Paying for a failed preperation.

Joined Aug 2, 2015
Hello dear Cheftalk,

I have been browsing this forum for a time now, and finally decided to open an account to ask a question.

I am currently working as a line cook in a restaurant, today we were making mashed potatoes for the service. I usually cook the potatoes, and after they are done I weight them adding the melted butter and milk as per the recipe. Today someone else was making the mashed potatoes and I was asked to mash it all together. Instead of preparing the measured amount he just boiled a pan of butter and milk and gave it to me, without thinking I used the way I am used to and poured it all into the pot ending up with mashed potatoes almost as creamy as milk. Most of the other workers also boil a pan full, and add a small amount at a time checking for results. After seeing what happened the kitchen manager told me to put it all in the fridge over night and see if it turns out okay, and that if not I will be charged for the loss of the preparation.

My question to you dear Cheftalk's posters is, has anything similar ever happened to you? and If so were you asked to pay the cost of the materials in base value, or of the dish multiplied by the number of ruined servings?

Thank you.

Shachar ST


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
You could have added more potatoes.  This is what the chef is there for.  To fix things such as these.  Things go wrong in a restaurant, and making a cook pay for something like this is definitely illegal in the USA.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Hopefully he is just trying to drive home a point about food cost; and he won't really ask you to pay because that is just flat out wrong and as @kuan points out, illegal too boot.

Be properly humble, own up to your mistake and stress that you have learned much from the regrettable experience. Then suggest that perhaps you could turn it into potato leek soup or some such  preparation so as not to incur any loss on the bottom line.
Joined Aug 2, 2015
Thank you, you two for such a quick replay.

When I get to work today, I will surly talk to the chef about my mistake and the ways to salvage it, hoping to eliminate such problems in the future. About the payment issue, I will wait to see what becomes of it, and go from there. Its good to know its illegal in the US, although I do not live there.

Thank you for your help.

Shachar ST
Joined Jul 28, 2001
@Shachar ST  ,

I personally would not let the payment thing go. When speaking with your Chef, confront the issue of repayment the kitchen manager

spoke of. This way, if your KM is using that type of "sharp stick in the eye" treatment to correct situations or mistakes, he/she will stop.

It's really unproductive. Flip through your handbook before you talk to your Chef to make sure it's not in print somewhere.
Joined Aug 2, 2015
Thank you Panini for your advice, in the end I talked to the chef, and he said I won't be charged. In the end we just cooking more potatoes first thing the following morning and added them to the failed butch. He also promised me to talk to the kitchen manager about his threat.

Thank you again to all of you for your opinions.

Shachar ST

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