Patty Canedo is a chef in Palm Beach. She writes frequently about her kitchen exploits in this column, Half-Baked.
Being a chef is like being on the island of Misfit Toys. It's a tiny, dysfunctional circle we roll in. In this tight-knit community, you always seem to be working with the same people. But that doesn't mean we always play nice in the sandbox. What else do you expect when you put a group of creative, ego-driven adrenaline junkies in a tight, hot space? That pot will eventually come to a boil.
Between my personal and professional culinary entourages, I've been party to and witnessed some unique disagreements -- on and off the clock. Hell's Kitchen? Iron Chef? Ha! Whateva! Here are some pretty entertaining Chef Versus Chef bouts.
Whipping It Out, Seeing Who's Bigger
Whether you're coming onto a new line or just sitting around with drinks, chefs will name -- or term-drop -- you, especially in mixed-gender company. (Like I said, ego-driven.) Hate it!
Savory Versus Sweet
During my stint as a pastry chef, I was out with my bf/grill cook for a postshift cocktail when a drunken stranger approached us:
"Hey, I'm Sarah. I'm a real chef," she said, giving me a snide look while taking a victory sip.
"Hi, I'm Patty. I'm a skilled chef." Victory sip came out her nose.
Where to Go Out to Eat?
Ugh! There are so many ways this argument can go, but my fave -- and most frustrating! -- is with my best friend. She won't go anywhere she thinks she can easily make the food.
"Pasta with noodles? I can make that at home," she says, bashing my love of Italian. I tend to retaliate by mocking her love of what I call "Barf''s Room."
Cooking Off the Clock?
This is a foreign concept to many of my coated friends, but I resist the urge to fall into the takeout, drive-through void.
"What are you doing?" Pef (my sous) was shouting into his phone over the noise over the line.
"About to sit for Sunday dinner," I said, holding the phone away from my ear.
"At home," I said, sitting at my table.
"Who's coming over?" He was still shouting.
"No one!" My plate was getting cold.
"What?" he asked. "Who's coming over?"
"NO ONE!" I yelled back.
"Huh? I don't understand?" he answered.
Click, I replied, too tired after a long week to make him grasp the concept. Poor kid was just looking to see if I wanted to go out for a drink.
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What's for Dinner?
You might think that living with a chef means you eat. Ha! I've learned after having a couple of cooks as roommates and (inevitably) a chef husband, that they can't function in a kitchen without tickets in front of them.