steel pans hanging up in commercial kitchen

Kitchen slang that every chef will know

Kitchen slang that every chef will know

Rachael Langley our consultant managing the role
Date posted: 05/05/2022

What does it take to be a pro in the kitchen? You need a good dose of energy, a dash of creativity and a whole load of passion. There's no place quite like a kitchen. And that's why some people are just born to be a chef.

And because no other work environment comes close to a kitchen, chefs have their own lingo that you won't find anywhere else. Read on to get the low down on kitchen slang as well as what opportunities you'll have to develop and grow in any of our kitchens. 

On the fly

Sometimes an order gets missed or forgotten, occasionally a ticket gets lost (or the printer runs out of paper...!) Hey, it happens. If this one is called out, you're up to cook it pronto.

"Table 4 are still waiting for their risotto. Can we get that one on the fly?"

86

You'll want to listen out for this one. For those not in the know, 86 means your kitchen is all out of a dish.  As soon as the last of a dish has gone out, the race against time to let the wait staff know begins before another one is ordered - although they do occasionally slip through the net! 

"Heads up, 86 all supergreen salad bowls."

Behind

A kitchen can be a very small, very hot environment and so structure and order is essential. With so many people working in close quarters everyone needs to be aware where everyone else is and what they’re doing at all times to avoid any kitchen collisions - hence why you’ll inevitably hear the cries of “behind!” from the start of the day to the end.

"Behind! Watch out, I'm right behind."

Corner

If you didn't already know this one, we're sure you've sussed it out by now. No one wants to walk around the corner with an armful of goodies only to collide with someone coming the other way. That just spells disaster.

"Corner! Hot plates are coming around the corner."

SOS

No need to be alarmed. This just means a guest wants the sauce on the side.

"Before you send that burger out, don't forget it's SOS."

Low boy

If you hear one of your fellow chefs mention a low boy, they're not talking about a guy in the kitchen team. You know those lowline fridges sitting under the counter? They're your low boys.

"Are you looking for sauces? Check the low boy."

Run the dish

This is another one not to take too literally. It's just to let the waiting staff know the dish is good to go.

"Food's up for table 21. Craig, can you run the dish?"

Fire it

You better get cooking if you're told to fire something because this dish is ready to go.

"Fire those steaks."

Two-top

You might hear two-top, three-top, four-top... you get the gist. All it means is two people are seated at the table. No doubt you'll prick up your ears when you hear a big table has been seated. But as long as you know how to handle the heat in the kitchen, you're all set.

"I've just seen two eight-tops walk in. So hold tight, we're going to get hit with some big orders!"

We're looking for more people to join our kitchen teams!

If this list of restaurant jargon hasn't got you ready for a job in the kitchen, we don't know what will!

So what are you looking for in a kitchen job? Do you want to be part of a team that knows just how to get the work done while having fun along the way? Maybe career progression matters to you, and you're looking to work your way up the kitchen. These are just a few of the reasons why people join our kitchen team.

If you're ready to start the search, check out kitchen assistant roles, chef jobs, or see if there's a head chef vacancy at an M&B business near you.

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