I’m the forever/perpetual stage at a neat place in Philadelphia. What’s a stage/stagiere? (Pronounced stah-j) Someone who works in the kitchen for free, in order to learn the craft of cooking.

My stage experience is probably the most luxurious of any possible- I don’t have to help cleanup, and I go and leave as I please. I’m pretty sure real stages have to do the grunt work and have to stay to cleanup. Also, they always give me yummy stuff to eat! The downside is that because I still keep my day job, I miss out on the daytime action of stuff like making sauces and a good deal of prep work. This was probably the coolest food experience I’ve taken part in, aside from growing up watching my mom cook.

In addition to learning a ton about cooking, I’ve picked up lots of restaurant slang / lingo that I thought might be fun to share!

All Day– Used to indicate the total number of orders, if there have been successive orders of the same thing.

Example: 2 salads, 1 escargot, 1 soup, 1 salad, 3 salads all day.

Behind, Corner, Under– When time is essential and you are working in small spaces, this is crucial for safety!

BOH/FOH – Back of house: chefs, dishwasher. Front of house : host/ess, food runners, servers

Chef: Yes, chef. Often used when speaking to one another in the kitchen. The cool thing is that our exec chef has addressed me as ‘chef’ before, too!

Example: Less salad on that plate next time, chef. Yes, chef.

China cap: nickname for a Chinois. Hilarious!

Dish: nickname for dishwasher

Fish flat: 3-4 inch tall rectangular or circular plastic containers that they use for storing non-liquidy ingredients.

Fire– Start cooking or plating!

Example: Fire 2 amuse

Garde Manger– apps/dessert station (at least where I stage)

Hands– Plates are ready; food runners needed. Big hands = lots of plates up.

Example: Hands, please.

Heard– Instead of okay or yes, they use this a lot.

Example: Hands, heard.

Hot side: Entrees- where the veg and protein cooks reside

In the weeds/ In the ****– When a cook/chef is overwhelmed by orders, or scrambling

Mise: Short for mise en place.

Off the line– Cook’s time to leave the kitchen

Example: Cook off the line! (Was spoken towards me in jest, when I got ‘promoted’ to learn over at the hot/protein side)

On the fly: An order not on the order sheet; make it first (and fast)

Spat: short for spatula

Sous chef: second in line, after the head/exec chef

86’ed/86 it: Cancelled menu item (often due to lack of supply)


If my friends from the restaurant are reading this…speak up! What’s your favorite restaurant lingo?