Kitchen Rants: Can I please eat lunch?

“I’m not asking for the world here.”


Kitchen Rants is a new series where industry folk can vent, anonymously, about their job. Got something to say? Contact Evan Mah at

Today I was reminded that I haven’t had lunch in peace in years.

I’m not talking about the kind of lunch where someone comes and takes your order and you sit at a table enjoying quiet respite from the stresses of the day either. I’d be happy with 10 minutes of uninterrupted silence to scoop a chicken breast and some greens out of a stainless steel bowl into my face (typically while standing might I add). Laughably, the reigning consensus among civilians is that we chefs are filling up on the same food that we serve to you. Nothing could be further from the truth. I eat your scraps. The gristly trimmings of meat that don’t make a pretty steak, the turnips with brown spots, and the well-done end of the pork roast that would otherwise be discarded. Those are my meals. They are all assembled and consumed strictly as fuel so that I may have a fighting chance at sustained energy for the evening’s service. To eat my scraps in peace—what a fantasy!

Want to know what happens when I try to duck away and eat that “meal”? I get a constant stream of questions, phone calls, text messages, petty staff gripes and complaints, salespeople dropping by unannounced and stories from my co-workers about things that really don’t interest me. Seriously? Take your questions to my sous chef, make an appointment, and hold on to your stories/complaints for 10 goddamn minutes. It can wait. Better yet, try considering whether or not the story is actually compelling enough to bear repeating. I bet I know the answer already.

Is the place burning down? No? Good.

Let. Me. Finish. My. Food.

I’m not asking for the world here. I’m responsible for feeding hundreds of people every week, and I’d love it if, just for a few minutes a day, my need for food could be shown a little respect.

Thanks for listening.