Kitchen Slang 101

Every industry has its own language, and the restaurant business is certainly no exception. I have been speaking this language every day for so long that sometimes I forget when I'm amongst Muggles and drop terms like "86'd" and "in the weeds" only to get a blank stare in return. I came across this article from First We Feast and had to share it. If you've ever wondered why everyone yells "Sancho" when someone sneezes, where the left handed spatula is, or what the heck a salamander is doing in a kitchen, here's your guide!

Warning: this article does include some potty words. 


Kitchen Slang 101: How to Talk Like a Real-Life Line Cook

kitchenImage from

So, how was last night’s service?

Oh man, we had over 90 covers, two 12-tops, a bunch of four-tops, tons of VIPs. By nine, we were really cruising, totally slammed, had already 86’d striper and tatin. I was running the pass when this huge pick-up was happening, we were doing that really soigne risotto with chanterelles—a la minute you know? The pick-up time is like 20 minutes. I got this really green cook on sauté, fired her a 4 by 4 by 3, half a dozen more on order, but when we go to plate she’s short two f***ing orders, so had to order fire two more on the fly, she was totally in the shit! We were so weeded! Food’s dying on the pass. The rail is jammed up with dupes. The salamander stopped working. My porter no-showed. I really thought we might go down. For the rest of the article, click here (link will take you to an outside website).


What are your favorites?? Which ones have you never heard of? I'll admit that even this restaurant native has never heard of "cupcaking"... but now that I have a word for it, I'll be using it quite frequently!

xx Claire