"For the love of all that is holy, has to be lasagna. I mean, it's great, I get it, spaghetti cake. But when you have to make enough lasagna to feed 1200 people every 2 weeks you will hate it. Plus it takes forever to cook.
Also was a baker for 8 years and I hate cookies. 1600 2oz balls of cookie dough, measured and rolled and put onto sheet pans and then patiently cooked by hand. I also hated how that slimy cookie spit would slowly dribble down the scooper, because you're dipping it in water so the dough doesn't stick. 400 in and your hand's covered in brown sugar eggy smegma. Screw that, so glad I got out."
"When I was a cook, I used to hate making quesadillas. We made them in skillets and I only had six burners to cook everything in my part of the kitchen with. When groups would come in and order four quesadillas and some other dishes, I would get yelled at because I took longer than the 15-minute window we were given. It drove me mad sometimes. Yes, they are easy to make. They just take up too much space and cause a backup of tickets, especially when they come in bunches. When there is a rush, we would have long ticket times because we simply ran out of room. We'd have to cook the orders as they come in and if everyone in your party wants the same thing, chances are the people behind you are gonna suffer."
"The Bloomin' Onion.
I don't know if they have a different way of doing it now, but when I did it (not at Outback), you'd end up having to deep fry your fingers because they were covered in egg-wash and batter just like the onion. You'd have to slowly lower it AND your fingers into the fryer. Then, you had to 'babysit' that sucker and flip it over at the right time to avoid burning it. All the while, you need to fry a crap-ton of other fried goodies, but no, you're too busy baby sitting that onion. After it's done, you'd have to really scrub your deep fried gooey fingers.
Just at that point, everyone in the seating area is smelling and seeing that bloomin' onion and decide to order one for themselves and the torture continues.
That experience was, like, 25 years ago. I have yet to order one as a customer just because I know all the crap that goes into making one."
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"I've worked a lot of stations, but breakfast is the worst, even at nice restaurants. I imagine Dennys/Ihop is much more soul-crushing, but I haven't had the pleasure myself. The first few months are awesome, you're learning everything, your egg cookery rapidly progresses from good to insanely good. You crack eggs with incredible speed and accuracy, and you get to see the sun go down (unless the PM crew freaking blows it, and then you're stuck working a 16-hour shift). Unfortunately, after the first year or so, you never want to see an egg again and no one will switch shifts with you because you're the only one who knows how to run brunch and no one else is stupid enough to volunteer to wake up at 5:00 am on a Saturday/Sunday morning. Eventually, your life grinds into one long string of brunches and you dream of eggs over easy and over hard, and broken yolks and broken dreams, and the screams from all the little unfertilized chicken babies you killed and served with their mothers on those delicious fried chicken and waffle plates.
Eggs get to you. I still hate breakfast. Don't even like the smell. Can't enjoy it. I've gone out for a couple of brunches since I stopped working brunch, and I just get too wound up and anxious. I feel like I should be working, not sitting on my butt.
Screw it though, right? At least one day it'll be a breeze to make breakfast for my kids."
"As a teenager, I used to work at this family run Old World style restaurant/diner, and I HATED Liver. And. Freaking. Onions.
For those of you who don't know, beef livers are huge, like 3-4 ft long by 12-14 inches wide and 5-7 inches tall. They get sliced into less than 1/4 in slices and are stored in containers with their own blood.
Cooking the order involves ladling about half a cup of oil onto the flat top and dumping some onions nearby. Then you stick your hand into the blood and beef filled container, pull out a slice (or two or three depending on size), dredge them in flour and throw them on the flat top in the oil. Bloody, floured hands are gross.
We also cooked them to temperature. A rare liver order is really just throwing it down, look at it a second, flip it, look at it a second more and plate it.
While I was there, a large portion of our clientele was older and loved this stuff. It was not uncommon to get a ticket with 4-8 orders of what looked like a female cow uterine blood clot before cooking. And heaven help me if I ever have to smell that crap frying away again."
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"Has to be cheese boards. Nothing is more annoying than having to get a cheeseboard out in the middle of a busy service. If you work in a cocktail bar and that's really all you do, I'd imagine it's tolerable. But if you have 20-25 items on your menu, and your charcuterie board has 8-10 cheeses and 6-10 meats, it takes too much valuable time to prepare each board. Times that by 20/30 boards a night, plus preparing other meals, and timing the food perfectly during dinner rush is a mess. It takes so long because of the presentation aspect. Plating is super important, but for most entrees, you have a meat and a side. For a board, you could be compiling 10-12 different kinds of cheese, meats, fruits, sauces, etc. and then you have to arrange them in a way that's aesthetically pleasing, as opposed to just taking a steak off the grill and plating it."
"Anything off the kid's menu.
I have worked in numerous high-end places (it can total over $50 per plate) and we would curse under our breath every time an order for chicken fingers came in.
It is literally bought frozen like any other establishment would, but we charge you double. We even serve it with generic ketchup we keep just for that purpose because your freaking kids will likely turn their nose to our house made stuff."
"I used to work at a country club and every year we would do a seafood buffet and it was a huge event. I'm talking all day golf tournament and multiple meals, 12 hour shifts were the minimum.
Now, the restaurant at the club was a loss leader and was only there to throw ridiculous amounts of food at the members so we always massively over prepped. The last thing we needed was to run out of something and have some entitled jerk complaining about how he pays X amount of dollars a month and only got 12 slices of pie.
After the seafood buffet, we would have pounds and pounds of fresh crab leftover and everyone in the kitchen would have to stay late and crack crab so we could then make crab cakes. Going on 12 hours, dish pit is full, servers have already left with usually over a grand in cash, and we have to all gather around 3+ Lexans of crab and de-shell them.
We'd all huddle around the prep table, smelling of 12 hours of work mixed with fish in July, and no one said a word. We all just cracked crab until it was done. Then came the fun part. Each crab cake had to be weighed out and then packed in a 1/4 cup measuring cup to ensure they were all the same size and dimensions.
Now I know that doesn't sound too bad, except that some sick SOB stole most our measuring cups and there was only one 1/4 cup left in the house. No room in the budget for more though (probably because we spent it all on freaking crab).
This means that there are 4-5 guys weighing crab cakes on the scales and one poor bastard getting buried.
This really pissed off some of the 'old-timers,' guys who had worked at the club forever and no longer cared about the job. They would get so pissed that it was inevitable that whoever was packing cakes would get into a fight. Not a verbal argument, but a straight up physical altercation.
One year, the packer was an intern. Poor kid couldn't have had hair on his nuts for more than a few years and he was falling behind fast. It's now past 11 pm, our shifts started at the latest 9 am, and there is no light at the end of our tunnel. We had been cracking for over 3 hours and had just got the last batch of crab cake mix out.
Our sous chef, who was a real jerk, was riding this intern like crazy and the kid broke, like he absolutely snapped. He takes the three sheet pans of packed cakes and dumps them back into the bowl then just starts punching the crab cakes. He was seriously whooping the living crap out of these cakes and in the process, negating at least an hours worth of work. Then, he turns to the sous chef, tells him to suck his balls, and storms off.
We're pissed, we have to start over, and now stay even later into the night. We didn't think it could get any worse until we hear this huge crash in the walk-in. No no no NO! We're thinking a shelf collapsed, or maybe some idiot screwed the cap onto a jar of sourdough starter and it exploded.
We all stop and go around the corner to see the intern sprinting out the door, so w open the door to the walk-in and there on the floor is the rolling rack that was FULL of the rest of the crab cakes that he had been packing for the last 3 hours. My heart sank. I didn't know what to do, I just stared at the open walk-in and tried to keep myself from losing it.
Sous chef is pissed and storms off. 2 minutes later he comes back with a broom and dust pan and begins cleaning up the walk-in. The rest of us go back to packing. An hour later we say screw it and throw the rest of the mix away.
The next morning our chef asks why there is only half a rack of crab cakes and we say that the intern lost it and tipped over the cough 3 cough racks of crab cakes and left. We had no choice but to throw them all away. Chef was pissed, not at us, but at the intern. He calls up the intern's school and tells them the 'whole' story.
I don't know what exactly happened to the intern, but I heard he was kicked out of school. I don't feel bad about that though, he never would have made it in the industry anyway. We probably did that kid a favor.
2 weeks later I did myself a favor and quit kitchens for good. Now I'm a programmer and work 9-5 M-F sitting down at a desk. No more cuts, no more burns, no more coming home smelling like old fish and onions.
Nothing about my life as a chef remains. Nothing except for a Shun, a tackle box full of dried out Sharpies & empty lighter, and the occasional nightmare about crab cakes.
Seriously, screw crab cakes.
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"I was the sous at a high end hotel. I once had to do 850 tuxedo strawberries. Each one had to have a bow tie and three buttons. The process is a pain in the butt. You first have to dip them in white chocolate, then let the them dry. Then you roll them in dark chocolate, while making sure to leave enough white chocolate to resemble the under shirt. Once both layers are dry, you pipe on the bow tie and buttons. It took me all freaking day..."
"Fried Tilapia. Seriously, screw that thing. It was a WHOLE fried fish. I would have to run into the back and grab one, rinse it, and score it (all in the middle of a rush). Then batter it as its nasty blood got everyone on my station. Throw it in the fryer and sit there to make sure it didn't get over cooked. After that was done we would stab it on a ticket stabber to make it stand up and look like it was 'swimming,' but it always fell over like a fish out of water, cause guess what? IT WAS. Our chef fought the owner on it multiple times trying to get rid of it but the owner was a raging moron and insisted. We had it refused often due to purely the look. One guy came back into the kitchen and cussed me out over it."
"Freaking poached eggs. Let me tell you a story. It's Sunday, I'd gone HARD the night before, so did everyone else on my crew. We're all running on four hours of sleep on the sixth day of our shift because Monday was the day the restaurant was closed. Last month, the owner decided BRUNCH WAS A GOOD IDEA so that fat jerk and his friends could come in and drink mimosas all day. I'd put on two pots of water and added just the right amount of vinegar to them, keeping one just warm and the other in front of it just under boiling. I knew two pots wasn't enough for service, but I didn't have space for any more. It was like seeing that your car doesn't have any brakes, but driving towards a cliff anyway because what can you do? It's service time! An order came up: three eggs benedict, four frittatas, two lobster grits, one fruit platter, and ten muesli. The day began and the water in pot one had started getting cloudy from the first six eggs dropped for the benedicts. Two hours passed, pot one was only half full and looked like milk with bits in it. I could smell the vinegar in it searing on the sides of the pot. That one's down, so I ran it to the dishwasher and put a rush on it, but I knew the dishwasher was already backed up, so there was just one pot left. Three more hours passed, the poached egg orders kept coming and the water got worse, so I started adding in extra eggs to compensate for the ones I broke trying to get them out. It was only 11:30 when another order came in: eight eggs benedict, SOS four, hard poach two. That's the moment. THAT'S THE FREAKING MOMENT THE WATER GOES TO CRAP. The mass of egg whites on the bottom and the opacity of the water made putting in 16 eggs impossible, let alone the 18-20 I'd need to actually get the order done. The first pot didn't even have water in it. My head was still freaking throbbing and why did I even have to deal with this crap on a SUNDAY? HOLY CRAP, WE STILL HAD DINNER SERVICE! JUST KILL ME, JUST SLIT MY THROAT NOW, I CAN'T TAKE IT! This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I hate making poached eggs."
"Fried chicken livers!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to complain about working a fryer; it's fast paced and makes the day go by quickly when you are busy.
But chicken livers are the worst. All my grease burns I have are from making livers, that's number one. They pop in the oil, sending hot oil flying at you, sometimes right when you are right next to the fryer trying to prep some other meat to go down in another basket. Essentially trapped, you wait for the popping sound so you can duck and take cover in time. Reason number two, because they pop, at my work we layer an empty basket over the livers to try and hinder the oil splatter and popping. But during a rush that wants a bunch of fried food, and you only have six baskets total, and let's say three people want a liver platter- that's all your baskets. So your ticket times begin to drag.
Honestly, I enjoy cooking and it's hard to complain about much, considering it's my job, but the chicken livers are definitely one thing I would never miss having to cook if they removed them from the menu."
"Well-done steaks. Please, if you are going to make me ruin a nice cut of meat, don't complain about it. You asked for it to be cremated. Just order chicken! Or even eat a car tire, that's probably got better texture to it than a well-done steak. Also, don't complain when the food isn't ready in five minutes because you wanted the steak well-done. I worked at a steakhouse while going through college, and I used to tell my waitresses to advise the customer to order their steak medium and eat it last if they wanted it well-done. We used metal inserts on the plates that were kept hot on the flat top. I'd then send the steak out on the plate with an insert and a cover. If they waited to eat the steak last, the residual heat from the insert, trapped by the cover, would bring the steak to a well-done interior while preserving the juiciness of it.
But then some customers don't trust you and they get shoe leather."
"Pastry chef here. Canèles Bordeaux is the worst. Man, I hated making those little finicky things. Heat the molds, heat the bees butter (mixture of beeswax and butter), heat that, pour out said bees butter while sweating and scalding and burning your fingertips off. Pour the base into the molds, try not to spill them over, bake, rotate. Drop the temperature, tap them out of the molds, more burning and scalding. If you were lucky, you got most to come out perfectly brown and caramelized. Private dinner parties would sometimes order five or even ten rounds of these. Screw them."
"Hard cream cheese on a fresh cinnamon sugar bagel! I work at Brueggers Bagels and that is the one single thing that I hate making. In case you don't know how New York style bagels are made, you have to boil (kettle) them before you put them in the oven so that they get that nice outer shell. Cinnamon sugar bagels, however, don't get kettled because for some reason cinnamon sugar bagels taste better soft. This means they are difficult to prepare straight out of the oven, though. First, you have to try to slice an extremely squishy, sticky, hot bagel by hand. Then, if the customer wants anything besides a whipped cream cheese, you have to try to evenly spread it onto the bagel without completely flattening it all, while the cream cheese instantly melts upon contact with the bagel. So, if you ever order cream cheese on a hot cinnamon sugar bagel at Brueggers, don't be surprised when it's mangled and hideous."
"I wouldn't really call it a dish, but it is a food item that annoys me more than anything to make: BBQ Prime Rib Sandwich.
It's bread, cheddar, prime rib dipped in Aus Jus, bbq, tomatoes, and it used to have mayo until my boss decided it was too complicated to change a sign that didn't say it had it on there, so now we don't add it.
There's nothing inherently wrong with it, it's a simple sandwich and by all accounts it tastes good. But to dip the Prime rib without making a mess adds precious time to a sandwich that has to be out in less than 3 1/2 minutes, and when it comes up as the 8th sandwich in 2 minutes you're almost certain to get chewed out.
Then, whenever I go on break and someone orders it, I come back to a station that is completely stained in that nasty Aus Jus because people don't know how to use a pair of tongs and a pan at the same time."
"I used to work for a restaurant that did catering, and although I was a delivery driver, my boss sometimes asked me for help making the orders in the restaurant (usually when there was a shortage of workers due to people being lazy.) We mainly sold subs and one of the items was a party platter, with like 20 tiny little subs on it. It took at least half an hour to make it, and it was very tedious because we had to make like 5 different kinds of subs, split them up, and make it all look pretty. I didn't hate people for ordering it because usually the people that did tipped very well.
What annoyed me slightly more was when I'd make the order myself and drive it out to big fancy buildings with glass doors and deliver it to some corporate meeting with all these people in business suits, and they didn't tip at all. Since I was technically a delivery driver (in-shop workers got paid minimum wage because they got tipped less), I was working on $5 an hour. Having to do the in-shop work AND the driving, make something complicated, and then get no tip for it from people that could obviously afford it? That was irritating."
"I worked the overnight shift in a bakery. To this day, I don't even like to eat donut holes, let alone make them. We had this giant stainless-steel gadget that I was supposed to fill, then crank so it dispensed small bits of batter into the deep fryer. It was messy, time-consuming, and really a two-person job if only for purposes of basic kitchen safety. Also, they never really trained me on how to use that thing."
"We have a seafood tower at work and it is the biggest pain in the butt. It has two bowls that go on a stand full of shaved ice. Then, depending on how many it's for, there's 2-4 shucked oysters, 2-4 boiled shrimp, chilled lobster tails, and two king crab legs, plus cocktail sauce and lemons. Without fail, we will get slammed and at least half the crap isn't prepped. Or we have to shave ice at least three times a night. It's little stuff, but when you have 30 tickets up and you're waiting on shrimp or ice for 10 towers, it's a pain. Plus, these things take up my entire tiny window, so I'm constantly calling for servers to run this crap so I can put plates up. Of course, I get ignored so then I have to try to find room to make the rest of my stuff as all this seafood is dying in the window."
"I worked at a big, two week-long fair in the summer. We served 'gourmet' grilled cheese sandwiches and I was the grill guy. There was one sandwich called the Sicilian and it was the hardest thing to make. It was a nice sandwich and all, and it was fine to make for a while, but at that point, we were using steak weights to press it on the grill. Before going further, I'll explain the contents of a Sicilian sandwich.
Bread, a metric crap ton of grated mozzarella, capicolli, mortadella, some balsamic reduction, more mozzarella, and bread. You buttered both sides and slapped that sucker on the grill. Everything worked out just fine with steak weights, they compressed it and it cooked through fairly quickly and evenly.
But nooooooo. My manager decided steak weights made the sandwiches look too small, and so he stole them from our stand and we never saw them again. So without the weights, this sandwich is a good ten centimeters thick and is a mess every time you flip it (cheese, cheese everywhere). The sandwich is so spaced out that by the time it's cooked through it's black on the sides and burnt and worthless."