Blood in the Kitchen: Houston Chefs Share Some Horrific Tales
When I first mentioned kitchen injuries to Watt, he informed me that the wood-burning grill at Prego is often the source of injuries.
"Knife accidents don't happen much with me," Watt explained. "I've never really cut myself."
Then I mentioned Chris Shepherd's awful injury (see page 5), and Watt suddenly remembered one of his own.
"When I was a lot younger, I was George Mitchell's corporate chef in Galveston, but I came from a different restaurant group, and I was helping on a buffet. I cut my hand open with a slicing knife. It was a really bad cut, but you have to wrap your hand up, and you have to tough it through. It was a big flap of skin, though."
And then he was on a roll.
Photo by Eric Charlton It wasn't quite this bad ... but almost!
"A guy had a meat slicer a long time ago when I was working at a big hotel, and I told the guy to leave that alone, that we weren't going to use that here. I said, 'I don't want to use that, and I don't think anyone here is qualified to use that.' It was like a big band saw that you would use to slice through bone, and I've seen people hurt by it. So this guy was upstairs in a separate place, and he sliced his thumb ... not off, but at the knuckle halfway though. He was off work for months afterward."
"Oh, and at Mardi Gras in Galveston one year, I was at the Tremont House, and someone dropped the loading dock on my foot. I kept working all night because there were 100,000 people there. I had to go to the ER later, and they had to give me cortisone just to take my shoe off."
"Did you go back to work the next day?" I asked.
"Uh, yeah," Watt said. "It was Mardi Gras."