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20 Strangest Common Kitchen Terms You Need To Know

G2G, TTFN, BRB, LOL… Slang, lingo, Jargon it’s everywhere you go, from the play grounds filled with children bundled together speaking a language all their own that outsiders would deem as nonsense to the corporate board rooms with talks of leveraging relationships with suppliers to brokerage a deal to reduce transportation cost at the Annual Short Interest Local Labour Yield Meeting, Slang has crept into every part of our lives even the kitchen! And here are 20 Common kitchen terms you need to know if you can stand the heat in the kitchen.

20 Strangest Common Kitchen Terms You Need To Know

  1. Bev nap:
    No not someone named Bev that likes to take naps, A Bev nap is a small square napkin for drinks.

    Woman sleeping on a table
  2. Camper/ Campers:
    When a customer or a group of customers stay all evening even past closing time and when everyone has packed up and wants to leave.
  3. Sous Chef:
    Pronounced “sue chef” derived from French meaning “under-chef of the kitchen”, a Sous chef is second in command in the kitchen and is responsible for directing plate presentation, keeping the kitchen and the kitchen staff in order, Training new chefs, checking that stock is fresh, the best quality and replenished.
  4. Dead Plate:
    Food that can’t be served, either because it has been over cooked, burnt, or forgotten to be served
  5. Flash it:
    When you quickly cook something that is too under cooked.
  6. Stretch It:
    Try as you might nothing always runs smoothly, and you just can’t predict what everyone will be ordering from the kitchen and sometimes you need make some of your ingredients last through an entire shift, by “stretching it” with whatever is available and edible.
  7. Fire:
    For most of us when we hear the word fire at work it either means you are about to be burnt to a crisp or someone is up for the chop, but in the culinary world Fire is an order given by the head or Sous Chef to start preparing a certain dish.
  8. Run the dish:
    It can get very busy in the kitchen at times, and sometimes it’s a slow night and the staff get bored, but no matter how much we could try find evidence on dish races, dishes simply can not run, so when you run the dish, what that really means is, When a dish is ready to go out to be served the server will run the dish to the table.
  9. Waxing a table:

    Mr. Miyagi from the Karate kid movie/ Not exactly a Wax on Wax off Mr. Miyagi sort of thing, in the Dinning world Waxing a table is when you give a customer the VIP treatment. Image Source:abcnews.go.com
  10. Soigne:

    Dessert with raspberries on plate/ Soigne or Soigné pronounced “SWAN-YAY” meaning Well-groomed, Sleek or elegant in French, and is used to describe exceptionally good dish, or plating presentation.
  11. Mise en place:

    ingredients on a table, ready for cooking/ Mise en Place is a culinary phrase borrowed from the French meaning “Everything in its place” and it refers to all the prepped items and ingredients a cook will need for their station for that service.
  12. Cupcaking:

    Smiley bear face Cupcake / When a bartender is spending too much time and attention on an attractive patron sitting at the bar.
  13. Behind/Atras:
    In the fast-paced cramped kitchen spaces, the cooks need to let their co-workers know when they are moving behind them so as to prevent any unnecessary and potential disastrous collisions.
  14. Burn the Ice:
    When you dispose of the ice in the ice machine by pouring hot water over it.
  15. Side Work:
    In addition to waiting on tables, servers also have other duties to complete during their shift, this is often referred to as side work. Side work includes Topping up salad dressing containers, refilling salt and pepper shakers, and preparing the bread station.
  16. Ticket:

    Cheff in kithen looking at an order ticket / When an order is keyed into a Point of Sales System , it prints out a ticket to alert the kitchen that an order needs to be made. It usually includes the time the order was put in, as well as any special requests or substitutions a guest has asked for.
  17. The Rail/Board

    Cheff taking an order ticket from the rail board located above the pass/ Often a base plate that sits over the pass,where the tickets are placed and moved along as each order is prepared.
  18. 86 “Eighty-Six”:
    It is not clear where and when this term was first coined, but it is widely accepted that the term was from a code supposedly used by restaurants in the 1930’s , the code was short-hand for “We are all out of it”. Eighty-six and snippets of other codes where reportedly published in Walter Winchell’s column in the 1933 “glossary of Soda-fountain Lingo”.
  19. Skate:
    We mentioned Side work, that bit of hustle a server needs to do during service, but sometimes they don’t always feel like doing it. Skate is act of leaving work without doing any side work.
  20. Walked:
    Walked or did a walk, is when a customer leaves without paying their bill or when an employee is fed up and just walks out in the middle of their shift.


In the fast-paced kitchen environment you don’t always have the luxury to call out the specific name of an appliance so they will often be given an abbreviation or nick-name.

  • A “salamander”no not the lizard, is a high-temperature broiler.
  • A “Robot Coupe”or for sci-fi fans “Robocop” is a food processor.
  • A “sizzle”is a flat, metal broiler plate.
  • A “combi”is an oven with a combination of heating functions.
  • A “fishspat”is a flat-angled metal spatula good for cooking fish.
  • A “spider”is a wire skimmer.
  • A “chinacap”is a cone-shaped colander.
  • A “Low Boy”is a fridge that sits below a counter.