My first chef was great. Very kind, gentle, always cracking a joke or two in the kitchen.
Very good at teaching, very generous with giving us information and teaching us new techniques. VERY PACIENT.
Now after having all these positive attributes her one negative you ask....? SHE WAS AGGRESSIVE.
No she didn´t beat us up or anything, but you have to admit when someone teaches you, shares info with you, is nice, pacient, kind etc.. and you still f*ck up then you are deserving of a good shout and cursing.
I remember one time after working in the kitchen for awhile i made a rookie mistake.
I was working in a Italian/Country Restaurant with my first chef/mentor for the second time in a different place. So i was already in good terms with her from the ghetco.
I was prepping somethings for dessert (sautee and dessert was my station on this restaurant) and i was a bit busy and just had so many things to do and such little time this day. I think we had an event with our regular service and the event accounted for some new ice cream cake i was making and some pies, and semifredos, i was just packed with icecream and pie crusts for these event reservations that i was unable to complete some basic things for regular service.
There was this icecream cake that i used to make that rarely ever sold, it was good, but it was just not a high seller, like the other desserts. Anyway it was usually accompanied by a sauce, and this day me being packed with other tasks for dessert, and still prepping things for salad/cold apps and sautee i was a bit in the weeds.
Service starts, and i was busy from the beginning. Sending out apps in general, bruschettas, helping hot apps on risottos, making salads, working sautee, damn this day we were mad busy and i didn´t even have time for a bathroom break. It didn´t help we had hired some extra unseful hands in the kitchen to work with us (she claimed she was a chef, but couldnt even peel oranges at decent speed). Anyway mid service some couples finished there meals and my desserts were flying, my icecream cake though was not being sold at all. Pies were out all day, semifredo, strawberry pie, banana fosters, everything, but this cake just wouldnt leave the fridge.
1 hour before service SH*T HAPPENS.
20 Clients or so walk in. All reservations.... important people. They eat there meal and...... BUY 20 SLICES OF ICECREAM CAKE.
First one cake doesnt give off 20 slices.... second THERE WAS NO SAUCE. Me being busy didnt make the sauce because even on fast nights the cake hardly ever sold. Well imagine little old me in the kitchen scrabbling because of some stupid sauce i didn´t make. Well the Chef found out (as all good chefs do). And yeh she cursed at me, swore,got angry, went on a rage. Of course the kitchen was not an open kitchen so just the kitchen staff heard. But i was embarrassed. Rookie mistake that shouldn´t have even been made.
I had to delay all the deserts for 20 people just to make a stupid sauce to serve. THANK GOD I HAD MADE 2 ICE CAKES, or im positive it would have been a lot worse.
SO do i think being verbally aggresive in the kitchen is okay?? In a way yes, it depends on the kitchen. It depends on the chef. If the chef has your respect, teaches, and you DESERVED IT, then i don´t think there is any reason for you to even feel offended by some words in the kitchen. Now if the chef is terrible, and just shouts for the sake of shouting thinking that will get his point across well.... i don´t think it would be wrong for you to feel offended, and maybe even get defensive.
A chef that screams/shouts and offends others for NO REASON, with no control, and is contributing to the choas and disruption of the flow in the kitchen, needs to back off and maybe find a new way to handle problems. Now if the staff also gets easily offended i think they should also know that "what happens in the back of the house, stays there" and in some situations the chef can justify being agressive during service, but never after... If he is an offensive/aggressive after service, then maybe he/she is just simply an a-hole or lacks people skills.
As for Ramsay, it is Hell´s Kitchen, the name speaks for itself...