Chow Bella

What's Been Your Most Epic Fail in the Kitchen?

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 [email protected] Miss a question? Go here.

Spills, the occasional fire -- wait, there's no baking soda in this at all? When it comes to cooking mistakes, we've all had our missteps in the kitchen. But when you're a chef, those moments are magnified. I asked Valley chefs and restaurateurs to recount their most epic fails in the kitchen, and they've been kind enough to resurrect some horror stories of their very own (gulp).

Chef Matt Taylor Noca

While cooking at Mary Elaine's, I dumped eight liters of finished and beautiful bordelaise sauce (a pricey red wine sauce finished with bone marrow) all over the chef's table in the kitchen. I had just started and thought I was going to get fired. Chef Brad Thompson did not speak to me for a while, and I almost quit in shame.

Christopher Gross Chef and Owner, Christopher's & Crush Lounge

Chicken-fried foie gras. Looked good, sounded good, not so good.

Justin Beckett Chef and Owner, Beckett's Table

I still remember when I went down in flames on the fish station many, many years ago. The rest of the kitchen had to stop cooking and had to come and bail me out of the weeds -- no wait -- the forest. After that, I was so behind that I'm sure the dining room manager had to buy many, many dinners for very upset guests.

Deborah Schneider Chef and Partner, SOL Mexican Cocina

Exploding a #10 can of dulce de leche. I was called away and the pot boiled dry. When it blew, it coated the entire kitchen with caramel. Smelled better than pink slime, though.

Chef Kurt Jacobsen Hidden Meadow Ranch

The time I put salt instead of sugar in a wedding cake.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld

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