burger
on the fly....means do it fast
brakes on the mayonaise
a hamburger honeymooning....lettuce alone

The words "order" and "pick up" were the only two things I would allow waiters to say in the kitchen. They would say order and put the dupe on the spindle. We would do whatever was needed to get the dish almost ready. and when they said pickup, we'd finish it and plate it. I don't know what I would do if I worked in a kitchen with a mindless little printer spewing tickets at me.

this has something to do with being Schanno'd. Every time someone quit or got fired I would take the last thing they prepped and freeze some of it. then later we'd take it out and say '"remember this jerk." I once had a lunch cook who took dinner items, changed them all around, and ran them as lunch specials with the same name. I told him that was kind of showing up the rest of us. Nice dish, but call it something else. When he quit I gave him a package of hot dogs and said "Russell, I've worked with a lot of hot dogs, but you pally, are Oscar Meyer." It took him a minute to figure out the insult.
Joined Oct 17, 2000
Nuke-it: throw it in the microwave
Flash-it: throw it under the salamander
Drop-it: throw it in the deep fryer
With wings: to go
on the rush, on the fly, stat, a-sap: as soon as possible


Joined Nov 24, 2000
I think Chrose pretty much had it nailed down.
We are a little sarcastic about things where I work, for example if i'm in the middle of a dinner run and someone hangs a dupe for a grilled cheese
I'll just yell "Put your wallet away, I'ts on me!"
Everyone knows that I mean grilled cheese.I don't know how that happened but it works.Sometimes I'll
yell "Honey lets shoot the bonus!" for a porterhouse.But hey that's just us.


Founder of
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
What about "In the weeds" when someone is behind.

And one that relates to that is "Give'em a weed wacker" for some one who is in the weeds.

Also I didn't see up there "Shoemaker" for someone who can't cook. Or also "he's wearing a leather apron today" which is another reference toa shoemaker.

Suburbies for us were always the people from the suberbs who came into the city for a fancy meal and ordered their vennison, duck, or salmon well done.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
don't forget "Bambi"-refering to venison
"Thumper"-refering to rabbit
"Player"-for someone who just ordered a really expensive bottle of wine
"amateur night"-Friday and Saturday nights when all the suburabanites come out to dine
"Blue hair night"-Sunday night when most of the older generation seems to come dining
"Place"-short for mise en place or all of your prep
"Crispy, burnt, ruined,etc."-all for well done
"make it shoe leather or a shoe heal"-also refering to well done
"meet you on the other side"-when the kitchen gets hit hard and it's time to put your head down and cook, no extra talking.
"jacking the kitchen"-when a waiter holds orders and rings them all in at once instead of spacing them out
"24 hour flu"-what someone has when you know that they went out the night before and call in sick
"fire a monkey"-our slang for fire a monkfish
"who's buying the beers?"-short for it's been a crazy night and I am going to go drink myself into oblivion so who's coming?
Joined Dec 19, 2001
I think of the word stovepipe for the tall hats..nothin but a nuisance when you are working...geraitrics was the key for busses--they where basically a soup and sandwich older crowd...
Joined Nov 20, 2000
Now I don't want any comments about racism or anything it wasn't my comment however I had a french chef who would throw you out of the kitchen if you wore "PFC's".
Puerto Rican fence climbers (sneakers)
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