Spending hours and hours every day on your feet, preparing food for hungry diners, can take its toll. Being a chef is a rough, draining job, with long, irregular hours and dangers around every corner. On the surface, it might appear to be a rather humorless profession, with every last bit of energy spent on making sure that every dish that comes off the line is flawless.
But that’s only during service.
Chefs, sous chefs, line cooks, dishwashers — they’re all in the kitchen long before and long after the dining room opens and closes. And while it might be a stressful job, anyone in the industry will tell you that finding ways to blow off steam is a key to success. And one way to blow off steam? Pranks.
In honor of April Fools' Day, we reached out to some of the nation’s top chefs and asked them to fill us in on the best pranks they’ve ever pulled in the kitchen and the best pranks that have ever been pulled on them. Some chefs seem like natural-born jokers, like the one who sent a newbie down to the walk-in to track down a can of steam for the espresso machine, or another who told a cook that if he drank a whole bottle of balsamic vinegar one capful at a time he’d pass his drug test. But what comes around goes around: other chefs speak of downing a gulp of soda then realizing that someone had dumped a handful of salt into it, and another got his head dunked into a sinkful of beet juice and other kitchen scraps on his last day at the restaurant.
Read on for a glimpse into the lighter side of a chef’s life in the kitchen.