Who's the Most Unsung Hero in the Kitchen?

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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 laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

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

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.

Follow Chow Bella on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.