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.
If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a top-notch kitchen staff to keep a restaurant humming. Depending on the size and type of restaurant, there are numerous roles to fill, but which one is the most thankless yet important one? I asked a few Valley chefs and restaurateurs and here's the position they would most cast their vote in favor of.
Gregg Troilo Owner, British Open Pub
The owner! The owner has everything to lose while the back of the house and the front of the house have no stake in the game. I doubt you'll find a chef, bartender, or waitperson willing to risk any part of their paycheck on performance of the organization. The typical restaurant employee puts in their time and goes home with nothing to worry about. Life is good. The owner, on the other hand, has everything riding on those same employees. Who said life was fair?
Aaron May, Chef and Restaurateur
Dishwashers. Their job kinda sucks, but most of them have a positive attitude and work hard. I always try and make mine cooks as soon as possible.
Scott Lindsey, Owner/Tequilier for TQLA in Mesa
Line cook. At the end of day, they are the heart of the kitchen and the least recognized.
Kevin Binkley, Chef and Owner, Binkley's and Café Bink
Dishwasher, always. Cleaning up other people's messes, now that's a heroic job. I have known some really great people that were dishwashers. I've learned a lot from that position.
Andrew Ashmore, Corporate Culinary Chef, Culinary Dropout and The Arrogant Butcher
Prep cooks and dishwashers. So much hard work goes into the food even before we open. The prep cooks are always in the back producing the bulk of what goes out to the guest. Many times, they are gone before the guest even arrives. Without the dishwasher, we would have nothing to serve our food on. They are always there when you need them most in the middle of a busy rush.
Christopher Gross, Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
The dishwasher! They keep everything running smooth and pick up the slack. Everybody is crossed-trained in my kitchen.
Chef Payton Curry, Brat Haus
My sous chefs. I work these guys to the bone, man. They are in charge of everything in and everything out.
Heather Bryan, General Manager, Zuzu
Dishwashers. As much as you say "hello," get them a beverage, learn their name, say "thank you," and involve them, they are back in their own little world and tend to get forgotten.
Andrew Nam, Chef and Restaurateur
The sushi prep employee. He is the base for all the sushi bar menu and keeps the sushi chefs supplied and efficient.
Romeo Taus, Chef and Owner, Romeo's Euro Cafe
The dishwasher! There are not enough plates, glasses, silverware, or pans to go around when you are busy. Without the dish pit crew we are in deep doo-doo -- you can't turn the tables. In this industry, we're all dishwashers. When they show up, we all move up -- the dish pit rules!
Christopher Costantino, Chef and Owner, Costantino's Kitchen
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The prep cook! He or she is responsible for all the mise en place that goes into a great dish and rarely gets to see the finished plate.
Pauline Martinez, Chef and Owner, Perk Eatery
Definitely the dishwasher. In most kitchens they have the dirtiest job and usually get paid the least. Without a dishwasher neither the kitchen nor front of the house could function.