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Top 4 Things You Should Never Say to a Chef

S o what are the top four things you should never say to a chef? We shared our experiences working in commercial kitchens and came up with this empirically researched list.

“Is there salt in this dish?”

Probably the thing that grinds the gears of chefs the most is this question.  What could be  people’s underlying concern for their heart health, is seen by chefs as complete disrespect for their palette.  If a trained chef has made your dish, you can guarantee it has been seasoned (salted). 

So let’s ask someone with an agenda why you would salt food? According to the Salt Association in Britain, salt is used as a seasoning to enhance the taste of food and makes bland foods such as bread and pasta palatable by bringing out the natural flavours. Chefs use salt. Just accept it.

Conversely, for the salt lovers out there, don’t automatically go raining salt on your restaurant chef-prepared meal prior to tasting it.

When customers receive their food, some reach for the salt and pepper without tasting it first. 

If you add salt before tasting your meal, the food can end up over-seasoned — and the blame for that often falls on the chef. 

“I’ll have my steak well-done”

So, what is something else  you should never say to a chef? The loud talking patron who claims to not want their steak mooing and will only entertain a burnt piece of leather with a side of veggies, is the bugbear of chefs. High-quality steaks, burgers, and fish suffer when they’re cooked until well done. Chefs will do it for you, but it hurts them inside.

If you want to become a great chef, you have to work with great chefs. And that’s exactly what I did.

~ Gordon Ramsay

“Is this Organic?”

While all chefs prefer quality purpose bred free-range organic produce, it is not always possible to supply in a restaurant. Especially on a large scale and fit for the budget of most consumers. 

Something else you should never say to a chef is Nothing – (Then write a negative review instead)

Something else you should never say to a chef is, well…nothing! Ironically, as sensitive to criticism as many chefs can be, they prefer when customers address problems in person rather than in reviews. That’s because, quite simply, their primary aim is for you to have the best dining experience as possible.

If customers address problems with their dining experience in person instead of through online reviews, better outcomes are likely, for both the patron and the restaurant.

If a customer’s issue is addressed in real time, as opposed to via a negative review online, the issue can almost always be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

And then there’s the things chefs never say….

Things never said by a Head Chef – Aussie comedian Troy Kinne, nails the commercial kitchen ‘never said’ experience.



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