“Experience the flavor of Chef Eric’s kitchen, where the heat is as ‘Hot as F*ck’ and the passion is real.”
“I go into every day just wanting to be better. So much of what I see now is it’s, like, too focused on the show. It’s a marketing scheme compared to as opposed to the actual caring about the cooking. Sure, it can look good, but does it fucking taste good?” – Chef Eric
Chef Eric has been cooking since he was a child, when his mother taught him to make a meatloaf. When his son was born, Eric decided to switch to cooking as a career and has been doing so for 17 years. On the East Coast he has worked for various restaurants, including DBGB, but has seen many restaurants close due to COVID. He finds that many restaurants focus on the show rather than the taste of the food and is inspired to do better each day.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. The unique bond shared by line cooks, and chefs.
2. The challenges of running and surviving a restaurant during the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. The creative and entrepreneurial success story of a chef who created his own hot sauce.
Official Patriot Gear -10% OFF with code CHEFHASSE
Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
Connect with me:
Feedback: Email me!
Over the last 20 years working in restaurants, I met a lot of really interesting people. Bourdain called us pirates and misfits, and he couldn’t be more right. We really were. I say were. We are a hodgepodge of cultures and backgrounds, and we get to play with food all day, and we get to make a living in that, and it’s pretty damn awesome.
This is what inside the Pressure Cooker is all about. It’s about making some new friends and sharing some stories with some old friends. And listen, we all know that life inside a kitchen is not for everyone. We’ve seen plenty of people come and go that thought they could hack it and they couldn’t. It really does take a special someone not only to survive, but to really thrive in an environment of just what feels like complete fucking chaos.
But it’s pretty damn controlled. And then just the constant pressure and the stupid hours you put in, not to mention it can be a very thankless job. Before you know it, it’s all in your blood. And it’s the only thing you know and you need more. It’s an addiction.
This is the bond that all wine, cooks and chefs share. It’s becoming the heartbeat of the kitchen, as cliche as that fucking sounds. But it’s in our blood, which means it’s fucking pulsing through our veins. And it’s what we live for. A quick interruption before we jump on.
To the rest of this, two things. First, there’s a link in the show notes that well, it’s not really a link, it’s my email. Please. I want to hear some feedback from you all. What do you love?
What do you not love? This is how I learn. And the second part I’ve set up a patreon account for this podcast. The link is also in the show notes below. Please, if you’re able to we would love any contribution you’re able to support us with.
We all have costs that we need. To try to cover with this show, and any sport would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
Chef Eric, 32nd elevator pitch. Who are you? I am Chef Ericos father. I’m a chef and I am a patriot. And that’s pretty much it.
All right. How old are your kids? 1610 and two. You’re covering the gamut there? Yeah.
Papa was a rolling stone.
So tell me then, how long have you been cooking? What got you into it? I’ve been doing this forever, man. We moved to Massachusetts when I was, like, eight, I think. And we took over my family’s taxi company.
And mom was working and stepfather was working. And it was a phone call on, like, a phone on the wall that you had to, like, answer and be home for. And this is what you do. And you make a meatloaf, and I’d get the whole thing. She’d read me a recipe.
You’re writing this down. You’re writing this down. And I would do it and I enjoyed it. And the more that that went on, I kind of fell in love with it.
When did you realize it was going to be a career? Jesus.
I kind of switched permanently to it being a career. About 17 years ago, I was going to go to the army. We found out that my ex was pregnant with my oldest son, and things just kind of shifted gears. I always tried to stay out of the cooking business because I thought if I did it every day, it would ruin it for me.
I wouldn’t get as much enjoyment out of it. There’s truth there, you know? And like, I grew up in a house like, my father owned three delis. He worked himself to death. He was a shit bag, whatever.
He wasn’t around. And it was what it was. And I thought if I worked in the industry, it would just make it all tainted. But it actually became quite the opposite.
I can understand that. It’s almost one of those, like, he didn’t want to follow in his footsteps. Yeah, 100%.
Okay, so right now you’re cooking your soup and you’re in Farmingdale, New York. You’ve been out in the East Coast the entire time. Yeah, new York. I work in the city for Danielle Bald.
A few restaurants here on the island. I was in Boston for a little bit, and then last November, I came back to Long Island. Okay. Dug in back here. Now.
Were you at barbalude? No. Is it DBG. Bees. Oh, nice.
I like that blue. Our commissary was you opened the front door to the commissary and it was the back of the iconic CBG. Bees. Like punk rock. Yeah.
A few trips I made to New York, actually there, I think, twice.
I like the feel to it. It’s a different animal now, though. The city. It’s become just disgusting. Oh, the city.
The city has just become disgusting. Yeah. This whole COVID thing just ruined so many restaurants. There like Michelin Star restaurants are shutting down. It just became abysmal.
That was like, the tough time in Boston. Like, I left there to come down here because at the end of COVID with all the restrictions and everything, nobody could offer the pay, nobody could offer the hours and everything. Rent moratoriums were up, and it was just got insane. Yeah. I don’t know how restaurants I mean, it was impossible for so many places to survive and pay people because restaurants aren’t exactly known to have, like, large vaults of cash just hanging around waiting for this stuff to happen.
Especially in New York or the East Coast, where just the rents are fucking ridiculous as it is. Even with the moratorium, at a certain point, it’s like, hey, everybody’s got to be able to pay something here. Yeah, I got a little obscene. What’s the one restaurant you were sad to see go? I don’t know.
There was a few there was a couple nice little, like a couple of quiet joints in Boston that were just it was like a good place to go get, like, a bowl of ramen or some nice sushi or something like that. And they were closing left and right. Little, like, no name, hole in the wall places that would go to after work. You know what I mean? Yeah, those places where I mean, they were kind of the definition of restaurants that were survived paycheck to paycheck kind of thing.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. They were probably floating checks for a while. Yeah, that’s unfortunate because all those places are usually pretty legit. And it was the smallest places and the best food we could leave.
I was, like, working in Brookline. It’s a place called the Public House for, like, a great set of owners. This guy David loved food, loved everything. We did, like, a barbecue Sunday. We’d have people coming in just for that on Sundays.
And then you get to end the shift and go out and hang out with the guys and go get a fucking bowl of noodles and just wind down from a crazy week. And then all of a sudden, that shit wasn’t there anymore. What did you guys do after that? Then it was just like, hop on the green line to the red line and go back to Dorchester and hang out. That’s unfortunate.
Yeah, it was pretty shitty. So tell me about a time when you’re cooking and you just kind of question everything, where you’re just like, man, am I really in the right spot? Is this my career? Should I be looking for something else? I think that’s happened a couple of times.
The first time was like, when I started in Delhi’s, and I just got tired of it. Like, the hours, the bullshit, it became a lot. And then when I went to work for Danielle valud, it was a whole different animal. It was like, I have to inspect this guy’s, like, parsley schiff and odd right now. Is this what I want to do?
I don’t want to be the chef with the pair of tweezers and the fancy little shit on the plate. That’s just not me. I’m never going to be a tweezer chef. I’m a fucking bull in a china shop. I come in, and if you’re in my way, I’m mowing you down.
I have a very strong point of view on walking into a kitchen and like to see these cooks that just, like, have this I don’t give a shit attitude. Like, oh, don’t worry. It’s not my job. Somebody else will do it. If I did that in any of the restaurants that I worked at, like, the places I work, like, none of those chefs picked up a broom or a mop.
You’re lucky if you’re going to get him out of the office, let alone mop up after you. And these guys are like, oh, he doesn’t even help with the floors. He doesn’t do this. I’m like, God, give it a rest, dude. Like, this is not how the world works.
Like, I broke my balls to, like, get where I am, and you’re here fucking three days a week, showing up at 03:00 in the afternoon. Like, what do I care how you feel? It literally doesn’t matter to me. Just shut the fuck up and mop. Yeah.
Oh, man. But, like, working for DB was just, like, insanity because, like, he has all these corporate chefs around him, and you have to go in, and they’re like, all right, well, it has to be done like this, and it has to be done like this. And you got to follow around seven guys that you can barely communicate with because they’re either Haitian or we had, like, a bunch of Albanians when I first started there, and nobody spoke English. So it would just have to be, like, visual demonstrations, like how to shift a Nod parsley, how to properly cut the chives so, like, Chef Rob didn’t come in and throw everything in the garbage and make you redo it. So is there, like, a corporate chef that would just come in before service and do is walk through and then leave?
Yeah. So I was, like the opening suit. I would come in and I took care of, like, all the sauces. I managed all that stuff. I had 13 guys in the kitchen, and it was massive.
They had, like, six on the weekends. They had, like, six people on Garden alone. The restaurant isn’t that big. The line was huge. The hotline had six, and then we had a roundsman that would jump between and fill holes, and then we had six on Garden.
Jay. Okay, that whole back room is, like, a chef’s table and all that stuff. Like, Jim Gaffegan lived across the street and used to come in on Sundays for, like, brunch with his family and hang out back there. And then you got four cooks just, like, going it was obnoxious. We would do 300 people for brunch and then, like, another 300 for dinner, easy on a slow day.
I didn’t think it was that big, but obviously I’m wrong. It was a decent sized restaurant. So what inspires you now? Change. I go into every day just wanting to be better.
So much of what I see now is it’s, like, too focused on the show. It’s a marketing scheme compared to as opposed to the actual caring about the cooking. Sure, it can look good, but does it fucking taste good? You know what I mean? Are you ordering shit product?
Is every fucking delivery coming from Cisco and their garbage? You know what I mean? We can bleep out Cisco, but they’re fucking legit trash. As a broad liner. It’s insane.
I would never order produce from them. No, absolutely not. Some of their stuff is fine. I mean, when you’re talking about just all your dry stuff, whatever, but chemicals and whatnot. Yeah, I don’t think in every location of them is kind of a little different, but yeah, I wouldn’t be ordering any fresh product.
And then to bastardize it. You get it. And even if it’s like half trash and you can make it into something, why order in massive quantities from Cisco and then produce this servable food to store it in the freezer for three months and then pull it out and court by court by court? I’ve seen chefs do that, and that shit is just so unappealing. I get it.
I get it’s, like production based, but it doesn’t have to be like that, right? Yeah. If you’re starting with quality to begin with, I mean, you’re going to have a hell of a lot less waste. Yeah. Your freezer is going to be smaller, too.
Yeah. At Harley’s we have one chest freezer, and it’s for fries.
Fries and like, I think lobster tails right now for New Year’s Eve, but everything else. Yeah, I would say last few restaurants I built out, we didn’t put freezers in them for anything for a couple of reasons. One, I also didn’t want to deal with ice cream and desserts because I’m like, okay, listen, to get into that, it’s like, now you need a dipping. Well, you need somewhere on the line for that. I’m like, I don’t want to fucking deal with that shit.
No. I’m like, hey, listen, there’s a great place about a block down. Yeah, they make fantastic ice cream. Go get yourself an avocado or something.
Avocado? No, avocado. The Italian ice cream with the espresso.
But you know what though? It’s probably an avocado ice cream that they’re looking for, though. That shit is so played out. I’m so fucking tired of avocados. It’s like avocado is like the dried parsley on the rim of a plate for me right now.
Like a fucking nauseating to look at. I don’t even want to see that shit. Yeah, you’ve got your late eighty S. Ninety S plating where every plate had the paprika and the parsley around the rim. I worked for this lady in Massachusetts, and it was like a breakfast and brunch pot.
I just got there, and then it was like this sushev position, and she was like all excited. And I go in and she’s like, explaining the garnishing shit to me, everything.
It was just like purple kale. Purple kale on everything. And then she fucking sprinkles the dried shit around the plate. She’s like, I like to call it Jazz fetty. And I’m like, Are you fucking kidding me?
Like, you don’t name confetti after yourself, let alone fucking dress a plate like that just simple is so much easier. That’s good. Yes, fetty. Yes fetty. My buddy Joe appreciate that because she’s like, trying to sue him over a hot sauce recipe right now.
Good luck. She’s like grasping for straws desperately yeah. At this point her lawyer is just stringing her along for cash then. Yeah, definitely. He probably should have told her that when it comes to recipes and intellectual property, unless somebody signed something that said, you own everything I create, or if it hits the menu for whatever reason, you own it.
But even then, prove it. No, she can’t. He was just asking me if I want to be, I guess get deposed if I want to be a character witness or whatever. And this whole little lawsuit. I said, sure, sign me up, dude.
You know what? I give the guy credit because he took a step back from a restaurant. They stole a bunch of his shit. He went through with all these lawyers or whatnot. And when he sat home waiting for all this to do, him and his wife made this hot sauce called Sweet Mamas.
And they’re selling the shit out of it. And they’re going to like hot sauce expeditions. And they’re winning and winning and winning. And she’s jealous. And I know for a fact it’s not her recipe.
Yeah, I wouldn’t doubt it. And even then, if she wants to say it’s her recipe, legally you only have to change like one third of the recipe to create to make it unique, which is fucking easy to do. When I walked in that restaurant, her hot sauce recipe, she had this guy Tony there who was just like he was a fucking clown. There was no way. He was like, I’ve been an executive chef for six years.
I’m like, you’re fucking 23, dude. Like you don’t know shit about shit. Like you’re trying to mulchify fucking stems right now. What are you doing? Like fucking strain the sauce.
Act like a professional for like 3 seconds. All you taste is hot. You don’t taste any flavor whatsoever. It was a mess. Well, I mean, that’s just kind of what everybody looks for these days.
Everybody just looks for straight heat. I don’t know of any hot sauces out there that I actually enjoy because look at all the peppers that are they were going after the Carolina Reapers and this and that. Okay. Outside of putting you in the fucking hospital, what is that really going to do? Yeah, seriously.
I mean, we made sauces. We did a barbecue competition. This restaurant was with SmokeShack Blues and I named it Hot as Fucking. I had to wear a gas mask, like a whole respirator just to fucking just to mix it wearing like goggles because the fumes were just like massive. Yeah, it was like unbearable.
Oh, yeah, you smoked out the whole kitchen. Everybody saw it. Great. We’d make it like come in at 07:00 in the morning and have it on the stove just going and simmering in the back. And we’d have to open all the front windows, the doors, the back door just to let it all out.
Because you couldn’t even have a customer walk in the building at 11:00 in the morning because their fucking eyes are burning. I just love to do that. Sometimes you get the little chilly vinegar bombs and then all of a sudden you just hear people on the other line. You’re just like, yeah, talk some more shit. Exactly.
Oh, this isn’t that hot. Okay, wait a second. This one’s a fucking creeper. And then all of a sudden they’re on the floor.
You mentioned this earlier, but cooking for theater instead of flavor. And this is kind of an interesting thing because I don’t want us to blame social media, right? But there’s that, hey, we got to make that Instagram worthy food, but it’s got to taste great. And so everything’s got to be like I remember documents. Hey, there’s got to be Instagram.
Picture the owners. Can we put this picture on Instagram? If this goes to a guest and they take a picture of it? And I’m like, why did Instagram start driving so much fucking traffic for us? It just did, man.
It’s crazy because you see, I’ll go through my Instagram and it’s like, what the fuck am I doing? These guys you got these idiots that just go on TikTok and fucking dance and they’re making millions of dollars and I break my ass. You know what I mean? I break my ass to fucking bring in a paycheck and pay for my kids and pay for my apartment and enjoy my life. And these guys just fucking do nothing.
And then you get, like it, like, broke down someplace. There was like this fucking massive fallout where it didn’t have to taste good anymore. It was just about, like how pretty the plate is. Well, it wasn’t even how pretty it was. It was like how over the top.
Like, how ridiculous could it be? Yeah, I don’t want fucking goldflake on my goddamn dessert. Like, get that shit out of here. Why do we need that? What about your 32 ounce tomahawk that’s wrapped in goldflake?
Yeah, that’s fucking so stupid. It gets so ridiculous and over the top. That’s cool. Dude, you can wear sunglasses and fucking shaving face like Antonio Banderas and sprinkle salt and shit. I don’t fucking care.
What does the steak taste like? What does it taste like? If it’s cooked well, you don’t need all this bullshit sauce, dude. We go out to the table at a tomahawk or a porter house. We throw an herb butter on it, we’ll torch it and bring it up to Temp table side.
And that’s it. That’s it. It just needs butter. It needs butter and fucking love. That’s it.
You just have to pretend to give a shit for 5 seconds and fucking cook it properly. Just care about what you’re doing. And that’s literally it. These guys are just like, I got to have the fanciest fucking chef coat and my apron needs to be tits, and I got to go out there, and I got to be fucking perfect. You don’t, man, just go in the kitchen, put your head down, and fucking cook.
Do your goddamn job like you’re here to fucking serve the people. It’s not about your ego. It’s not about a lot of the bullshit. You’re here for customers. And like you said, it’s not about ego, but it’s more about just giving a fuck for those 5 seconds.
It’s like giving a fuck for everything and being excited about everything. Exactly. These cooks that we’ve been getting rid of at the restaurant, I came in at the right time, I think. I think I joined the team at Harley’s at the perfect time. It was like, Keith’s a great guy, and he was running himself ragged, and he had no help.
He was fucking not, like, treading water, but he was, like, fighting because he had a good vision of where we should go and how to get there. But there was just, like, missing pieces. Yeah. There’s only so much one person can do. I’d like to think that I stepped in at the right time to help get that forward.
And now it’s like, before, it used to be the kitchen can’t keep up with the dining room. Now it’s the dining room can’t keep up with the kitchen. There you go.
And that’s now becomes a whole new list of problems to solve because now the kitchen is, like, where it needs to be, but the front of house staff can’t, like, get their shit together. You know what I mean? Well, I mean, have they ever yeah, no, we do. We have some really great servers, but there was a time where it was like, okay, this one’s here for a week and gone. This one’s here for a week and gone.
People can only work two days a week, and it’s like, how much do you really give a shit if you’re only here two days a week? The restaurant is just an ATM for them. Yeah. They come in, put in their time, walk out with their cash. Exactly.
But they’re kids. It goes back to that. Like, kids in the kitchen shit. Like, they come back and they just, like they think, like, we’re there to serve them. I’m like, that’s not how this works, dude.
That’s not how any of this works. We are here to serve the people you’re serving. So if we don’t all work together, you’re fucked. We’re fucked. And they go home miserable and with a comp meal.
Yeah. So many different places I want to go with this because it’s like, all right, how do we want to unpack this? Because you’re right. There’s this new generation that’s coming in that is very entitled. So entitled.
It’s, like, such a disgusting trait to see that. I’m like I just, like, question, like, why would you choose this business if you’re not about serving other people? Why are you here? Why are they here? I mean, have you asked anyone that?
I ask them all the time. Like, what are you doing here, dude? What do they say? Oh, I got to pay for school. What school?
Dude, you go to fucking school online. Like, get out. Do something. Like, fucking do something with your life. This is not the like, you get people coming in that like the fucking Miami Dolphins do.
They keep playing football. They know football is not the path they should be taking, but they keep trying.
You a Miami fan then, huh? No, just saying. It’s like, do you want to get up and be the fucking best at what you can be, or do you want to go in and half ass everything? I don’t half ass anything. You get up and I don’t know who the fuck said it.
There’s some saying about being in the jungle. Whether you’re a lion or a gazelle, the first thing you do when you wake up is you fucking run. That’s the one thing you know that you have to do, is you’re fucking running. You either running to not be fucking food or you’re running to get food. And, like, I’m not going to be the fucking gazelle.
And thank you for listening to this episode of Inside the Pressure Cooker. If you enjoyed this episode and feel like you’re able to take something away from it, please go to Apple podcasts and rate and review us. If you don’t use Apple podcasts, please. Follow us, as well as share this episode with a friend. This is a publication by Rare Plus Media, hosted and produced by me from Rare Plus Media and myself, Chad Kelly.
Thank you for listening. Keep kicking ass.
Transcript for Part 2
In a post-COVID world, Eric Hasse, a seasoned chef and cook, navigates the hostile kitchen culture and questions the concept of meritocracy as he battles with an exodus of restaurant workers, rising meat prices, and a new generation of distracted cooks.
“The way you move up in kitchens is you’ve got to do your job and the job of the guy in front of you. Eventually the job of the guy in front of you, you keep that job, and then you start shaving off your line cook duties, right? You’re doing the job, and then one day it’s like, oh, hey, by the way, you’re a sous now, or you’re a lead.” – Eric Hasse
Eric Hasse is a professional chef with experience running kitchens and being an executive chef on four different occasions. He is an advocate for the meritocracy of the restaurant industry and believes in the importance of hard work, dedication and a good attitude.
Eric Hasse was discussing the state of the restaurant industry post-COVID with a chef in Malta. He shared his experience with a harsh kitchen culture in the past, where one had to work hard and outwork those in front of them to move up. He speaks of how restaurants are now expecting more coddling of their staff, yet the expectations remain the same. He compares a professional kitchen to the military and how it requires discipline and resilience in order to succeed.
In this episode, you will learn the following:
1. What is the unique bond shared by wine, cooks, and chefs?
2. What is the state of restaurants post-COVID?
3. What is the difference between the old and new kitchen culture?
Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
Connect with me:
Feedback: Email me!
Over the last 20 years working in restaurants, I met a lot of really interesting people. Bourdain called us pirates and misfits, and he couldn’t be more right. We really were. I say were. We are a hodgepodge of cultures and backgrounds, and we get to play with food all day, and we get to make a living doing that, and it’s pretty damn awesome.
This is what inside the Pressure Cooker is all about. It’s about making some new friends and sharing some stories with some old friends. And listen, we all know that life inside a kitchen is not for everyone. We’ve seen plenty of people come and go that thought they could hack it and they couldn’t. It really does take a special someone not only to survive, but to really thrive in an environment of just what feels like complete fucking chaos, but it’s pretty damn controlled.
And then just the constant pressure and the stupid hours you put in, not to mention it can be a very thankless job. Before you know it, it’s all in your blood, and it’s the only thing you know and you need more. It’s an addiction. This is the bond that all wine, cooks and chefs share. It’s becoming the heartbeat of the kitchen, as cliche as that fucking sounds.
But it’s in our blood, which means it’s fucking pulsing through our veins, and it’s what we live for. A quick interruption before we jump on to the rest of this, two things. First, there’s a link in the show notes that well, it’s not really a link. It’s my email. Please.
I want to hear some feedback from you all. What do you love? What do you not love? This is how I learn. And the second part I’ve set up a patreon account for this podcast.
The link is also in the show notes below. Please, if you’re able to, we would love any contribution you’re able to support us with. We all have costs that we need to try to cover with this show, and any sport would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
Right. Where is that? That sounds so familiar.
Are we Googling this right now? No. I mean, if you want to. I’m just writing it down to look it up, man. So where do you think the state of the restaurants, like, post COVID restaurants are just in?
It’s a mess. It’s a mess everywhere.
I was actually talking with the gentleman chef in Malta this last week, too, and he pretty much said the same thing, and it was very interesting to have a conversation with him, talking both kind of people as well as product, and he’s on the other side of the world, and it’s the exact same story. I think we’re on the upswing. Minus the mandates are gone. That’s a whole different topic for me. Like, those mandates were bullshit to begin with, and the whole shipping things back and forth and, like, supply chain crisis and all that bullshit.
Like, I feel like we’re being led to a place where it’s purposely less meat driven.
Like prices are going up. I remember paying fucking $8 a pound for wings and then going down from like eight to six to fucking three. And like $3.69 for a pound of wings was like, incredible. I was like, oh, shit. I guess they’re going back on the menu.
But like, the porter houses and the tomahawks that we sell, we make no money off that shit.
You’re not making money off that $140, you know what I mean? We make what change compared to the pork shank we put out this weekend and sold that out as a special. And it was literally $5 to put on the plate and he sold it 32, 36, 40. You know what I mean? You make your money with that.
Yeah. And you’re not too worried if one comes back either because he fucked it up. He can’t well, they’re all ready to go, dude, I can’t cook it anymore. Well, something happens. But yeah, I always hated those really high end things that I was just like, man, don’t fuck that up.
Yeah, we got a new guy on Broiler and he’s pretty much there with his temperatures, but he’s under more than he is over. I’ve yet to see him go over. We can always bring it up attempt, but he can’t bring it down. Yeah, I’ll take under any day of the week. Yeah, exactly.
With staffing and all this, we’re kind of talking. So there is that great. We’ll just call it exodus for the restaurant industry, mainly because everybody’s living paycheck to paycheck and then all of a sudden there is no paycheck, even though there’s stimulus and other money coming. Like, for a lot of people, it just wasn’t enough. So other people just found other jobs.
Whether they thought it was temporary or permanent, nobody knows. Who even knows what they do? But things are opening up and fewer and fewer people are coming back. Now, some people are saying it’s the culture. I understand concept of that, but I’m still going to call bullshit on that because the culture is what it is.
The kitchen culture or the outside of the kitchen culture? No, the kitchen culture. Oh, yeah, kitchen culture now is fucked. Well, before, yeah, it was a harsh environment. It’s always been a harsh environment.
Right? Me and you are probably more of the old school chef’s mentality. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I was trained by Germans and French and Austrian guys and what they grew up with as well was you want to talk about hostile fuck? I mean, they were probably shoveling coal as their intern, right? Yeah.
I’ve gotten plates of fucking plates of perfect risotto fucking thrown at my feet, just knocked out of the window, saying, like, give me something I can fucking sell. Like I can’t make it any better. Than this. What the fuck are you looking for? I’m looking for this guy to fucking put up the fish at the same time, and now this risotto is cold, so fuck it.
Make another one. There was no caring about your feelings. That just wasn’t a thing. Yeah, just put your head down. Fucking do your best.
Now it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, hrs. Get involved. Mean, he made me cry. That’s his fucking job, dude. It’s his job.
Fucking shut up and cook. That’s it. Yeah. To me in the kitchen. Yes, it was a harsh environment, and we all had expectations of ourselves, but there was expectations of the team, right?
And so I expected myself to perform at a better level than I was at, because that was me just pushing me. How am I getting better today? Right? And just never being complacent. That’s exactly what I did.
And it’s the total opposite now. Now it’s like, I got to get home, because fucking Housewives of whoever gives the Fuck is on. It’s not a thing, dude. I’m sorry. I’ve seasoned tickets to the Giants.
I don’t fucking care, dude. You work in Sundays. Like, welcome to the club, dude. This is what it is. So I want to know how a line cook has seasoned tickets to the Giants.
Oh, my God.
It’s like a running joke in the restaurant because he’s, like, friends with another guy that worked there. And our chef Keith was going away on his honeymoon. They needed, like, extra hands, and they got this guy Brian to come in, and he was dog shit. His fucking work ethic sucked. The way he talked about his mom and his sister was just, like, crazy.
Like, this bitch, this content. I’m like, oh, my God, dude, you live with these people. This is your family. This is how you talk about them. Then you come here and you bitch to us, and it’s like, I can’t wait until November is here, because I’m not doing this, and I’m not doing that.
Who the fuck do you think you are, dude? You’re 30 years old. You don’t know shit about shit. Like, you think we’re here to pick up your slack? That’s just not how it works, dude.
Eric doesn’t help with the floors. So fucking what, dude? Get a broom. I’ve never once chased if I saw one of my chefs pick up a broom or a mop, it was instinct to be like, hey, don’t worry, chef. I got that.
Yeah, right. You know what I mean? Like, I got that. Go back to the office. Go fucking organize your fantasy football league, whatever.
You got more important shit to do than mop the fucking floor and babysit these kids. If the guy above you, whatever position you’re in starts to help you or get involved in your job, that means you’re not performing. Exactly. You need to study. He’s like, what do you want me to do?
I said, how about fucking update your resume, dude, because this fucking job is not for you. Get on, learn Microsoft Word, get in there and start fucking typing, because cooking is just not your thing. That requires, like, he’s not there anymore. No longer my problem, if I have to reiterate. What should I do next?
If I say update your resume, the fucking clock is ticking, right? At no point should we be outworking them. I was taught that if you want to get to where the guy above you is that you need to hustle and work your ass off and be better than that guy. And if you can’t go in every day and try to be better and learn something new and shave a minute off of this pickup time or change the prep on this to get it done faster with the same or a better result, if you can’t adjust, then you’re not doing anything, right? You’re just showing up.
The way you move up in kitchens is you’ve got to do your job and the job of the guy in front of you. Yeah. Eventually the job of the guy in front of you, you keep that job, and then you start shaving off your line cook duties, right? You’re doing the job, and then one day it’s like, oh, hey, by the way, you’re a suit now, or you’re a lead. And so the promotion and the title or the name on the jacket is, if anything, that’s just kind of formality.
The name on the jacket is, like, irrelevant to me. Yeah, but you should be doing the job well ahead of time. So the whole idea we’re going to make you a sue chef shouldn’t be fucking surprise you or anybody else. I’ve run kitchens. I’ve been the executive chef at Kitchens on four different occasions.
And it’s great, but it’s only as good as the staff behind you 100% if the owners aren’t there to back you up or they’re so they’re just, like, clinging on to dishes of fucking restaurant past and like, oh, we should do this. No, we shouldn’t do that. Shit is garbage. Like, nobody wants to see a fucking giant meatball in this tiny little fucking clay pot. Like, that shit has played out.
Like, let’s move forward. You know what I mean? Like, we don’t need to do this anymore. Like, let’s do something else. Like, every restaurant on this block serves that dish.
No, we don’t need another arugula salad. Like, fucking get out of here. I’m perfectly content, like, where I am. I think I’m happier as a sous chef to go in and be the pit bull that doesn’t give a fuck too. I can be the animal.
You know what I mean? Keith is a great guy, but he’s way more timid than I am. And he has a kind of gentler approach and I just don’t if I rip you a fucking new asshole, don’t expect me to rub your back and tell you it’s okay. Afterwards. You might get like, listen, you know, it’s just a work thing at the end of the week, but I’m going to beat you up all week.
That’s how it was done to me, and that’s what worked. It was like that whole military aspect of break you down to build you back up again. Sometimes you need to see that, like, all right, cool. I guess I suck at this, and maybe I should be a little bit better, or what can I do to get better? How do I get better?
Do I ask more questions? What do I need to learn? Just when I go off the deep end, it was more about when people would stop caring. I wasn’t necessarily the pit bull. I mean, I’m a bigger guy.
My voice carries, and I’ve always been told, like, hey, why are you yelling? I’m like, no, I’m not yelling. I’m making sure I’m hurt when I yell. You’re going to fucking know. Yeah, that’s a good line for me, too.
But the moment when they just stop caring and are just blatantly, like, Give a fuck. When did you give up? And then when everything starts to be sacrificed, it’s like, Listen, I’ve worked way too fucking hard for you to fuck this up, right? And so if you don’t want to put the work into it and you don’t want to try, then why am I trying to help you? Why am I trying to pay you?
Yeah, 100%. So it’s like, no, get the fuck out of here. Yeah, I’ve got no patience for that. Yeah, I lose it with that whole thing. I don’t have enough time in my day to worry about that kind of petty bullshit if you can’t care in the slightest.
If I went to work and didn’t give it my all, I was in fear of my job. I would have been shit canned immediately. It doesn’t matter, like, how good you can cook if you can go in there and cook good, but not consistently and have a shit attitude and, like, all that garbage that comes with it, you can only put up with that shit for so long. Well, the other part is, like, so they say it’s the restaurant culture and the abuse, so to speak, that is toxic. But I want to ask the question, what fucking industry or what job can you go to where the attitude you portrayed that got you into this hostile situation would be okay?
Because I’ll go, sign me up. It’s only okay in restaurants. I mean, to me, it’s like, that’s just if I walk into a restaurant, I expect it to be like that. Well, no, I’m talking about someone that can walk in and not give a shit and then complain that they weren’t getting paid enough. It was too hostile.
They got yelled at. They weren’t trying every day. They just kind of would come in and just like, hey, how under the radar can I stay? Where’s my cruise control? And then bitch like, hey, I’m not getting paid more.
I’m not getting promoted. I’m not doing this. Fucking chefs yelling at me. And it’s like, well, apply everything you just said to me to any other career. And would you expect a different result?
It’S work ethic. Yeah. And we as chefs are just like it’s literally with the last meritocracy left. How many other jobs can you go to? This lengthy application, 17 fucking interviews and all this other bullshit.
Like, you walk in, it’s like, all right, dude. Like, alright, so go on the walk in and fucking make me something. Right? Like yep. Like, profession, like professional artists.
Like, there’s no fucking place to go into be like, all right, we’ll paint me something. Like that doesn’t happen. Not just like, all right, go in and fucking what’s his name, banksy or whatever. You’re not like, getting a job. And like, all right, we’ll go fucking paint something on the wall here.
It’s just like, all right, there’s the walk in. We got a whole bunch of shit. Fucking make it taste good and look nice. And then do that every single night, every single day for the remainder of your time here. Like that or better, it’s judged on merit.
Like, what can you do that post today? That true cook thing. Like, all right, the new guy. I talk all this shit, right? That was great.
And then you fucking sync, dude, and then I’m bailing you out if I got to come and do your fucking job. Like, we have a problem. That was a great post. It was a good one. That’s the thing.
It’s become so obscene that they come in with this attitude just like, I need to fucking coddle you. No, I don’t. I don’t need to coddle you. Nobody coddled me. And I fucking turned out just fine.
Guess what? If you work the fucking fry and plancha station, you better be fucking prepped, because I’m not coming to do it for you. There is no cuddling in a kitchen. It’s not. But, like, it’s expected these days.
It’s 100% expected. They think that people are just going to get, like, a little pat on the ass and be like, all right, it’s okay, buddy. We’ll get them next time. And that’s not how it works, dude. It’s just not.
These guys will come in, like, at 03:00 all fucking stoned or fucking working off a hangover from the night before. And I’ve already fucking I got home at one, I’ve been up at seven, hit the gym, and already got to work fucking 5 hours before you even decided to show up. Opened everything, the whole fucking line set up and nobody has to worry about shit. But that’s not for you, dude. That’s for me.
I don’t do that shit for anyone else. I do it for me first. And foremost, this is what I need to do. And how close do you think kitchens, like true professional kitchens are to like, the military? Oh, they’re fucking neck and neck.
They’re right there. I know there’s the whole brigade system and stuff that we work on. But I mean, for the most part, not too many kitchens still use that. Not anymore. Now he’s going to be listening to this, but I’m going to say it.
We just had a guy leave. He’s moved to Pennsylvania. And he’s like he got hired as, like, the sous chef in this place in Pennsylvania. And it’s like the guy that fucking hired you as a sous chef probably doesn’t even understand what a real sous chef there’s no concept of, like, those titles anymore. Like, you see the ads on Indeed.
It’d be like, oh, we’re hiring a fucking pizza chef. No, dude, it’s not a pizza chef. Like, you’re a fucking cook. Like, you make pizzas. You know what I mean?
If you have an ad up for Domino’s and you’re fucking posting a pizza chef and you walk in and change your shit on Facebook and fucking Instagram and be like, I’m a pizza chef at Domino’s, like, no, dude, you’re a fucking robot. You’re a useless robot at this point. It’s not what it was. You don’t start from the bottom and work your way up anymore. And it’s not like unfortunately, it only goes so far.
There’s very few restaurants where it’s like, okay, that cook is really good. We’re going to bump him up and you’re going to be the sous chef. People go in and it’s like you said before, it’s just like, I just need to make ends meet. I’m just doing this because I have to pay my fucking outstanding Netflix bill or whatever. I can’t go home and watch fucking House of Dragons unless I get these, like, 3 hours of overtime.
I don’t fucking care about you and your house and dragons, dude. What have you done for anyone else lately? Hey, man, I need to pick up some overtime. My my only found’s account was locked. Yeah.
Looks like so ridiculous at this point. Well, no, I asked the kind of the military thing because to me that it’s like the line is like the trench, right? And I mean, it almost feels like the guy next to you is like your battle buddy. And I mean, I didn’t serve any military, but that camaraderie that comes out of it as well at the end of the shift, I mean, it’s like coming out of a firefight where it’s just like, you just look at each other and like, fuck yeah, right? And you should be proud about it as opposed to looking at the guy next to you and you’d be like, one more shift like that and you’re going to have a fucking knife in your side, dude.
Yeah, there’s been plenty of night. It’s like all those things have happened regularly. It happens constantly. It’s like, dude, fucking how long? Six minutes.
Okay, well, your fucking six minutes is actually twelve, so you want to meet somewhere in the middle, like, let’s figure this shit out. At least they told you six. Six is actually 1212 is 24. When I say how long? And your answer is melting cheese, I’m like, that’s not a fucking time, actually.
How long? It’s coming. It’s coming. So is fucking Christmas, dude. Let’s get that shit in the fucking window.
To me, I love the other 130 seconds. It’s like, okay, well, 30 seconds means half of it’s on the plate. I don’t even see the plate down. Yeah. As they’re like bending down to pull a burger out of the draw and fucking throw it like a frisbee onto the flat top, I’m like, come on, dude.
Like fucking nowhere close to three minutes, it’s never going to happen. That’s the how long? Two minutes. So is it working, Porterhouse? Medium well.
How long right now? As it’s like, going in the broiler, I’m like, oh, come on, dude. Just say you forgot it. Just just fucking be honest, man. That should have been the first one off the ticket.
Oh my God. Sometimes, I mean, we get some crazy nights where it’s just like it’s Porterhouse, Porterhouse, Porterhouse, tomahawk, Tomahawk, tomahawk. And they’re like, non stop. Just non stop.
So how much longer before chefs and cooks? I shouldn’t say chefs, but eventually it will be chefs. But it cooks, replaced by robotics and AI. It’s already happening some places. Oh, yeah.
I mean, fast food places. Yeah, it’s happening. I know. White Castle. Yeah, white Castle is a bunch of McDonald’s and stuff like that.
Yeah. Their friars are essentially all automated now. It’s all robotic. They have that one. I think that robot is called Flippy or something like that that will cook burgers and steaks and shit.
I don’t see it happening in like I don’t think like, eleven Madison Park is going to get any fucking Flippies anytime soon. But there’s going to be restaurants that are going to be like, probably the last man standing kind of thing, right? I could almost see it where at one point in our future where there’s going to be restaurants that are all, it’s robotic, there probably won’t be a soul in it. Right? That person is probably like just the tech guy that’s there to fix a robot if it breaks, couldn’t tell you anything about it.
And then there’s going to be restaurants that can be staffed with true cooks chefs, but there’s not going to be any middle in between. I think that’s pretty fucking depressing.
That’s a really fucking depressing thing to think about. The thing is, like, people put like, their heart they put all of themselves into this job. And to think that someone is so fucking brazen and be like, oh, we’re just going to cut the middleman out. We’re just going to have this robot flip burgers and fucking cook steaks and drop fries or whatever. That was someone’s fucking dream, you know what I mean?
And you just replaced it by a goddamn robot.
I’ve been seeing the writing on the wall for so long, where it was harder and harder, pre coded, just with product costs, right? Yeah. And I was part of a group, so we always had contracts in place. So I was paying like 1015 percent less than just the mom and pop place. So the larger your buying power was obviously dollars, the less you paid, which is I understand, but it’s like, man, so all the places that need the help are the ones paying the most.
100%. It’s already hard enough to stroke, the struggle to get by. And then so COVID happens, and they probably had bills racked up. And then we finally get out of COVID We kind of all right, things are somewhat stabilized, right? But that pricing is just fucking through the roof.
It’s crazy. And then they raise your minimums, and then they tell you, I mean, we had a company in Boston that was like we were set up for like, three days a week delivery, and it kept, like, a good rotation of stock. And all of a sudden it was like, oh, we’re not coming on Wednesday. The fuck you mean you’re not coming on Wednesday? What do we pay you for?
Everything will be there Friday. I’m going to fucking need double that on Friday. It got so obscene where it was just like, oh, we don’t have enough truck drivers. We don’t have enough this. We don’t have enough this.
Oh, here’s the $80 fuel surcharge. Here’s, this. Here’s, tax on this, tax on this. It became insane. Not like the prices of the product through the roof.
Yeah, but you know what? All of your chain places, they’re getting their deliveries. Of course they are. Now all of a sudden, the chain. People basically survive on serving fucking prison food.
Applebees is going to get a fucking delivery over, like, a place that gives a shit. And they’re going to pay 20% less, if not less than that. And the price on their menu, you’re going to look at it and you’re going to be like, it almost cost me that to put it on a plate. Yeah. It’s like, how are you supposed to compete with that?
Because now people are coming into your place and they’re like, well, dude, why is your burger $15? I can go over here and get it for nine. And I’ve heard this. I’ve done some consulting and just working with some of these guys, and that’s just how it is. We have a meat market, like, right down the street from us.
And they’re great. And they’re like they service all of Long Island incredible products. And they have this great burger blend. Literally. It’s $5 to break it down.
It’s $5 per patty just to put on the plate. So what are you left with a $20 burger at the end after you throw all this shit on there and then add like, slab bacon and this and that and all this, you know what I mean? And like labor and overhead. Like it all adds up. Yeah.
And who right now can go out to dinner and have a $20 burger when they just spent like $160 to fill up their gas or have a fucking $900 oil bill? The ones that came in for the two Tomahawks. Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s just not so bad. Yeah, but that’s what I’m saying.
The longer this plays out, the more we’re going to start seeing the more just the graveyards filled up with the mom and pop places. And the smaller restaurants, the medium sized ones will struggle to get through. But that’s why I’m saying soon enough it’s going to be all corporate chains operated by machines. And then you’re going to have your standalones that are just going to be kind of the last of the mohicans kind of shit that are just going to be your true chefs. And there’s always going to be just some of the stand outs and who knows, maybe some pop ups where it will be a thing again.
Underground dinner becomes like an actual thing. We’re going rogue. Yeah, the whole thing. And like the ghost kitchens and shit that are popping up now. People want to rent space.
There’s like a place down the road for me. I go on Grubhub and it’s like and you look at the address. It’s like three addresses for like the same one address for like three different places. Yeah. How is it even possible that’s like a Boston market that’s like three different chicken places out of one restaurant with the fucking get out of here.
They started doing that in San Francisco. They actually opened up. It was someone they opened just a ghost kitchen. It was a warehouse. And that’s all they were doing.
I forget how many kitchens were in it, but at one point they had eight different restaurants that were executing just out of that. And that was their only location. It wasn’t like, hey, some of them were like, oh, we’re just going to do our take out delivery out of there so they can focus on the kitchen. Which was like, hey, that would be nice. Not have to deal with fucking take out delivery out of the restaurant.
But some of them are just it’s amazing. It went over the top. I know. When COVID hit, I was still in Boston and nothing was open. Everything was shut down.
Everything was closed. So there was all these Bertucci’s restaurants. They’re like all over. It’s like Olive Garden in New York. They’re fucking everywhere.
But they were all closed. So then Eric Greenspan started that thing, mr. Beast Burger. And they were all working out of fucking. All the Bertucci, they were, like, basically paying the rent there.
Go in and serve takeout and send out burgers to everybody. And that’s just what happened. And it took off and it just, like, escalated from there. Now everything’s a ghost kitchen. Everyone’s like, got some little second restaurant inside a restaurant selling basically the same food or like, different products or different wrappers.
To me, people are paying for a full scale, like, a full restaurant experience through a ghost kitchen. The quality is not going to be there. We all know that once you put something into go box, quality drops significant, right? Yeah. And then once you start adding on time for delivery and all that stuff, you’re going to get maybe 10% of the quality that you started with.
Yeah. I think it just opens the door for more complaints. Well, yeah, if we run a restaurant, you have, like, nachos. I’m not even putting nachos on it to go menu. It’s not even going to be an option for you to take on.
My chips are soggy yeah, I bet they were. What can I do for you every time? Can I get, like, a muscle pot to go? No, you can’t, dude. You fucking can’t.
That sounds horrifying. Go sit down in a restaurant and eat them. And thank you for listening to this episode Up Inside the Pressure Cooker. If you enjoyed this episode and feel like you’re able to take something away from it, please go to Apple podcasts and rate and review us. If you don’t use Apple podcasts, please follow us as well as share this episode with a friend.
This is a publication by Rare Plus Media, hosted and produced by me from Rare Plus Media and myself, Chad Kelly. Thank you for listening. Keep kicking ass.