Guide to Kitchen Slang
In the fast-paced restaurant world, even the language needs to move quickly. The industry vocabulary is loaded with abbreviations and phrases that make no sense to an outsider. Here’s a list of the common, and not so common, shorthand used in local kitchens.
WIDELY USED SLANG
86: Probably the most common and universal kitchen slang. When you are out of something, an ingredient, a dish. Also used as a verb, like when someone gets fired or kicked out of the building they are “86ed."
Behind: I’m right behind you. Restaurant workers tend to use it in the real world which can be very confusing to people shopping in the aisle at Publix.
Heard: You understand and you’re doing what you've been asked without question.
Mise or Mise En Place: Ingredients are prepped and ready at your station. Everything’s put in its place.
On the Fly: When something needs to be done in a super hurry, prioritized, such as if a server forgets to ring in an item, and they need it "on the fly.”
In the Weeds: You are getting buried by tickets, or are just overwhelmingly busy. Also, one might say they are “weeded."
That's a Dead Fry on the Plate: The food is cold.
Sharp: I’ve got a knife in my hand.
SOS: Put the sauce on the side.
Watch Your Melt: Don’t burn the nachos!
Nice Country: Also used as "it must be nice over there," usually referring to an easy task or a cushy situation.
6-Top, 8-top: Refers to a table of 6 people, table of 8 people. Can be used with varying numbers of guests.
AT BLACK SHEEP:
Run the Jewels: When you pick up the entire board at once, which can be an uncomfortable amount of tickets.
Go Zone: Something that is ready to sell.
AT RESTAURANT ORSAY:
Drop the Becky: After a rap song. It means fry a duck leg.
Burrito: Putting sauce on meatloaf.
AT POE'S TAVERN:
I Need a Sexy Fry: A server needs a pretty order of fries.
Hot Pocket: Clean glasses, put them away.
AT FLYING IGUANA:
Girlfriend: A term used for gluten free (GF). If a guest desires a gluten free tortilla for their taco, you say "I need a girlfriend”
Nuts: It's right in front of you.
No Ticket No Taco: Ring it in, the kitchen doesn't make a dish without a ticket.