Tag Archives: live it

11 Pretentious Food Terms


One of the biggest complaints people have with the food industry is the pretentious attitude.  The food world is full of people and establishments who reek of self-importance. We’ve developed a culinary lexicon that has become so convoluted, The gastro-glossary of words around the word is long and often confusing with many kitchen terms that chefs fully understand confusing their customers when they hit the menus in the dining room.


1.Hand-anything – hand-chopped, hand-pulled, hand-cut, hand-glazed…

Wow. What an ingenious method. So ingenious in fact that every grandma since the dawn of civilisation has been using this innovative method to prepare food.

2. Artisanal

So over-used, it’s losing its meaning. I mean, if every bakery down the road calls itself “Artisanal”, which really sounds more like “I’m just starting out, don’t have the funds or the time to do more than this”, then where is the line drawn between a true artisan and a wannabe?

3. Bespoke

Custom-crafted cocktails, madam? Yeah, and that $30 price tag that comes along with it. It’s all right. I’ll stick to that glass of boring wine.

4. Deconstructed

Oh, the things you learn from Master Chef. Here I was thinking that “Deconstructed” dishes meant the creator thought of a concept BEFORE he started plating the dish. But in reality, it seems like deconstructed is just a convenient term for when things start going awry in the cooking or plating process!

5. Foraged

Ok, yes so maybe those darn Chanterelle Mushrooms were really foraged from some forest in Scandinavia but, I’m not quite sure how to react when I see foraged items in urban city centres. Maybe I shouldn’t diss that poor weed growing out of the asphalt streets, after all.

Oh, how “lucky” am I that there are at least 5 artisanal bakeries in my neighbourhood – so I can learn essential skills in life, like being able to tell the difference between a fougasse and a flatkaka

Yes, and please charge me $30 for that alcohol-infused bespoke strawberry smoothie

What lovely mushrooms growing in the grass patch next to my car park. I wonder if I should forage for them?

6. Curated

We get it. You studied the fine arts of vegetables and have personally “Curated” what should appear on my plate. Heaven forbid, that damn carrot ruining the verdant look of lush forest greens.

7. Chef’s Menu or Omakase

This isn’t so much about the words Chef’s Menu or Omakase. It’s the way the staff hold on to the information about what’s on the menu with secrecy befitting the CIA.

Yes, it is a damn secret, I know. But really, I am already sitting at your restaurant, willing to splash out the moolah, so what’s up with not telling me even as I order the Chef’s Menu about what I am getting? Yes, they ask you about allergies and there’s always religious considerations. But what if you don’t have any of those restrictions but you just don’t really, really like a particular food? Like you may love some bacon bits in your appetiser but you absolutely cannot handle a full-on pork belly for a main. Do you just blanket tell them you don’t eat pork and miss out on trying other dishes of theirs?

8. No-description menus

You know, the ones that read like this – Beef|Pearls|Citrus and you’re like what?? What am I ordering, guys?

9. Giving me a geography lesson I do not need

Like telling me that the line-caught fish is from Moldova or something. Wait, do they even fish in Moldova? 

10. Giving me a French lesson that, again, I do not need

Yes, it’s a beautiful language where even saying “you’re a bloody ass of a cook” sounds so fancy, but it’s OK. You can still call a mashed potato a mashed potato and if it’s the silkiest, creamiest mash I have ever eaten, I will not care that it wasn’t a pomme puree.

11. Mouthfeel

Only usually ever uttered by the most pretentious wannabes, it’s meant to tell the rest of us plebeians that really, you are using ALL your senses when you dine. Clever girl.

Would this be more interesting if I said it was a locally-harvested Tiger Prawns, accompanied by hand-tossed gluten-free pasta in a prawn head organic chilli oil?

Curated puffs of delight, swimming in hand-pulled milk from a free range, organic bovine farm from the Scottish Highlands

“Oh, the mouthfeel of a Dragon Fruit”, she exclaimed, sighing with pleasure. Oh, did you mean you like the way the seeds pop in your mouth, say like, fizzy pop candy?


What is Mise en place?

The easy answer is, “everything in its place.” It’s a French phrase meaning that everything is organized and ready…But it is sooo much more!

In the professional kitchen mise en place is more of a philosophy or a way of life rather than just a simple phrase. Mise en place is everything needed to make the shift as smooth as possible. We learn it, we teach it, we get it tattooed on our bodies! As Chef Randy Burns has said, “Mise en place is a state of Mind.” It becomes an integral part of how we think. Whether we are working to implement a new recipe, planning an off-site catered event, or going camping with the family, the philosophy of mise en place infuses our souls with the need to hope for the best and plan for the worst. Everything in its place. A plan for everything.

Proper mise en place means that you are the master of your domain. You know how many covers you should do tonight, you know if it’s a holiday, or if there’s some other special event going on which may impact your covers. If a prep cook does some of your mise then you have verified the quantities and seen where the backups are stored. Trust no one, you verify it yourself.

Mise en Place is defined as:

  • The Ethos of the kitchen

  • So much more than minced shallots

  • Hope for the best, plan for the worst

  • Seconds save minutes

  • The foundation of success

  • The foundation of a successful shift

  • It makes or breaks you

  • A way of life

  • Learn it, know it, live it

  • Prep, Attitude, Focus, Drive

  • Slapping Murphy’s Law into place

  • Telling that bitch Murphy’s Law to sit the fuck down

  • Organisation of product, tools, and mind

  • Seeing and preventing a problem before it arrives


“Mise en Place”; what an exquisite phrase, it slides right off the tongue, effortlessly, like a lightly seared fresh sea scallop drizzled with a rich lemon Beurre Blanc, garnished with a chiffonade of fresh “fine herbs” and shaved truffles…  Seriously, mise en place is the principle, the base, the philosophy that rules every cook’s life; it is a term not just applied to your prepared ingredients, your fridge with prepped meats, your base sauces, stocks, garnishes, etc. ready to assemble; it is your organization, your knowledge, your ability to work with others, (kitchen work is definitely a team activity), your mental ability and preparedness. It is a philosophy; a state of mind! There are so many meanings, connotations and levels of “mise en place” that you’re constantly fine tuning your perception and definition of it. A Cook’s life revolves around “mise en place” and it’s what “makes you, or breaks you”. You’re only as good as your mise en place. It encompasses your prep, cooking, serving, menu design and execution; your ordering, scheduling, managing of the kitchen. The concept of “mise en place” can be applied to virtually any circumstance or scenario. It has taken me years to begin understanding this application to ALL facets of the kitchen, of business, of life; it’s not just my tray with chopped shallots, garlic, various herbs, garnishes, etc. all ready to go into the frying pan ‘ala minute”, it’s applicable to any strategy or action, ; and I’m still learning this every day.

For such a small, eloquent phrase it carries a lot of power, weight and meaning.

Cleanliness/Hygiene and organisation is an integral part of “mise”, they go hand in hand, the sooner you recognise and embrace this fact the further ahead “of the game” you will be.


The Unspoken Laws Of The Kitchen (The Code)