This Week in the Mercury

Film Shorts


Film Shorts

In Which We Hit It and Quit It

Yo La Tengo's Still Got It!


Yo La Tengo's Still Got It!

Even After 30 Years, They Capture the Magic

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Kitchens: Hot or Awkward?

Posted by Patrick Alan Coleman on Tue, May 25, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Le Pigeons Up Front Kitchen
  • Le Pigeon's Up Front Kitchen
It seems Portland restaurateurs can't resist moving their kitchens towards the front of the house. In some cases, this means a simple window opened upon the frenetic staff slaving away for your dinner. In other cases it means a front row seat at a kitchen bar or chef’s table, face to face with the folks firing dishes.

I have to say I’m impressed with those operating beneath the curious gaze of diners. From my brief experience as a line cook, I understand what it’s like to be hit with the stress of a dinner rush and what a relief it is to swear, yell, and/or go crazy in the privacy of the kitchen. Chefs in open kitchens don’t have this luxury, and I have yet to be seated at a kitchen bar where I’ve witnessed someone lose it. Which makes me think maybe all Gordon Ramsay’s paroxysms of profanity are a bit of a put on. (Of course they are.)

As an eater often seated alone at kitchen seats, however, I’ve been faced with a certain dilemma more than once: Do I, or do I not, chat with the prep cooks and chefs working sometimes just two feet away from me?

Occasionally the decision is easy: The chef says “Hello” and the doors of communication are open. In other circumstances, it can feel like you’re on an awkward date. This is tempered when you’re dining with a companion, but alone there is no escape.

I’m curious (as ever), Blogtownies. How do you feel about the art of conversation at an open kitchen? Do you talk to the chef or shy away? Awkward or hot?

More on Food

Comments (19)

Showing 1-19 of 19


Comments are closed.

All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC

115 SW Ash St. Suite 600
Portland, OR 97204

Contact Info | Privacy Policy | Production Guidelines | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy