11 Things Chefs Hate to Cook

Take a look behind-the-scenes at the most dangerous, disgusting, and just plain boring kitchen tasks.


When a beautiful plate of food hits a diner’s table, it can be a stunning thing behold. The dish sits before you in all its aromatic, well-plated glory, conjuring up romantic notions of laser-focused cooks, sequestered several rooms away in a placid kitchen where they nurture stocks and coax the skins off of roasted beets.

But the scene behind closed doors is often quite different from what you'd imagine—more Gordon Ramsayan hell kitchen than Zen monastery. For most professionals, cooking is at once a pleasure, a test of patience, and, occasionally, a raging pain in the ass. If you’re a chef, you can sometimes pawn the worst jobs off on your cooks, and if you’re a cook, you might be able to dump your least favorite tasks onto an intern or a porter. But most of the time, you are just stuck with the drudgery.

How real does it get back there? Here, we take a look at 11 of the most painful, tedious, nasty, or just plain boring kitchen jobs—all unpleasant necessities on the road to the sublime. So before devouring that pan-roasted cod fillet with tomato-braised cardoons, take a moment to toast the back of the house, who did all of the shitty work so you didn’t have to.

Written by Scarlett Lindeman

Click to start the list
  • jj

    You forgot fava beans. Start with a bushel crate of whole pods, and if you’re lucky you end up with 4 quarts of beans. Pain in the ass

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=23804265 Sarah Smith

    I’m only a home cook, but roasting peppers is one of the kitchen tasks that I despise. But it does yield an awesome result!

    • Jared Stone

      After you roast them peel them in the sink under running water, its much easier.

      • Rafa

        Seriously, you might as well get the canned ones. Running water destroys the peppers. Peel whilst it is still hot. Makes it easier!

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  • Helen Harrand

    salad. I hate to make salad, especially in the dead of winter. you can never get your hands warm again.

  • Gigi

    Halibut is my favorite fish…I will never eat it again!

  • Isleoftiki

    Maybe it’s the format I’m using but I only see 8 things on this list of 11 . . . Anyway, chefs have no need to worry on my behalf. I wouldn’t eat any of these things if you paid me, except maybe the halibut. But I can live without it if it’s this much trouble!

  • jmacleve

    The guilt! I may never eat out again!

  • http://twitter.com/unflattering unflattering

    Thyme’s not quite that bad. You can get most of the leaves off by pinching around the stem and firmly swiping in the direction opposite the leaf growth. They often just come right off for the most part. I cook with it more after I learned this because I love the flavor, but picking it off leaf by leaf is a pain.

    • Jared Stone

      Bahaha if I got caught picking thyme like that at work, bahaha

  • Abckit

    What about ramps? And the thyme thing is true. I had to fill a pint container of leaves only, took forever.

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  • Jared Stone

    Most of this is complete shit. And why the fuck cant you clean the pork skin before you boil it? It’s way more simple to do it while it’s raw, I have to several times a week.

  • Le chef

    This article is BS! I love and do all these things all the time.

  • Rich Dickins

    I just ‘liked’ and typed-out a lengthy-ass comment. Where did THAT post??? wtf…

  • orchid64

    For roasted peppers, it really helps to use gloves (such as nitrile ones – thin so you get more tactile feedback). You never rinse the peppers, but you can rinse the gloves to get the little black bits off from time to time so they don’t re-transfer to the peppers and they don’t get stuck all over your hands. It’s not so bad doing it that way.

  • MPaula Whelan

    I made skate once. Never again. Never ordered it in a restaurant.
    Looking for spinach and finding nettles? That’s a packaging problem that should not happen.
    I will happily never order soft shell crab. Snipping off their little faces? Nooooo!

    Fish have worms? I have cooked these fish and never seen them. Thankfully.

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