1. You know what lowboy, walk-in, reach-in, range, flat-top, six and / or nine pan, and grill brick refer to.
2. You also know that burger, fish tub, hotel (half, two-inch, or four), yogurt, all day, and fire mean something completely different than what most people think.
3. You never have to pay a cover charge or stand in line at a bar because you (and your fellow cooks) are the only ones there on a Monday or Tuesday night.
4. You smell like food constantly. Your hair, hands, clothes, underwear, everything. There is no way around it.
5. And it’s unfortunate, because sometimes you are just too tired to shower. After all, four consecutive days of 12-hour shifts, all of which end after midnight, can be pretty exhausting.
6. But that won’t stop you from going out post-shift. The only social life you can really maintain is one with fellow cooks, so you can’t really afford to pass up their offer to hang out at the nearest bar until last call, can you?
7. On that rare night off, you usually go out to eat at another restaurant. At which point, you order one of everything on the menu, but then they send you triple that because they know you or someone in your group of cooks.
8. And it’s a good thing, too, because you never have any money. You need all the help you can get.
9. You get burned so frequently that you have come to realize it’s more important to get an order out than it is to take off the glove that is currently melting to your skin. That’s also why you have scars all along your hands and forearms.
10. In fact, getting high-quality orders out with impressive ticket times has become your number one priority in life. No spill, burn, cut, or otherwise will keep you from accomplishing that task.
11. You bike to work. It’s cheap, it’s sometimes the only exercise you can get, and everyone else at work does it.
12. You have come to realize Crocs are actually comfortable, and are the perfect no slip.
13. You have an array of baseball hats and bandanas in your closet because you can never have too many hair restraints.
14. You know what it feels like to wear long pants in the summer…while working over a 130° stove.
15. You never go to a restaurant within an hour of closing because you hate when guests do that to you…
16. Usually because you have already started breaking down your station an hour before the restaurant actually closes.
17. You’ve started using kitchen talk in everyday life. No matter how hard you try, you can’t stop telling people at the grocery store when you’re behind them, or acknowledging that you understand something with the ever useful “heard.”
18. You love eating staff meal, but you hate making it because it always puts you in the weeds.
19. You understand the unimaginable stress associated with being in the weeds.
20. You hate the people who order during a rush. You know it’s unreasonable, but you can’t help it.
21. The people in Front of House might be your friends once a shift is over, but during service they are simply the people that keep asking you for more food. And keep complaining when that food isn’t out in a timely fashion.
22. You understand the pit that forms in your stomach when your “all-day” reaches a number greater than five.
23. You are well versed in the art of cleaning the floor. And the counter. And the flat top. And just about anything else you can possibly clean in a kitchen. You also know that, if you have time to lean, you have time to clean.
24. You drink Fernet and Pickle Backs because that’s what everyone else in the industry drinks.
25. You don’t complain much because the person next to you is in the same hot, sweaty, tired boat. And they will be tomorrow, too. And the next day. And on most holidays and weekends.