Kitchen Jargon Glossary
Nick Morrison | Chef's Blade
(number)-top A table with a certain number of customers at it. A table of 4 is a “four top”.
-off Suffix added to certain words related to applying heat to food (i.e. bake, cook, saute, grill, brown, sear) for no good reason. e.g. “Brown off that meat when you’re done with the veg, ok?”
86 The kitchen is no longer able to make a dish on the menu and it’s now unavailable.
All day A listing of all of the dishes a station should have cooking at any given time. “Order, 2 filet rare, 1 medium. With the last table’s filet rare and ribeye med rare, that’s 3 filet rare, 1 filet medium, and a ribeye med rare all day.”
Bain/bain marie “Mary’s bath” in French, a hot water bath, like a double boiler but with the water not quite as hot. “Bain” alone can also refer to a cylindrical metal container used to to hold the food part of a bain marie.
Board A strip of metal that order tickets hang from. aka “rail”.
BOH Back Of House, the kitchen, walk-in, dry goods, any area where you don’t deal with customers. Also refers to the group of people who work there (chef, cooks, dishwashers, etc.).
Chix An abbreviation for chicken. This is only written, never spoken.
Count When you’re running low on something, the number of portions that can be made before you run out and the dish is 86’d. “We got a count of 4 on lamb, spread the word.”
Duece A table of two.
El diablo! What some devout Catholic kitchen workers may say to the stereo when you play punk rock, metal, or out jazz.
Expediter, expo The person who coordinates incoming tickets from the front of the house, dispatches orders to the cooks, and assembles and plates the components into completed dishes. Also responsible for quality control. Also refers to the station or position, as in “who’s on expo tonight?”.
Family meal Staff meal, usually served family-style, that all staff eat together. Briefings on the upcoming shift’s menu often take place at this time.
Fire A command to start cooking a dish that has been previously “ordered”. The server watches the table and anticipates when the guests will be ready for their next course and then tells the expediter to fire the next course for a table, and the expediter will then tell the cooks what dishes to fire. Cooks are responsible for coordinating when to start cooking the different components so they’re all ready at the same time.
FNG Fucking New Guy
FOH Front Of House, the dining room, or any area where you deal with customers. Also refers to the group of people who work there (servers, host, bartenders, sommelier, etc.)
GBD Golden, Brown, and Delicious. The ideal state for fried and seared items, as in, “fry until GBD”.
In the shit Really, seriously in the weeds.
In the weeds/weeded Busy to the point of being overloaded and falling behind. As in, “I’m getting in the weeds here, can I get some help?” and “The host booked 14 tables all for 8:00 and we got weeded.”.
kill it Well done; cook it into oblivion
La migra Immigration police. Immigration-related jokes are the only things completely banned in the kitchen by social contract. They are NOT FUNNY, will probably get you a well-deserved and serious ass-kicking, and may scare some kitchen staff into never coming back to work. This costs them their jobs and livelihood and the kitchen valuable workers. Don’t do it. EVER.
Low-boy An under-the-counter refrigerator
Mark To grill something until it has visible grill marks, at which point it’s often taken off the grill and cooking is finished in an oven.
Med Abbreviation for medium, as in “med rare” or “med well”. Rhymes with “head”.
Meez Mise en place
Mise en place “Set in place” in French, the setup of ingredients at a station that a cook makes their dishes from. The grill station might have salt, pepper, oil, BBQ sauce, and various cuts of meat and fish.
Mota Any chopped green herb used as garnish (“marijuana” in Spanish).
On the fly Make it fast, ASAP. “The server forgot to put this ticket in, I need one caesar and two scallop apps on the fly!”
Order A command to start preparing to make a dish, but don’t actually start yet. For example, if a table orders appetizers and a main, the expediter will “order” them both when the ticket comes in, but only “fire” the appetizers immediately.
Picking up A command to bring whatever components you made for this dish to the expediter now. aka “to the window” or “to the pass”.
Protein Generic term for the protein component of a dish—meat, fish, poultry, or even “meat substitute” like tofu or seitan. Does not refer to eggs.
Queez Cuisinart, or generic term for any food processor.
Rail A strip of metal that order tickets hang from. aka “the board”.
Reach-in A tall, upright refrigerator, like what you’d find in a home kitchen, only without the freezer part.
Robot-Coupe A French brand of food processor. Sometimes used as a generic term for any food processor, like Cuisinart. Pronounced “ROBO-coop”.
Rubber Finger cot, used for covering an entire finger that has been cut. So named for it’s strong resemblance to a small condom.
Sizzle, sizzle platter An oval metal platter used for broiling, finishing grilled proteins in the oven after it’s bee marked, and transporting food not in a saute pan to the expediter.
Slam out/bang out/jam out/rock out To work extremely efficiently to keep up with high order volume.
Speed rack A vertical rack on wheels that holds sheet pans.
Temperature Level of done-ness a protein should be cooked to, e.g. medium rare.
The floor The dining room.
To the window/to the pass A command to bring whatever components you made for this dish to the expediter now. aka “picking up”.
Walk-in A refrigerated room, usually in the basement, that constitutes most of the restaurant’s refrigerated storage.
Water An alcoholic beverage brought to a cook in the kitchen.
Whiz To blend anything in a food processor, blender, or hand/immersion blender.
Working Food that is actively being cooked is “working”.