Best Kitchen Pranks from Valley Chefs
Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
With today being April Fools' Day, there's a good chance many of us will either be on the giving -- or receiving -- end of a practical joke.
But in the restaurant world, pranks aren't reserved for special occasions; they're a regular occurrence. And whether they're done to take the edge off a stressful night, haze a newbie, or payback a co-worker, pranks in the kitchen can be brutal.
Just listen to some of the best of them from Valley chefs.
Once, we convinced our new busser that we had to get air samples in the restaurant once a week to see if anyone was smoking and then turn the samples in to the Maricopa County health board. We gave him a trash bag and told him to go to the four corners of the restaurant and collect the samples for us. I think everyone in the restaurant stopped for a while and stared.
I learned this one from [Chris] Curtiss: When a chef takes off his apron to use the restroom, you put an egg or two in their apron. When they pick it up to throw it on, the eggs fly and the mess goes everywhere. The best part is they have to clean it up. Not cool to do on a busy Saturday but great for a laugh. After that, we'll replace their plating spoons with forks for a double whammy.
I once asked a co-worker to make some traditional chai for me. The chai had a reddish tinge to it, which I chose to ignore. However, with the first sip it was clear that the sugar had been replaced with not only salt, but subtle amounts of cayenne pepper. When I asked if something was wrong with the chai, everyone in the kitchen maintained that what I was tasting was all in my head.
When we had someone new working in the kitchen, we'd send him to another kitchen on the property to get the "left-handed smoke shifter." All of us were in on it. He'd look for it in the other kitchen and the guys there would say, "Oh, it's probably over there." The new guy would be looking all over for this thing.