When you cook for a living, your relationship with food is a very personal one. Food isn’t just food, it’s also your craft, and there’s parts of crafting anything that can get tedious. No matter how talented you might be, there’s always those dishes you just hate to cook or just can’t get down consistently. Buzzfeed recently took a look into a Reddit thread that asked chefs, “What is that one dish on the menu that you absolutely hate making?”
I’ve always been inconsistent with eggplant; I usually think it’s undercooked and then when I cook it a little longer, I absolutely obliterate it. There’s nothing that takes an emotional toll quite like a brown-gray mass just mocking you from your skillet. And on the line during busy nights, I absolutely hated making salad. Not only do salads have to go out quickly, customers often modify them in ways that are easy to screw up if your head isn’t in the game for a split-second.
Some of the answers from the chefs are surprising, but weirdly kind of obvious. One user said: “Former chef here. Some of the simplest dishes are the most annoying. I always hated working breakfast rushes; people are very particular about eggs, and it’s very easy to accidentally break a yolk.” I’m a pizzamaker, so I rarely had to deal with eggs. I did not think of them that way. At home, if I fuck up an egg, I eat that egg anyway.
There’s some obvious answers on here, too, however, like soufflés, which are always tricky no matter what; tempering chocolate, which takes patience and finesse; and off-menu orders. This quote sums up off-menu orders perfectly:
I worked at a restaurant that had a few local “celebrities” and business owners who would order off-menu. It always felt like it was for show. A power move designed to let others know how important they thought they were. I heard that they stopped letting them order off-menu with the new manager. In a busy steakhouse restaurant on a Friday night, they would order things like an omelet. It wasn’t impossible to do, but rather inconvenient.
In the end, however, as a diner—don’t feel obligated to change your order around these things. It’s the nature of life in the kitchen, having to embrace the shit you hate the most, and regularly. One chef in the Reddit thread said this about German apple pancakes: “Those who are apologizing for ordering it, don’t—it’s our job. Kitchen staff are gluttons for punishment.” Truer words have never been spoken.