Blood in the Kitchen: Houston Chefs Share Some Horrific Tales
"Pretty much any kitchen has superglue in it," Joshua Martinez, owner of Goro & Gun, told me recently. "If you cut part of your finger off, you just clean it and superglue it back on."
Photo by Indy Scream Park The kitchen can be a dangerous place, friends.
I've always known that a kitchen can be a dangerous place. My aunt is a chef, and I remember numerous dinners where she'd regale the table with the story of chopping off the tip of her thumb with a dull knife early in her career.
"Typically, what I do when I hurt myself is, I get very quiet, walk away and assess it," she would explain. "I could tell this was bad, but I worked for another three hours before the general manager said, 'Is your finger still bleeding? We're going to the hospital.' And there they had to drill a hole in my nail to loop the stitch through to get my skin to stay on."
It was at approximately that part of the anecdote where I'd lose my appetite.
(Before we proceed, an important note: All the chefs I interviewed follow stringent hygiene procedures in their kitchens, and make cleanliness a priority. There's no need to fear that there's blood in your gazpacho.)
I phoned my aunt and asked if she remembered any other horrific kitchen catastrophes. Thankfully/unfortunately, she did.
"One of my cooks was walking behind the line to try to clean the stainless steel walls behind the cooking line, and as he was sidestepping back behind the grill he stepped into the fire. And his Converse melted to his foot. They had to surgically remove his tennis shoe. Oh, and someone was telling me today that they knew someone who had dropped a three-quart can of tomato paste into the fryer and then forgot about it. So the person turns on the fryer, and at some point the fryer blew up in her face. It was just trying to keep her face together at that point. And people get their hands stuck in a pasta dough machine. You know, you're feeding the pasta in and your hand goes, too. It's kind of like a sausage blowout."
Boy, was I sorry I asked. Those mental images! But I couldn't stop there. I interviewed several local chefs and restaurateurs about their own kitchen nightmares, and now I don't think I'll ever set foot in one again.
Note: If you're eating, I suggest you finish your meal before you continue reading.