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Worst Kitchen Mistake

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
OK, another chance for us to expose ourselves and be honest for the sake of entertainment and to show we're human. What is one of the worst mistakes you've made in the kitchen?

I'll start, when I first started with Hyatt, many a year ago, I wanted so hard to please the chef so I volunteered to make a big batch of carrot mousse (the warm kind, poached in timbale) I ruined 25 pounds of carrots by purreeing the mixture using cold
manufacturing cream. Two buckets full of whipped cream with chunks of carrots, OUCH! Things only got better from that point as you can imagine.;)
post #2 of 40
My first internship from school at the Grand Hotel in Washington, DC. The Sous Chef Leng, a guy from Cambodia had me break down about 60 chickens for employee meal. I was to then roast them on sheet pans. After that we would make "dipping sauce".
After breaking down, pinching a nerve in my elbow (that to this day I can feel) roasting the chickens, putting them in hotel pans and cleaning up, I went to Leng and asked okay, what's next? He said "now we make the dipping sauce". I thought cool, I love oriental cooking. Maybe a soy based sauce or a sweet dipping sauce. Visions danced in my head. He asked "where are the sheet pans?" I told them I brought them to the dishwasher. He hit his head and said NO! We need them to make dipping sauce. I said I know. How. He said (in a fairly thick oriental accent)"With the dippings from the pans, you know dipping sauce"!!! You mean DRIPPING sauce from the DRIPPINGS?!?!Oh s_ _t! Score 1 point on Lengs "s_ _t list."
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
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http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #3 of 40
2nd mistake, same kitchen. We made hamburgers from fresh ground Top Round. I was told to break down a 40# round and grind it for burger. I set up the grinder and spent the next 90 minutes trying to grind expensive Top Round into burger meat with the plate on backwards! The Chef wondered what was taking so long, but I guess he just thought I was slow. Until Leng came up. I figured this meat just sucked and was full of gristle and sinew and stuff. It was coming out like pasty toothpaste in weird squiggly strands. Leng reset the machine correctly, and I ground the last 5# correctly. It looked a lot different than mine!! Point #2 on Lengs s_ _t list!:rolleyes:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #4 of 40
I might have posted this in the past, but it still rates as my most horrific kitchen mistake. I was 19, working in the pastry kitchen at the NY Hilton. I was creaming about 8 lb. of very cold butter in a 20 qt. mixer. I should never have walked away, because in about 3 minutes, the mixer had shimmied it's way to the edge of the table, and went crashing to the floor. The shop was without a 20 qt. mixer for the next week, and it was all because that new girl wasn't watching her butter.:o
post #5 of 40
Ouch!!!:cry:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #6 of 40
When I was 18, I was working in a top-shelf restaurant in Pittsburgh. I was told to brown the top of the foccacia that had just been layered with sage and paper thin slices of potato. I popped the tray under the salamander. Walked away... Talked to the dishwasher... Talked to the saute guy... Wiped down my area... Remembered the tray, about 15 minutes later. :eek: The "Towering Inferno" comes to mind. Not that the foccacia had been burned to a shriveled crouton, but the smoke coming out of the 7'4", 350# chef... immediately after I paniced and pulled the tray out of the salamander and set it down on his hand.
I never, ever walk away from a 'loaded' salamander to this day!

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #7 of 40
This has the makings of a very funny thread. Might I add one more? Before I went to school I was the evening cook at a local hospital. We had an industrial electric element broiler. The type that the whole top is red and flaming instead of rows like a gas one.
I was going to broil a sheet tray of hamburgers and I put them under the broiler. I didn't think about the gallon of flammable grease that was collecting on the pan. Just shy of flash point the F&B Director, an old English fellow with a gimp and a temper walked by. I pulled the tray out and as they taught us in science class the addition of oxygen to a flame created a towering inferno as well nearly catching him on fire as well. He hopped back and in a very flustered English accent said something like "are you just going to stand there or do something"? I was in a bit of shock but luckily didn't throw water on it. Instead I grabbed salt I think (thank god it wasn't flour!!!) and doused it as he walked away grumbling. I kept my job but not without a significant amount of help from the Chef! Learned a lesson though, I did!:bounce:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #8 of 40
This happened at home, my new home, when I had the family over for thanksgiving. I was making popovers and put a little bit too much grease in the pans. the batter pushed the fat out, it caught fire, and imitating a chef who used to pour milk on the smoldering cheese from the onion soups on the broiler, I poured milk on a grease fire. they could see the orange glow from the flames pouring out the top of the stove from around the corner in the living room. I stood there paralyzed, thinking there goes my investment. My brother, who owns the other half of the duplex, leaned over and shut the door, eventually smothering the fire.
It's not Dairy Queen.
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It's not Dairy Queen.
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post #9 of 40

I tried to "dazzle" her with my cooking prowess....

When I was a teenager, and had just started in restaurtants, I had a date with this girl from work. She thought I was the best cook at the pancake house... Anyhow, she loved oriental food, and I thought I would try to impress her with my "cooking knowledge". I grew up with canned chow mein, and we might "spice it up" by adding frozen peas or something like that. I had no clue as to how to make a stirfried anything, but of course that didn't stop me. And I wouldn't tell her.
I go to the grocery store, grab the canned bean sprouts and water chestnuts and as I grab the canned chow mein, I decide I'll make some sort of tasty seafood thing. So I buy a piece of Dover Sole.
She arrives, I have a table set, cheap wine, the whole bit. I heat up a skillet and start some oil to heat and put in the sole. It spontaneously disintegtrates into this goo. So I throw in the veggies. Now I have fish goo covered veggies. I plate it up and we sit. She takes one bite, downs the glass of wine and smiles politely. I get the message. We went out for burgers!
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #10 of 40
one time I sliced about 80 or 100 portions of ham, and didn't realize till the next day that there was a layer of wax paper on the ham, so I went to the manager and told him, guess what I had to do.... I had to take every portion of ham, sliced paper thin I might add, and tear all the edges off, without losing too much meat.
Another time I went into the cooler to grab a couple of buckets of spaghetti sauce, so I could put it in the steamer to heat, well about an hour later when I took the sauce out of the steamer, I found out that someone had put a lid marked spaghetti on a bucket filled with pancake batter.
oh yeah and I flooded the soup area a couple of times, I had just emptied the soup of sauce that I had made, then I was filling the pot with water so it could soak until the dishwasher got around to scrubbing it, the first time I just left the tap on and went for coffee (talk about brain dead), the second time I think I was organizing my storage areas in the basement.
within the last six months, I accidentally overflowed the deepfryer filter, that was a blast, and took a wheel barrow of kitty litter and over an hour to clean. someone had changed to oil, and forgot to pump the old oil out of the filter, so I come along, open up the filter switch to clean my fryer, walk away to get my cleaning tools, come back to the mess. and I got blamed for it, by the guy who left the filter full, 'because I should have looked'.
post #11 of 40
Thread Starter 

shanks a lot!

I forgot 2 square heads of braising lamb shanks in the oven over night. Bye Bye lamb, Hello best lamb demi you ever had! I yelled out,"I worked long and hard on these things, and THIS IS THE SHANKS I GET!" bada boom. At least it broke the tension of the moment.:eek:
post #12 of 40
We were having my mother in law for Sunday lunch in our house for the fist tiem after our marriage.

I wanted to impress her of course so I chose a typical Greek dish , I knew she loved to have and she wpuld appreciate : Yiouvarlakia.

This is a kind of meat balls with rice, tomato sauce and cooked in a casserole.

According to my recipe just before you place them in the casserole you sprinkle some flours all over them.

By mistake instead of flour I took the caster sugar....

They were smelling so great and when we sat at the table she tasted first. She is a very nice lady and she didn't tell a word...
I was the next to taste them and they were so sweet that at the beginning I thought that they were salty... Imagine...

Nick who is not as polite as his nice mother when he put one in his mouth he started laughting like crazy ...

My poor mother in law didn't want to upset me and she refused to give me her plate and she had them ALL !!!!

At least she didn't ask for the recipe...

:rolleyes:
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #13 of 40
i really shouldn't be laughing at these posts. as yesterday i was just htinking about stupid mistakes when i realized that the fresh pot of coffee i had just brewed was really tea. seems my significant other had thrown a package of loose leaf(unlabeled) up next to the coffee. i couldn't figure out why my coffee didn't smell right until i poured a cup. :p oh, well i threw the rest into the gingersnaps i was making and they're probably some of the best i've made yet!!! ;)
post #14 of 40
In my experience, bread in a broiler or salamander has two states: raw and charred. It goes from the first to the second the instant your attention wanders.:mad:
Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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Dave Bowers
"First, slice an onion..."
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post #15 of 40
I've posted this before so let's just say it involved throwing a large quantity of bourbon on a very hot flat-top to "show off a bit" for the customers.(open kitchen) Needless to say, it took awhile for my eyebrows, moustache, etc to grow back. As for the customers, I believe "terrified" would be the correct term to use. :eek:
Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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Incredibly, edibly, adequate!
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post #16 of 40

In my brief experience

Standing next to the opening oven door. You should see my scar.

And yes, Virginia, skin does in fact bubble when you get a third degree burn.

Of course, the burn also killed the nerves, so it didn't start hurting for a week.

Bad combo- hot things and an absentminded chef....

~~Shimmer~~
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea"
- Henry James
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post #17 of 40
Thread Starter 

flambe'

Never order flambe' from a Maitre'D with no eye brows;)

One of our broiler cooks tossed an entire bottle of lighter fluid on the mesquite one day. It took a while for facial hair to grow back, he looked like he had a really bad sunburn for weeks. Of course the joke was that his cooking was measured on the Scoville scale.
post #18 of 40
Cream cucmber soup. Dare I say more?
Bill
post #19 of 40
okay, i can top it, all...beleive me almost nothing can top this,
okay, we have ovens with their own hood systems, like a combi, and im placing ducks in to render on convection, well something drew my attention away, you know busy friday night and im int the back of a show kitchen, running food to the line studs, so i basically walked away, well the battered digital oven ran on convection at four hundred, way too hot, and burned the ducks, no problem, except the hood systems all have an accompanying fire detection system, which isnt a problem , you know the alarm goes off and you shut the dam thing down, well there is a hitch , see im in a resort here, its late, almost ten oclock at night, and all three of our restaurants are full, with a wait, and the resorts three hundred rooms are sold out to full capacity, so now, as this dumn sh*t new guys sets off the smoke alarms, every guest must be evacuated fifty yards from the resort, and all gas shut off, mandatory visit from the fire department and police with their accompanying ambulances. well after the fireman go in and go over the system and talk witht the chefs and managers and explain what happen, everyone is free to go back in and recook all the now free food for the twoo hundred pissed off free wine drinking diners, the chef was impressed with my work ethic and decided to let me live and keep my job...i wont tell what i had to do to keep it but the chefs and all told everyone that dust in the elevator shaft set off the alarm . that was two years ago, everyone that worked in the resort has gone, i remain, and in the time i have been there, i have never ever agin, burnt a single thing.
post #20 of 40
Thread Starter 

Fire dept.

I know the smoke problems, at the Hyatt we had a ventilation shaft leak and whenever we smoked chicken in the mesquite broiler the hotel fire alarm would go off and the fire dept would come. We finaly got it fixed but I suggested to the GM at the time that we should take a pic with the fire dept and run an ad for Hyatt's famous "5 Alarm Chicken". Well,......I thought it was funny....:rolleyes:
post #21 of 40
I used to work at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Now mind you this is a landmark hotel in DC having been built in the 1800's and hosting something like every inaugeral ball except 1 since then. The hotel has been upgraded in many areas but it is still old. I remember walking to the room service office in the kitchen and walking past a small trap door in the venilation dust that ran across the low ceiling. The trap door had opened from the weight of a dead rat that had been there for awhile and was apparently stuck to the door. Nice picture.
But one afternoon as the banquet kitchen was preparing for a large late afternoon party a legendary August thunderstorm downpour came across the area and dumped on us. Why this time and not before I don't know, but the rain filled all the air vents, duct work, fire damper systems etc and poured down on the hot line. Dumping water into the ovens, stoves, hot fryers. Grease was exploding everywhere, pans of food were flooding, the power was shut down and the fire department of course showed. Nothing more than another delay. It all got cleaned up the party went off almost as planned a little late. Luckily my kitchen was spared so I could sit back and watch the fireworks.
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
Reply
post #22 of 40

It wasn't me but...

One day we were getting ready for a special winemakers dinner at work.
The first dish was a seafood consomme. We had been lovingly preparing it over two days. Vegetables and spices carefully sauteed, lots of skimming, flavour bases made seperately and added, clarification, the whole deal.
Twenty minutes before the dinner was to be served the head chef somehow knocked over the whole pot . Everyone in the kitchen stopped and stared as we watched the rich red liquid ooze toward the back door. I think I even went to grab the dustpan and brush, such was my desire to save some of the beautiful soup, though it only took another split second to register that you can't serve soup that has been on the floor, let alone in a dustpan.
In total silence everyone began cutting up veg and looking for fish stock really quickly.
We managed to make a pretty nice fish broth in the remaining 15 minutes and everyone was secretly glad that it was the head chef who knocked the soup over, otherwise our lives would have been ****.
As it was, he didn't let us joke about it for a week.
post #23 of 40
We had a dishwasher who once threw out 9 gallons of lobster consumme, because he thought that it was dirty water left from cleaning the steam kettle.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #24 of 40
Another time, we were having a very VIP party. The wife of the guest of honor brought in a cake, so I put it in the beer & wine cooler which is kept locked most of the night and is accessed by only a few people. Well, we warned all the bartenders, but I forgot to warn one of the owners. Later that night I walked in to the cooler to find the top of the cake smashed. As I related my finding to one of the owners, his face grew pale, and in a quite voice admitted to being the one who sat on it. He had gone into the cooler to take stock of the dessert wines and while doing so sat on what he thought was a case of wine. He felt it sag a little but thought nothing of it until I told him what happened. The cake was beyond repair so our only option was to cut pieces of it and plate it on our oversized glass platters (each 4 feet long). By the time we were done no one, except the wife, knew what had happened.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #25 of 40

True Story

Petes dishwasher post made me think of something a new cook did many years agos. Now this guy had zero expereance, The sous chef in the kitchen needed a bushel of little neck clams washed and scrubed for a raw bar. He gave them to this new guy and told him the wash the clams, he procceded to dump the buchel of clams into a silverware dishwashing flat and he ran it through the commercial dish machine!!! Well, the clams sure were clean, and the chowder we made from the dish water wasn't to bad either.
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #26 of 40
This is not earth-shattering, but I always smile when I think of it.

My son got a job at Arby's when he was 15 1/2. When he was still very new, someone ordered a cup of coffee. He got them a cup from the big coffee urn on the counter. Later the customer came back, told him the stuff was tasty, but it wasn't coffee--and could he have some coffee. Turns out it was the "au jus" that they'd put in the coffee urn to keep it warm.
Another time, same Arby's, there was an older lady employee (of course his standard of older could mean late 20's), was filling the ketchup spigot during a busy lunch time. Her container was an open bucket of ketchup. On the way back to the kitchen, surrounded by customers, she slipped. She tried to catch the ketchup bucket but it went up as she went down. My son saw it and said it was surreal and like in slow motion as the ketchup container came down, some customers tried to help the lady, but the container hit the floor, ketchup flew out splashing the customers, the counter, all over the floor, and even some hit the cieling.

H.
post #27 of 40

Small, but funny

My kitchen disaster was when a girl at the sorority house left her pet fish in a styrofoam cup next to the dishwasher while she ran upstairs to get something. Along comes the housekeeper, who, unknowingly, dumped the cup in the garbage disposal. I heard this yelling, crying little girl, saying, "You didn't!" and the houskeeper saying, "I did!" I ran over to te disposal and found that thankfully the housekeeper hadn't turned it on yet. The girl fled to her room, crying. I had the housekeeper keep dumping cold water down the disposal while I fished around for the fish. I finally felt the poor thing squirming as I sifted hrough the garbage. Out came a healthy and unharmed fish. The girls all laughed, and ran upstairs to get the fish's owner. Happy ending:)
Laughter is the medicine of life
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Laughter is the medicine of life
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post #28 of 40
ruined? dude, all you had to do was heat it up and melt the cream down.

<EDITED FOR OFFENSIVE CONTENT>
post #29 of 40
Well, I was 13 and my Dad tasked me with doing nothing for our mother’s birthday dinner. I was sitting on the couch and then my mother had an issue with the computer and so he walked over to the computer to help out (angrily) and told me to cook the friend rice.

I was ok with that because I know how to make it. The issue was, I forgot how long I was supposed to cook it for. I ended up cooking it for ten minutes and then I asked him if I should stop. No. Another ten minutes. No. Another ten. No.

He fixed the problem and then walked over and screamed that I had overcooked the fried rice. L

Another time I was making miso soup and then it boiled over and I cried and dumped it down the drain.
post #30 of 40
wow you all have brightened my day with these stories, and just to let you know there is a book about this kind of stuff called Dont try this at home. Its all stories by a bunch of famous chefs about accidents they have had in the kitchen..
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