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8 Kitchen Mistakes That Make Chefs Roll Their Eyes

Learn how to operate your kitchen and avoid these foolish ways.

Imagine yourself prepping for a special dinner party when you find out one of your guests works as a chef. Do you feel comfortable hosting a professional? It seems that you would want to showcase the best of your skills and the most delicious foods. It might be an intimidating experience. Let's face it, most home cooks will make some mistakes in the kitchen that chefs dislike and other that will simply make them roll their eyes in disbelief.

While you don't need to be a gourmet to be a good cook, there's no doubt that the chefs among us understand how to operate efficiently in the kitchen. Here are some amateur moves that drive chefs crazy in the kitchen.

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They don't take the job seriously.

Lazy chef

Chef Craig Vaselaros of Tortugas Island Grille mostly employs high school and college students to serve his curated menu of fresh seafood items. The restaurant is nestled right next to a marina where fishermen bring the fresh catch to the dock and ultimately, straight into his dishes. Since he has the most experience with the younger age group, including two kids of his own, he finds his eye rolling mostly related to goofing around in the kitchen. "Their youthfulness and lack of paying attention makes me roll my eyes. We once had a high school kid who thought he was Frank Sinatra and would sing using the rinse hose. This ended up making the whole kitchen wet!"

They fight in the kitchen.

arguing in the kitchen

Chef Vaselaros had a few more examples, including a time when two friends quarreled about sports and dropped chicken on the floor while they argued. They ask their staff to step up to the plate and get the job done and do the same in their kitchen at home. If it's time to cook, it's time to focus and work.

They are too afraid to be creative.

creative chef

Even though cooking can be serious work, he also wants people to be inventive with food. When they were developing the menu for Tortugas, the family tested ideas based on favorites and family recipes. "I don't like it when people lose their creativity cooking and stop having fun," he said.

They don't know the basic rules of safe cooking.

safely cutting veggies

The chefs of Reddit were also a huge source of information, around nine months ago asking their audience to respond about the biggest mistakes they see amateurs make in the kitchen. It seems that even some errors that look like common sense, still happen often. According to one commenter, who admittedly isn't a chef but works in a kitchen, "you'd be surprised how many people were ready to throw water on burning oil. We had a manager sit us all down and explain why we should not do that."

They don't know what knife to use, or think it doesn't matter.

Extra knives

The list that followed the Reddit prompt was long and full of suggestions. The first subject they tackled was kitchen equipment. Chefs noticed that amateur cooks might use any knife that was convenient to prep a meal. Instead, they suggested, using the sharp one. It's not only easier to use, but it's also safer since you don't have to press as hard. More force makes it easier for a knife to slip and cut you. If you do get hurt, chefs say it's inevitable, but don't be afraid of the kitchen. It's going to happen.

They waste food.

food waste

Next, they tackled food waste. It seems all chefs hate to discard items that can be used in different ways. This opens up the door to get creative with recipes. Boil the ends of vegetables to make a broth or refrigerate extra rice that's not needed for leftovers or a stir fry. While you're at it, clean up everything you can as you go. Nothing is worse than finishing a meal while your kitchen is destroyed.

They don't understand how to substitute.

Swapping whole wheat wraps with lettuce wraps
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Frequently a chef isn't able to spout out exact measurements for the dishes they make. That's why someone who worries about following the recipe diligently makes them annoyed. It's better to understand the basics and then experiment with different measurements, spices, and flavors. The basics will ensure that you don't totally mess up the dish.

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They don't know how to use basic kitchen equipment.

opening oven

Knowing how to use the equipment properly in the kitchen is also important. For instance, the list mentioned that each oven rack serves a different purpose. The top rack can get extra hot, making it perfect for broiling or toasting. Casseroles and cookies bake perfectly in the middle. The bottom oven rack roasts and puts a crispy bottom crust on pizza. Knowing the way your appliances and tools work will make you more competent as a cook. That includes the uses for your different pans.

Honorable Mentions


Other mistakes that were mentioned were freezing items that were going to be used in a day or two or leaving food out for too long after it's been cooked. The USDA recommends that perishables should only sit out for two hours at room temperature and one hour if it's 90 degrees or higher.

Despite the many ways we may concern a professional chef, the overall wish is that people enjoy their cooking and take the kitchen seriously. After all, according to Chef Vaselaros, "We take pride in our work and want everyone to enjoy our meals."

Chefs know that you feel the same pride in the food that you serve. With these tips, you can be a little more like a restauranteur.

Jessica Farthing
Jessica Farthing is a freelance writer lucky enough to live on the coast of Georgia. Read more about Jessica