Kitchens at any busy restaurant tend to be fast-paced, stressful and full of insanely creative people.
Perhaps that’s why restaurant staff are notorious for pulling practical jokes on each other. Plus, with so much food and equipment at their disposal, it’s easy for kitchen staff to find ways to make another person the object of humiliation.
But whatever the case, I wanted to share some of the funniest restaurant prank stories I could find, culled from the underbelly of online kitchen staff forums. Think about these the next time you go out to eat.
The New Guy Pranks
Chief among the most likely victim of a hilarious kitchen prank is the “new guy.” Or, as many cooks like to call him, the “FNG.” (I trust you can figure out what that stands for.)
Perhaps the cruelest are requests that he or she find a tool or ingredient that doesn’t exist, perhaps even needing to travel to a nearby restaurant to borrow one. Watch as he asks for any of these:
- Bacon Stretcher
- Rice Peeler
- Left-handed spoon
- Left-handed (insert name of tool)
- Parsley Curler
- Lobster gun
- Bucket of Steam
- H20 stock
Also classic are the pointless, hopeless, and impossible tasks. Kitchen staff have been known to spend hours doing the following:
- Empty the hot water from the coffee station. (Keep in mind these brewers are directly connected to the plumbing)
- Fishing the “spice sack” from the bottom of a 16 liter bucket of pickles
- Giving the new guy a knife, cutting board, and flour. Telling him the flour sifter is broken: “The dish guy was so oblivious that he happily started chopping up the pile of flour, thinking he’s helping out. We let him go at it for at least a half an hour.”
- “My fellow Sous Chef sent two cocky apprentices out to gather buckets of snow to make ‘Snowflake Soup’ in the Steam kettle.”
Oh, and let’s not forget cases of teaching the wrong lesson, which may be repeated by waiters to customers:
- Explaining to a new waiter that “limes are yellow when they fully ripen on the tree, they are only green as a marketing tool for the fruit to differentiate them from lemons.”
- Convincing a new waitress she needs to press all four “secret security buttons” to exit a walk-in fridge. “It was weeks before anyone told her as it was just so funny watching her do it even when she was in a hurry.”
The Food Substitution Pranks
These are clever jokes pulled on waiters, cooks, and others grabbing a bite or a drink during their shift.
- “At our place, Chef would knock the used espresso grounds out of the machine in a perfect puck. He’d chill it, enrobe it with chocolate and then ask the FNG if they wanted to try our new ‘mini chocolate cakes.’”
- This one comes with no story, but sounds excellent: “Crisco for ice cream, looks super realistic when garnished.”
- Vinegar in ice water, Soy sauce in coke, Sri Racha in straws.
- Melt the bottom of a straw together, so it doesn’t provide suction.
- Place a skewer in a baguette. Watch as waiter tries to cut it.
- Cover the top of a staff members’ glass with saran wrap. It’s even better when they try to pour more liquid into the vessel.
- Place a firecracker between two pans facing one-another. Say a dish is ready, and watch the surprise as another staff member tries to carry it.
- Lobsters. Need I say more?
- Frozen everything. Frozen clothes. Frozen keys. Placing items of value in a bowl of water before putting it in the freezer.
- “Loosening the lid on 1 gal yogurt containers and then watching the idiot that you’ve told a dozen times not to pick it up by the lid do just that.”
One More Thing…
And just for your edification, here are some of my favorite restaurant prank videos:
*This guest post was contributed by Ashlee McCullen is a staff writer for ApronAddicts.com, a website about fashionable aprons and kitchen style.