Joined Mar 21, 2003
as i return to school to get the degree to match my experience i have come to a crossroads, which language shall i pursue...i took french in high school and i know that classically it is the language of culinary arts (and since my desired specialty will include a large creole and cajun base) i figured french is a safe bet. here is where the dilema comes all of my experiences in and around kitchens i have learned that spanish is a more useful language to know, it will give me time with my girlfriend (who is about to take spanish as well) and spanish is spoken in more countries than french

any suggestions?comments?experiences in this?
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Learn French.

It will make learning Spanish a breeze!

..of course, I'm biased..


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Though French is the ''language of food'', Spanish is the language of the modern restaurant kitchen. It is becoming essential for a chef to, at least, somewhat understand the language and you will find that you are better off knowing as much as possible. Learn Spanish, first and formost. French is really not spoken in kitchens much anymore, except when using one of the terms that have been pounded into our brains. It is much more useful to tell your Hispanic dishwasher to clean the floor, or that a pan is hot. or to tell your cook that you need 2 orders of fish quickly in Spanish.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
You also sometimes have to add "Ponga su uniforme en la balsa, no en el piso. Su madre no esta aqui."
Joined Oct 13, 2001
I consider myself very lucky to have lived in Puerto Rico when I was 14 and 15 . We lived off base as my father was a government
man and not a soldier . If I wanted to play with the other kids in the neighborhood I had to speak there language which was spanish . This has been such a boon to me in my chosen field of work as my whole crew is hispanic and I can actualy speak to them . I would suggest spanish to anyone wishing to be a chef for a profession as this is the most common language in kitchens here in the USA . My ability to speak spanish has also given me an edge in interviews as being the boss and being able to communicate with your staff are high ranking points inseeking a new job . So I say , bueno suerte amigos ..................


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Or you can learn Spanglish, a mix of English grammar with as many Spanish words as you know. It's hard to work in a kitchen and not pick up any Spanish. Pick up a word or phrase at a time, sooner or later you'll have a working vocabulary :)

Joined Apr 17, 2003
I personally would say french. Being traditional and all.
But also since i learnt too cook in Canada, cussing in French is a good way to vent frustration, without upsetting the customers :D
Joined Sep 22, 2000
My suggestion is to learn the language that is in the kitchens in your area or the area you intend to be in. Why learn a language that you know and cannot use.

Yeah sure it nice and all that a person can speak 3 lang. but if you can't speak Spanish ( for example ) in Miami you are in for a difficult ride.

D. Lee
Joined Mar 21, 2003
thanks for all of the suggestions, based on my own research and the opinions of my peers I have decided on spanish. The fact that I have just been promoted to lead line cook (after a whopping month back in the industry) and three of our dishwasher only speak spanish and three of our prep staff are bi-lingual makes my choice a no-brainer....however I learned french in high school so maybe I will do a brush up in a year or so when i feel comfortable with spanish
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