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Quick fixes, shortcuts and cheats...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I know we shouldn't, we owe our paying customers the best. But we've all done it when we've got slammed or have had a particularly bad day - or haven't we???

I'm looking for both the outrageous and the intelligently improvisational. We might even learn something from it for those days when we're out of our depths...


Personally, so far, I haven't really got up to any truly naughty stuff in the kitchen, but I have helped a thick steak along in the microwave while the rest of the ticket was dying on the pass, or I have forgotten to get the potato gratin side out of the fridge and microwaved and then blitzed it under the salamander as the remainder of the ticket was being plated.


Once, a huge stockpot full of creamy squash soup went sour on me in the heat of a thundery summer just minutes before it was going to be served to a wedding party. I knocked up a new batch within 15 minutes from leftover squash and carrots, potatoes, water and bouillon powder that had been gathering dust in the back of the kitchen shelf for ages, because it's a no-no in my kitchen... :eek:


What have you got up to?

post #2 of 7
I got really angry at a customer and deep fried their burger once. The f$@ker loved it too. They ordered it medium rare kept sending back actually wanted well done. It seems likes it's anyways the temps you nail are the ones that come back, I'll set a steak in the pass say to myself "that steak was perfect the best I've cooked in months" and it'll come back to be hammered. Those are the nights I cry myself softly to sleep. I also washed gravy off a meatloaf that was SOS and stuck it back in the oven. Wow I feel better it's like going to confession.
post #3 of 7



I've definitely seen steaks go into the fryer after being sent back to be cooked more...

post #4 of 7
I once witnessed a turkey steak cooked to temp (165 F) in 2 1/2 minutes flat. Back when I was a lowly peon in a banquet kitchen the servers screwed up the count or something like that and they needed another turkey steak like 10 minutes ago. I watched the kitchen manager throw it in the deep fryer for about a minute and then hit it with a jaccard a few times and then proceed to finish it on the flat top grill. He was using ridiculous amounts of butter oil and scraping the hot oil from underneath the steak and letting it drip into the holes on the topside to cook it through. It actually worked though and to my surprise it didn't come back to the kitchen either.
post #5 of 7

 Nothing negative immediately come to mind but then I would prefer to forget those events anyway. Maybe something will come back later.

    I do remember once forgetting to thicken the gravy for something I was making until after I added all the solids. Rather than dump everything back out and strain the entire pot, I stuck a fine chinois in the pot, let the liquid strain in, thickened that and then lifted the strainer back out. I called it reverse straining. Worked like a charm and I've been doing it ever since. 

     Then again, there was the time I dumped an entire batch of pancake batter on a loaded grill during Sunday brunch. There were no shortcuts for that. Everything was a do over. 

The microwave has come in handy on more than one occasion. 

post #6 of 7

One "shortcut" I remember was a practical joke played on a 1st yr apprentice.  This guy was always looking for an easy way to do things, and when it came time to clean out the fryer,  a cook appealed to  the apprentice's sense of smart.  He told him that fryer oil could be "cleared" just like consomme, just stir in a few eggwhites in the warm fryer and let it sit for a while.  Apprentice cranks up the heat, trots off to the patisserie, grabs a whole liter of eggwhites, and dumps them into the fryer.  Within seconds this huge eggwhite cake comes up a'risin' out of the fryer--like a Steven King film  expanding grossly and dribbling hot oil all over the place.  Took teh eejit almost two hours to clean up, and the floor was greasy for days.....


But seriously, most of the cheats and shortcuts I learned were in the Swiss army.  We would get a lot of expired product from mnfctrs like Hero and Knorr.  Once we got two cases of the 1/4 ltr (250 ml) tetra bricks of Hollandaise.  That stuff is boil-proof, it'll never break.  We used this as a base for mayo and salad dressing--just whisked in veg oil and vinegar and the resulting salad dressing was bomb-proof--it would never split.


We also used to get canned stew.  This came in individual serving cans, pork stew with white beans, and for some reason it earned the nick name "John Wayne"  Stuff was gross, but we had to make do.  What we did was empty 200 cans in a huge collander, and with the garden hose, hosed off all the factory sauce.  Then we made a new suace with chopped onions cleary root, and pkgd Knorr demi-glace.  Actually didn't taste too bad.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #7 of 7

I used to cook breakfast at a place (my first line cooking gig) that did their eggs on the flat top, with rings to keep them circular.

These rings would get slightly bent, allowing some of the white to leak out.

We always kept the far right burner off, and would do the eggs near that end.

Any egg white that seeped out was trimmed off with the spatula, flicking the offending white to the cool side of the grill.

Many time upon flipping, the egg yolks would break, sometimes just a little tear, but enough to leak.

We would rush to redo those eggs.

One day this happened, and I'm looking at the egg white scraps, still nice and white, so I cut a little piece off with the spat. and seared it on the hot grill, then slapped it on the leaky yolk.

Sealed right up, sent the eggs out.

This became normal for me.

One day shortly after the head cook sees me doing it and asks me what the hell I'm doing.

After explaining, he laughs, tells me it's the stupidest thing he's ever seen, and proceeds to tell everyone he can about what I'm doing.

Within a week EVERYONE was doing it, including the head cook.


Long winded story, sorry.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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