If you’ve ever read Anthony Bourdain’s, Kitchen Confidential or Bill Buford’s, Heat, you know that a professional kitchen can be a steamy place ruled by men with knives facing a mountain of orders to cook; people with very little time or space for the conventional niceties commonly found in more egalitarian professions.
As George Orwell described in Down and Out in London in Paris which was published in 1933:
“The kitchen was like nothing I had ever seen or imagined–a stifling, low-ceilinged inferno of a cellar, red-lit from the fires, and deafening with oaths and the clanging of pots and pans. It was so hot that all the metal-work except the stoves had to be covered with cloth. In the middle were furnaces, where twelve cooks skipped to and fro, their faces dripping sweat in spite of their white caps. Round that were counters where a mob of waiters and plongeurs (dishwashers) clamoured with trays. Scullions, naked to the waist, were stoking the fires and scouring huge copper saucepans with sand. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry and a rage…
The time between eight and half past ten was a sort of delirium. Sometimes we were going as though we had only five minutes to live; sometimes there were sudden lulls when the orders stopped and everything seemed quiet for a moment. Then we swept up the litter from the floor, threw down fresh sawdust, and swallowed gallipots of wine or coffee or water–anything, so long as it was wet.”
Apparently, not much has changed.
Here’s three videos featuring famous chefs blowing off steam…
Mario Batali Vs. Marco Pierre White: The Risotto Incident
Gordon Ramsay Vs. Chef Michel Bardavid
Anthony Bourdain Vs. The Food Network
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