Patty Canedo is a chef in Palm Beach. She writes frequently about her kitchen exploits in this column, Half-Baked.
A wide misconception about chefs is we eat very well. What the kitchen turns out every day for guests is a lot different from how we who work the line actually eat. Whether it's because of a lack of time, resources or energy we'll eat just about anything.
In fact, more often than not I'm regarded by colleagues as a freak for the amount of cooking I do off the clock. I know plenty of chefs who's condiments at home come in packets, only own mismatched plastic cutlery and only eat from a greased stained bag. When push comes to shove, when facing starvation, you'd be surprised what fowl things we will eat.
My friends behind the line you are just as guilty of preparing some of The Worst Dishes Ever.
1) The Man-wich: My super sized sous liked to scrape together last night's mash, meatballs or a burger, marinara and what ever fixings we just prepped and slap it all together on a bun. Covered with mozz, of course. This oversized sandwich was also dubbed "dinner on a bun".
2) Chef Boyarblah: This was my survival recipe through the dorm years and sadly still pops up in desperate times. Take one can of Beefaroni and top with crushed up cheez its. I admitted to this debacle amongst mixed company the other day and their jaws are still on the floor.
3) Stuff in a Pot: On my first Sunday in my latest kitchen my fellow brunch cohorts were huddled around a sauce pot boiling away. I was excited when they presented me with a dish. Expecting a recipe fraut with authentic island flair from their home I was sadly disappointed. Following week, I observed this Sunday tradition more carefully finding they're mis en place was nothing more than whatever jars or cans were open and chicken wings over mushy rice.
4) Rocky Road: (I wish this weren't true) Diverse environments breed diverse palates. Chef's former prep came into work one day beaming. He showed off his treasure he'd picked off the road on his way into work. Chef shocked but laughing, explained he couldn't even let him bring the possum in the door. Later, Chef found the prep cook outside happily cleaning the critter.
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5) Usually Milk Does A Body Good: Saturday night rituals-- eat whatever was laying around and chug an energy drink. Not Shawn, he followed his dinner with a tall glass of ice cold milk. Still not seeing the problem? Well stand behind the hot line long enough and it curdled every time. Half way through the rush up came the milk and anything that preceded it. Gotta love a tradition.