All hail! Part I : The Pig
September 10, 2007, 2:19 pm
Filed under: Opinion

WELCOME: to part one of Rise’s new series “all hail!” I’ve never really come across a good explanation of the unique heir achy and and associated terminology that encompasses the modern kitchen. In this series I will try and lay out all the positions in their true (sometimes ugly) reality including some of my own experiences (I have, at some point of my career so far, occupied almost every level). Please excuse some of the language, this is just another reality of working in hospo. Till next time – James


“Be wary the pig, for he has nowhere to go but up”

Almost everyone can recall the “first-day-jitters”, well, for the pig, life is one long first day! You’re the newbie, the last in the gate, no-one quite knows your name yet (in the pigs case, no-one really wants to) you’re there for one, and only one reason: “wash the dishes pig!”

Being the pig is were we all start out, it’s usually our first taste of grunt work and, more often than not, is our first taste of that wild world we all come to know as hospo. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great experienced pigs out there, but these guys and girls tend to have dropped the “pig” label long ago and simply become “part of the family”. The life of a pig is a simple one, you exist within working hours solely to perform three very simple tasks:

  • Wash dirty dishes
  • Clean up after everyone else in the kitchen
  • and then, Wash more dishes

It can be a fairly disheartening experience, think of it like a kind of distorted initiation into your new profession. You probably have higher aspirations, dreams even, but these require that all elusive quality that every employment ad was seeking “experience” and you didn’t have any. Well, this is were you’re going to start getting some!

I always like job ads for pigs, they usually read something like…

Wanted: dish-hand for busy premise, must be punctual, starting rates, no experience necessary.

However in reality things should probably read more like…

Needed: new slave for regular punishment, if you’re ever late you will be dismembered, don’t even ask about the pay, welcome to your new hell!

Well anyway, you get the idea.

Being the pig, everyone is above you, but none more so than the general (we shall cover him later) he’s the big man of the kitchen (in saying man I am not intentionally leaving women out, things seem to get rather omni-gendered at this level) and, if you’re lucky he’ll just ignore you for the duration of your stay at the pot-sink. However should he take a liking to you (I use this phrase very lightly!) expect all kinds of hell! One particular general I worked under years ago liked nothing more, than to slide white hot pans at break-neck speeds from the hots to the pot sink ALONG THE FLOOR! The prerequisite “HOT PAN!” would be bellowed only milliseconds before the searing metal would come crashing into ones ankles, leaving lots of tiny little burns along one’s shins. Whilst morally deplorable, in practice it must be said that, if nothing else, this particular “gentleman” did teach me the value of good reflexes whilst working in the kitchen. There’s plenty more stories, just ask anyone who is or has ever been the pig.

So welcome! This is your freshman term. The best advice? Just keep your head down and, for the love of god, don’t ask about breaks! You are the pig today, if you’re good (or maybe, if someone else is bad) you could be something better by tomorrow.

P.s – Make sure you check back tomorrow for the next installment of “the truth about” this time i’ll be introducing you all to one of my all time favorite basics Aioli.


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