1. THE FINE-DINING BRO:
How to spot one: These cooks are covered in tattoos of cleavers, whisks, and pork cuts, carry a pair of plating tweezers on them at all times, and prefer small plates to large portions. They are most commonly found in gastropubs, fine-dining restaurants, pop-up events, and farm-to-table institutions, and they have the biggest ego in the kitchen.
Favorite thing to cook: Anything sous vide (have they mentioned they’re the best at using a Cryovac machine? Here, let them show you!), Asian fusion, molecular gastronomy, tapas (with a modern twist), and anything that has a spoon drag or quenelle on the plate.
“Make it soigné.”
“When you work with the best ingredients, everything you add to them is just taking away from their natural beauty.”
“Blank space on a plate gives the food room to breathe.”
2. THE DRILL SERGEANT:
How to spot one: Also called yellers, these individuals are your classic manage-by-fear chefs. They continue the outdated practice of running a hostile kitchen and believe the best way to improve their team is to “break them down to build them up.” This personality type remains popular due to the portrayal of chefs on reality TV and movies. They also love to throw shit and make their point heard.
Favorite thing to cook: Vegetable stock made from the onion scraps you got caught trying to throw away (to teach you a lesson on food waste).
“If you have time to lean, you have time to clean!”
“This is the way I was trained, and this is the way you will be trained.”
“Culinary students have no work ethic these days!”
3. THE RECENT CULINARY SCHOOL GRAD:
How to spot one: These cooks arrive 20 minutes early wearing checkered pants, an ironed coat, and a toque. They suggest alternative methods to already established procedures based on their schooling and expect to become head chef within a year. Their most recent Google searches include “pâte à choux ratio” and “student load forgiveness.”
Favorite things to cook: Chicken with fines herbes, consommé, and tourné potatoes.
“In culinary school I was taught that you should peel tomatoes before adding them to a sauce.”
“I’ve been working here for three months and haven’t been promoted to sous chef yet. This is bullshit!”
4. THE ONE WHO’S ALWAYS IN BETWEEN JOBS:CHARLOTTE GOMEZ / BUZZFEED
How to spot one: Year after year these cooks tell their coworkers that working in a kitchen is a temporary gig for them (something they are doing just to hold them over until they get a “real” job). Fast-forward 10 years later, and they are still working the grill station and telling others that the job is a joke.
Favorite thing to cook: The same dish they have cooked over and over again for the past 10 years.
“This is just a temporary job to hold me over until I get a real one.”
“I’m not really a cook.”
5. THE PREACHER:
How to spot one: Similar to the kitchen bro, these individuals can be found lecturing other employees on best practices. Making a hollandaise? They have a better way of doing it. Washing a dirty pan? They have a better way of doing it. Taking the garbage out? They alsohave a better way of doing it.
Favorite thing to cook: Whatever you’re cooking (because lucky for you, they’re an expert at it).
“I have a trick for that!”
“Let me show you the proper way to peel a potato.”
6. THE CORPORATE CHEF:
Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
How to spot one: This worker clocks in at 9 and out at 5. They have multiple colors of cutting boards for different applications (meat on red, fish on blue, NO exceptions), and their most-used piece of equipment is the microwave. Fine-dining bros would call them sellouts (although most of them are actually just fine-dining bros who’ve settled down). You can find them at airports, hotels, and 25-year reunions of their culinary school programs. (Oh, the good old days!)
Favorite things to cook: Duchess potatoes using instant mashed potatoes and their signature chocolate lava cake (made with Sysco chocolate cake mix) topped with whipped cream, a raspberry, and a mint leaf.
“When I was a chef in New York City I would work eight days a week!”
“Just pop it in the microwave.”
“I have 10 days of paid vacation I have to take.”
7. THE ALCHEMIST:
How to spot one: These individuals are obsessed with the not-so-new trend of molecular gastronomy and force it upon every restaurant they work at. They carry around a mini scale (usually used to measure ~other~ expensive substances) and other odd tools.
Favorite thing to cook: Deconstructed s’mores with marshmallow fluid gel, spherificated chocolate sauce, graham cracker foam, and campfire essence.
“It’s the idea of chicken Parmesan.”
“What if we turned it into a foam?”
“Does anyone have an aquarium pump I can borrow?”
8. THE CHEF DE PARTAYYY:
How to spot one: These individuals are not necessarily actual chefs de parties, but they certainly know how to party. They arrive hungover from the night before fueled with adrenaline and survive the rush of service like a pro. Their go-to accessories are a quart container filled with water and kitchen Crocs paired with jeans and a button-down.
Favorite thing to cook: The last ticket of the night (that way they can quickly cover their whole station in a single layer of plastic wrap and run).
“Anyone up for a shift drink?”
“It’s industry night at The Bourgeois Pig.”
9. THE MARTYR:
How to spot one: These cooks have never taken a break, pick up extra shifts, and constantly complain about how hard working in a kitchen is (and to be fair, they are working pretty damn hard). They are resentful toward the front-of-house staff for having “plushy” jobs but would never sell out and become a corporate chef.
Favorite thing to cook: Whatever you want them to cook.
“Anything for you, chef.”