Working in the service industry can be tough thanks to the long hours and demanding customers – not to mention the heat of the kitchen which can push people past their breaking point.
So, for the millions of individuals employed in the hospitality sector, there is always a chance for things to go wrong.
British catering equipment supplier Nisbets recently carried out a poll of hospitality workers and asked them to reveal their most dubious catering mishaps – and it has now published its top six.
Here is the list of most controversial ‘confessions’ extracted from its research.
1. Work hard, play hard
We’ve all heard of newbies being sent on pointless errands on their first day – whether it’s to purchase some tartan paint, acquire a chocolate teapot or locate a left-handed screwdriver.
One chef spotted an opportunity to have a laugh at his new kitchen porter’s expense – after all, how can you argue with the head chef on your first day?
CONFESSION: “I once got the kitchen porter to walk a lobster around a car park for exercise.”
2. Out of the frying pan…into the fire
One sous chef didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with a waiter and decided the best way to shut him up was to stick him in the pizza oven. Thankfully kitchen staff were on hand to hold back the angered chef, meaning the waiter avoided a good roasting.
CONFESSION: “My massive sous chef fell out with a waiter once in an open kitchen, pulled him over the pass and I had to stop him from putting him in the pizza oven.”
3. Secret pizza toppings
A student cook working in a bar decided that some interesting ingredients left on the kitchen floor may still serve a purpose.
CONFESSION: “I used to work at a bar where we did free pizzas and garlic bread every Friday. I was unfortunately appointed to cook the food in a kitchen that hadn’t been cleaned properly or used in years. The oven trays were wonky and without a doubt, I would drop the food every time. Still, I would pick up the pizza off the dirty floor and pile it onto a plate to hand out to the customers. No one ever found out my dirty little secret.“
4. She met her mash
This time it’s the front-of-house staff in a spot of bother in this case of the flying potato. Though it’s a messy business, somehow airborne flecks of food are still the source of good old fashioned pantomime humour it seems.
CONFESSION: “I used to work for a catering company that had really high clientele. I was working at an important conference one day and I was clearing their main meals off the table. As I was clearing one lady’s plate, the knife suddenly fell and flicked mash potato all over her hair. Luckily she never noticed, and I quickly finished the rest of the table and hurried back off into the staff room.”
5. Smart sabotage
It can be the little things in the heat of the moment which can tip anyone over the edge. This sous chef was keen to put a twist on the food they suspected was being taken from hungry staff members.
CONFESSION: “I was a sous chef in a restaurant and for some reason a lot of the food that I prepped for the next day would do missing when I left in the evening. I had a gut feeling it was the staff who worked behind the bar as a lot of them were young students, so I assumed they must be taking it home to feed themselves. Fed up with having to constantly re-prep, I decided to get some revenge and I put extremely hot chillies, wasabi and any Other less than appetising condiments into some of the food that would usually go missing. One of them got really sick and it never happened again.“
6. Revenge is a dish best served cold
In this scenario, it was the noisy neighbours who were causing disruption in the kitchen. But the staff had an ingenious way of getting their own back.
CONFESSION: “I used to work in a restaurant that shared a plumbing system with the two flats above it. Whenever one particularly grumpy resident showered, we’d make sure we had the dishwasher on and both sinks running to give them a cold shower.”