Blood in the Kitchen: Houston Chefs Share Some Horrific Tales
I approached Martinez about discussing kitchen injuries, and he quickly texted me thusly: "Got a graphic photo of said event," followed by, "Want to see?"
I responded that I did, but I asked him to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to send it that I was out at dinner.
Then a photo popped up on my phone, followed immediately by, "Oops." "Don't open don't look." "Look away." "So so sorry."
I looked. I was sorry, too. You can see the photo on the next page (Caution: nasty). Below is what Martinez had to say about the incident:
"This is really bad. I can't believe it. A week into working, we caught one employee trying to clean the shelf area of the fryer with the hot oil still in there. We told him not to use a towel and tongs to clean, and to make sure the whole thing's dumped before doing that. I think he was trying to make it look like it was really clean, but it wasn't. Sure enough, I had left early that day and I get a call that his hand went into the fryer. I was like, 'What?!' The towel he was using to clean had a whole lot of water in it, and he dropped it in the fryer. And once water hits hot oil, it boils over quickly."
"I asked where he was, and the other employees were like, 'He had a beer, and he's going home,' and I was like, 'Why isn't he in the hospital?'"
"He called me the next day and sent a photo and I told him to go to the doctor. The following day he sent me another photo [which you can see on the next page], and I was like 'GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW. If you don't go there, I'm coming to your house and taking you there!'"
"It was super-infected, but he's OK. He was gone about two and a half weeks. He's a barback now. He's not allowed to touch anything hot."
After hearing the story and seeing the accompanying photo, I'd heard enough. But Martinez wasn't done.
Photo by Alex Thompson Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones, for the record.
"This wasn't me personally, but about 10 years ago I gave all my sushi chefs in Austin Thai Red Bull, which comes in little medicine bottles. It was the stupidest thing I ever did. Next thing you know, they're shaking and their hands are trembling and one guy cut himself to the bone while filleting fish. And that was the end of energy drinks in the restaurant."
"Then, on the first day of The Modular, Mikey Nguyen was slicing something with the mandoline, and I said, 'Hey man be careful with that.' And then he went and sliced the tip of his thumb right off. I remember having to get superglue, glue his thumb back on, wrap it in paper towels and put a glove on him cause he couldn't leave. It was our first day. He seriously couldn't leave."
And now for the photo. Skip straight to page 5 if you're squeamish.