Most people who do a bit of cooking know that, hidden deep in the process of creating those delicious meals is a mountain of accidents waiting to happen.
Everyone has heard at least one tale of people who’ve lost a chunk of thumb to the cheese grater or picked up a red-hot pan with their bare hands.
Thanks to Jimmy Blauw and the excellent folk at Vice Munchies, their always brilliant Restaurant Confessionals page has put together the times when the professionals got it so horrifically, gag-inducingly wrong.
Sander Lenselink – a chef in the Netherlands for years – sustained first-degree burns to his face during a busy service. However, in true hardcore fashion, carried on working.
He told Vice:
I had prepared a huge pot of water and oil to cook [some gnocchi] in. When I went to pour the water out, the pot slipped out of my hands into the sink and all the boiling water shot up into my face.
Because it was so busy, Sander continued to work until a colleague pulled him aside:
Apparently, I had blisters all over my face. I went to the emergency room, where I found out I had first and second-degree burns. Luckily I don’t have any scars.
Having worked as a chef myself, I would like to throw my hat into the ring with a gruesome burning story:
A friend of mine was cleaning the deep-fat-fryers. As he lifted out the container to pour the oil into a waste bucket he slipped and poured around three litres of 150 degree oil down himself.
He ended up bottom half naked, lying on the desk in the office while waitresses applied ice packs to his penis and groin. On the plus side, he had a blister the length of his leg that he loved squeezing the juice out of.
I’d have to say the most common accident in professional kitchens is disappearing fingertips and Restaurant Confessionals seem to agree.
Chef Peter Ian told them he recently had a cook working for him who chopped a centimetre off his finger:
The kid came up to me with only half his finger and said that he needed to see the doctor because he had used the cutting machine. And yes, we found a beautiful, bloody fingertip in there.
Jordy Pottgens – a restaurant manager – experienced something gruesome when he was throwing out glass:
We had a new machine that breaks up big pieces of glass into smaller pieces. To crush the glass, I held onto the handle and pushed it down but something went wrong and the lid popped open.
My hand got stuck between the lid and the handle, which amputated the tip of my ring finger and part of my middle finger.
As lovely as that sounds,Vice have just one more for us. Samuel Levie is a personal chef who now runs a food PR company.
Now, one of the number one rules in any kitchen – and in life – is never touch hot caramel. Here’s why:
One night when I was about 18, I was handed a spoonful of caramel. In the kitchen, they always say that nothing is more important than tasting.
So I tasted it, but it was incredibly hot and caramel is also very sticky. My skin was scalded from my gums to my nose. I walked around with burns for three weeks with an upper lip full of pus that tasted like caramel.
Thanks again to Jimmy and the Restaurant Confessionals team for those. I do feel a lot safer away from all the red hot oil and crazy sharp knives I suppose…