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Mumbai chefs give away their secret cookhouse vocabulary

Communication is key to teamwork, and where is it wanted more than in a professional kitchen?  Chefs let Phorum Dalal in on their secret cookhouse vocabulary

Pass (n) It is the counter where the servers give orders to the chef who passes it on to the kitchen staff


Illustration / Uday Mohite

86(adj) If you hear a chef across a counter shout, 'French fries 86', don't wonder why a customer would request for 86 fry sticks. It's a code that demotes that, for the day, fries are over.

Line (n) This where the cooking range is. The chefs on duty are line chefs

Fire! (v) This is said when the dish is ready for pick up, from the counter and to the table. Sometimes, it can also mean, start cooking.

On the fly (v) This refers to speed, and means the chef needs a dish rustled up ASAP

Hot behind/ back (v) That's what chefs will shout on repeat to warn others that a hot plate is arriving and you are in the way. Watch out.

Stretch it (v) The show must go on, with or without an ingredient. In layman's terms, it refers to a white lie since no harm was done.

All day(n) Refers to a dish that should be available all day, and the kitchen cannot/should not run out of it.

GBD (adj) It's an acronym for the three rules of frying and searing — golden, brown and delicious.

Bhassad (n) A Hindi term for a large number of guests, a messy kitchen and too many orders

Round ho gaya (adj) Even a chef can have a bad day. Used when a s/he goes blank in the mind

Machad (v) An order has been mixed up

Phuntru Refers to garnishing, like placing a chocolate cigar or adding a tuile. Derived from the term 'full through', which means to finish a job on a plate and have it ready for pick up

Pushpinder It's simply 'fish fingers' the way someone not proficient in English would say it

Mise en place (pronounced MEEZ ahn plahs) (n) It's a French phrase that refers to the preparation of dishes and keeping ingredients ready

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