10 Ways to Spot an Off-duty Chef

10 Ways to Spot an Off-duty Chef - Chef Works

Author: Chef Perry   Date Posted: 30 January 2020 

Many professional chefs don’t wear their whites out of the restaurant, so here’s a quick primer on how you can spot one of these elusive creatures, off-duty.

First of all, don’t bother looking for a chef from mid-morning to well past midnight. They’re working.

You’re probably not going to see them on weekends or holidays, either.

Your best bet to spot an off-duty chef is either mid-morning at a local farmer’s market, or at 12:30 am in a 24-hour gym, or a late-night food joint.

Here’s what to look for:

  1. There’s an instant-read thermometer and a Sharpie in their shirt pocket, if there’s no pocket, they’re probably clipped to the neck of their t-shirt. Sharpie In Shirt Pocket
  2. When they bring a dish to a 'bring a plate', it has to be explained first. 
  3. Fresh burns on their forearms and cuts on their hands. There’s no band-aid and, no, they don’t want one.
  4. They may order in French or Italian, not to show off, but just because that’s how they learned it.  French Menu
  5. If you run into them after work, their jeans and shirts are pristine, but their shoes look like the bottom of a garbage bin.
  6. When you tell them that there may be a wait on their order, they smile and nod, and they’ll leave a tip, no matter what.
  7. Most of their tattoos are food-related, but only half of them are in English.
    Man with mis-en-place tattoo
    Chef wearing Gramercy Chef Jacket
  8. Nobody will watch food shows with them, ever, because they can't stop yelling at the celebrity chef.  
  9. The contents of their kid’s lunchbox would cost you sixty dollars at any decent restaurant.
  10. They will loan you the shirt off their back, let you take their last cigarette, and pay for your cab ride home...(but don't ever, ever, touch their knives!)Knife on chopping board

How else can you spot an off-duty chef? Leave a comment below.

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Comments (1)

Spot an off-duty chef

5 February 2020
Chef hat hair!

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