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Chef Terminology 101: How Many Do You Know?

12:52 pm


Know your rash from your robo? Your flash from your FOH? These are the essential terms you need to know if you're going to survive the professional kitchen.

Buffalo Bain Marie
All Day is a method of clarification during a busy service. The chef may say "three scallops all day", which means there are three orders of scallops currently in the queue.

A Bain Marie is an appliance designed to gently heat (not cook) food using a water bath.

To Bang it in means to quickly put it in the oven. (Thanks to Timothy Pow via Facebook).

BOH: Abbreviation for Back Of House. All the behind-the-scenes areas that customers don't really see like offices, staff rooms and the kitchen.

Burn the Ice: Usually said at the end of service, meaning the ice machine needs to be emptied, usually by transferring ice into the sink and pouring hot water over it. It's much easier to clean an ice machine when it's empty!


Clopen: The process of closing late at night and then reopening early the following morning - usually by the same person.

Cover: The number of customers served during a single service. Many people suggest that covers refers to the number of tables, although in the UK it's about how many people you're serving.

Combi:is short for Combination Oven. Usually one of the largest kitchen appliances - which can cook using steam, convection or a combination of both.

Dying: Food on the pass which is waiting a bit too long for front of house staff to serve.


ETA: Abbreviation for Estimated Time of Arrival. How long a dish is expected to take before being ready.

Flashing is when you put slightly undercooked food back in the oven or pan for a short amount of time.

FOH: Abbreviation for Front of House. Any part of the restaurant where customers can be. FOH is sometimes used to refer to the waiting staff, bar staff and management.

Stainless Steel Gastronorm Pans
Gastro / GN: Standardised metal pans called gastronorms, used for cooking, chilling or serving food. Available in full size
(1/1), half size (1/2), double size (2/1) and many other configurations.

Getting a Push: When orders are coming in thick and fast, the kitchen is "getting a push"


In the Hat: This refers to Hatco food warmers. Whatever is "in the hat" is .. in the Hatco.


Kill It: A very well done steak or dish as ordered.

The Line: A bit like an assembly line, the Line in a kitchen is where the magic happens, working as part of a well-oiled machine to produce components of dishes which all come together at the Pass.

A Long Stand: One of the classic kitchen pranks - there's no such thing. If your chef asks you for a long stand, an egg shaver, a left-handed spatula, a bacon stretcher or a parsley curler, it's either the 1st of April or your first day on the job.


Meez / Mise : Short for "mise en place" (roughly translates at "setting in place"), this means that the station has enough ingredients for the upcoming service.

A photo posted by Nisbets (@nisbets_) on

Nuking is to use the microwave as a last resort. (Thanks to Iain Alexander via Facebook).


On the Fly: Whether there was a mistake with the order, or if the waiting staff have just dropped a plate, making food On the Fly means it's a priority and needs to be done right away.

The Pass: The area where dishes are plated and then collected by the waiting staff.


The Rail is another name for a tab grabber or check holder.

A Rash is the alternative name for the combination oven, especially if it's branded Rational.

A Robo is the slang term for a Robot Coupe food processor. Robot Coupe processors are amongst the best known machines in professional kitchens, so many people call them Robo or Robocop even when they've got a different brand.


Stretch It: If you ever hear this, it means that there might not be enough of the sauce/dressing to last until the end of service. By stretching it, you make it last longer by using less or diluting it - always a last-ditch scenario.

If you're on Till Death, you're working till closing time. See Clopen. (Thanks to Jon Baham via Facebook).


The Walk-In is another word for a cold room or walk-in freezer.

If you are In the Weeds, it means the kitchen is approaching meltdown busy. Prepare for stress, adrenaline or a combination of both.

Chef Whites is the term used for the uniform worn by chefs. Even though modern uniform is available in a rainbow of colours, traditionally chefs wear white - hence Chef Whites.

Can you think of any we've missed? Leave a comment below or check our our facebook or twitter feeds.


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