April 20th, 2012
11:15 AM ET
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On Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali says, "He's a good yeller." Watch the video to find out what our favorite red-headed, Crocs-wearing, seasonally eating chef had to say about hot heads prevailing in the kitchen.

Aaaand, if you happen to find yourself in a Mario Batali establishment this Earth Day (that'd be Sunday, April 22), you'll take take home a packet of organic Cherry Belle radish seeds that also doubles as a two for one promotion to visit The New York Botanical Garden this summer.

Batali says, "Eating radishes you grew yourself? That’s one way to start lowering your carbon footprint!"

To that, we can only yell, "Yes, Chef!"

Previously - This is the year you garden and iReport: grow something to eat

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Filed under: Celebrity Chefs • Chefs • Earth Day • Mario Batali


soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Stuck in the Middle

    They yell because they're narcissistic children and get frustrated when everyone doesn't meet their impossible expectations.

    April 23, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
  2. Jorge

    I would never knowingly eat at a restaurant where the cooking staff is angry/depressed/resentful/petty. That negative energy permeates the food that you eat there. Which is why I usually don't eat out and am so fond of the brown bag lunches/picnic baskets that my wife puts together for me. AAHHHH, blackened salmon and Roma tomatoes in brine on crusty Italian bread and walnuts with honey in an empty park at the height of Spring...now THAT'S a lunch break for you.

    April 23, 2012 at 7:30 am | Reply
  3. Michelle

    Worked with Chefs from small town restaurants on the line to Ritz Carlton and would have to say that the majority of Chefs have an ego issue. I have worked with a few that weren't on a power trip and it was a pleasure working with them. You don't need to yell to run a well organized kitchen and if you can't train staff adequately it certainly says something about a Chefs managerial skills. The last restaurant I worked in the Chef decided to put a trainee on the line on a Friday night, in which I could not prep my area in time for the open doors because I'm trying to train someone while doing it. The Chef was such an A$$ that he already had someone quit the night before so he had to actually get off his pompus butt and work the line. Anyway, he kept complaining for hours that I'm not prepped adequately and I better step up, yelling and cursing for the whole staff to hear. I told my trainee if he said one more word to me, I was walking out. Should have seen the panick in that guys eyes, well, the idiot had to yell one more time. Took off my Chef coat and walked out. There were 3 other kitchen staff behind me walking out with me. Chef comes running begging me not to leave but umm well, Karma is a stinker and I found myself a more professional atmosphere to work in. Most chefs really need to get over themselves.

    April 23, 2012 at 7:20 am | Reply
    • bignevermo

      good for you Ms Burnstein!! :) :) :) ... what you did is the only way for the chef to realize his tactics are not "professional" although that also aint the best way to quit...i can relate having spent much time on the line myself!! a LOT of chefs have ego problems...my main one sipped cognac all night and he was cool!!! keep the food moving...PICK IT UP!! :)

      April 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  4. raggedhand

    They yell because commercial kitchens, with all of the hard surfaces and banging of pots and pans, is a very noisy environment. They yell to be heard over the chatter of the prep cooks, the waiters, busboys, sous chefs, etc. They demand to be answered (Yes, CHEF!) because they need to know if their instructions have been heard and are being acted on. It's all pretty obvious to me.

    PS...not all chefs curse and berate their staff.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  5. lance corporal

    commercial chefs and cooks yell because 9/10 they are really really really awful people with miserable lives and have bad substance abuse (usually alcohol) issues and they over decades have created a culture that allows that sort of terrible behavior

    April 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  6. nanna

    I worked for a German chef. He cussed in German so I never knew what he was saying but if he was having a bad time pots and pans were thrown and bad words too! Great chef though!

    April 22, 2012 at 6:49 am | Reply
  7. Bert

    t h e y   n O R m a l l y   D O n ' T   Y E l l   e x c E p T   w h E n   T h E Y   k N o W   t H E y ' r E   B e I n g   f i l m e D   F O R   n a t i o n A L   T v

    April 22, 2012 at 6:46 am | Reply
  8. Hawke

    I thought they yelled because they're immature and don't know any other way to behave other than throwing a temper tantrum.

    April 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  9. Akira

    Having worked in the food service, I understand that yelling is often necessary so people can be heard over all the loud sounds in the kitchen. There are exhaust fans in the kitchen that generate white noise, which can drown out soft voices.

    April 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  10. jon

    I thought it was because they didn't handle stress well

    April 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  11. stateschool

    Celebrity chefs yell for the same reason they give interviews to cnn. They want to get on TV and stay on TV. I worked in the restaurant business for years, and the only time I heard real chefs yell was when it was too loud in the kitchen or somebody really did do something stupid, such as almost starting a grease fire, or worse, overcooking a steak.

    April 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • lagne

      Agreed. I agree with the other comments that differentiate between celebrity chefs and "real" chefs. Food television has done a lot to exaggerate kitchen drama, and now everyone has this image of executive chefs as prima donnas who throw their weight around while underlings cower. In a REAL kitchen concerned with putting out

      April 22, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply
    • lagne

      Agreed. I agree with the other comments that differentiate between celebrity chefs and "real" chefs. Food television has done a lot to exaggerate kitchen drama, and now everyone has this image of executive chefs as prima donnas who throw their weight around while underlings cower. In a REAL kitchen concerned with putting out REAL food and making REAL profit, that's simply not how it works.

      April 22, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Reply
  12. KM

    I'd slam one of these pieces of crap into a wall if they yelled at me. They are the lowest form of life on the planet.

    April 21, 2012 at 11:38 am | Reply
    • peices of crap

      are you threatening me?

      April 23, 2012 at 12:16 am | Reply
  13. GRS62

    As far as TV reality/cooking shows the answer to the question is: RATINGS

    April 21, 2012 at 11:34 am | Reply
  14. Chuck

    Why they yell...maybe because it's a LOUD environment, with dishes clanging and meals sizzling? It's also a hot place...there's a reason the term "hot head" was creted (the same reason why Canadians are always so cool and calm)

    April 21, 2012 at 1:16 am | Reply
  15. Barbie King

    They yell because they are gallahs, prima donnas who depserately need attention. It may work well in a reality show, but in a real working kitchen they wouldn`t last long. We contribute to their success by providing an audience to reality shows. What a croc

    April 20, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • psipher

      Maybe some are prima donna's trying to show off, they're not the rule though. I've worked with many cooks with a temper. It's partly the industry – it tolerates people like that. It's partly the training – the old school ways encourage a certain degree of yelling. Trial by fire so to speak. It's partly the idea that you have to go through what he went through, and what he went through was getting yelled at.

      But beyond anything else it's the pressure, and the chef's displeasure at you (the cook) screwing up the years of hard work and sweat he's put into his food.

      April 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
      • Alan S

        Pressure? In a kitchen? Years of hard work on a meal? Come on. A truck driver on a slippery road has a hundred times more pressure than a cook. Do paramedics yell like these TV cooks? Do airplane pilots, or firefighters, or ER nurses, all of whom have vastly more pressure in their jobs than chefs have, yell at their coworkers?

        April 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
        • Pattie

          Until you have been there you have no idea, I've been there, everyone has a bad day on the job and as a chef you can yell at your staff, and then we sit down and drinks afterwards.... it is just how the business operates... And yeah, my dad WAS a truck driver...every job has a different type of stress.

          April 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
        • psipher

          Alan: Don't get me wrong – although there are many other careers with other types of pressure, there is definitely stress in the kitchen. You'd have to go through it to understand. Although I don't suggest you tell an accomplished chef "it's only food".

          The execution of a dish isn't just a plate of food. It's the expression and representation of everything that a chef values / has learned / stands for. It is the culmination of decades (literally) of slaving away for pennies, getting cut / burned, getting berated at to learn the techniques and nuances of how to transform a product into something else – something valued. A carrot is a carrot. But it takes mastery and true understanding to turn it into something where people would say "wow" – and pay $20+ for a plate carrots. That's the reason why chef's get pissed. You (the cook) are screwing his food up – not the way he showed you. The diner won't like it, and won't come back. Chef's take it personally.

          Don't get me wrong, i'm not agreeing with the way the industry is – just trying to explain how it's a different world.

          April 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
        • psipher

          Understanding a product and techniques apply to every product / service – no matter the price.
          One could make an argument that all dining comes from the same place – satisfying a basic desire to eat and an understanding of those products.

          A greasy slophouse is simply a dilution of the same things that go into an expensive fine dining establishment.
          That refinement is hard – it's difficult to teach, and maintain. Even McDonald's must have had SOMEONE experienced who understood how to make those tasty fries.

          Hence the reason why chef's take it personally.

          April 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  16. Iceback

    As a retired Executive Chef from an northeast country club, the old saying goes, you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. A good head chef in a profesional kitchen lets the sous chef expedite and control the line output. If you happen to be slammed, the head line chef (either the grill or saute chef) sets the pace and controls the fires. Yelling at line chefs, pantry chefs, garde manger chefs etc.. will get nothing accomplished except distain. The head chef should always be accessible to oversee all operations. Again, yelling or barking orders does nothing, you have to work by example showing expertise, leadership and respect of your employees like any business.

    April 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • Wastrel

      You'll never be a "celebrity chef" that way, though.

      April 20, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
      • Joel

        Do you think Thomas Keller yells in the kitchen.

        April 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Reply
    • psipher

      Iceback is right.
      The absolute best chef's don't yell.
      They've all gone through a period where they wanted to / or did yell, but have learned that there are better ways.

      The culture changes, but slowly. And spreads from a few individuals to all the rest.

      April 21, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
      • Alan S

        Psipher: I just quibbled with an earlier comment you wrote, about pressure. But to this comment I have nothing but absolute agreement. You wrote: "The absolute best chefs don't yell." You're 100% right. And the best performers in other lines of work don't yell, either.

        April 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  17. Redfeather

    If your name is going on the plate a sous chef is messing up sometimes a loud "HEY, that's not the way I showed you" will work. And if you explain ahead of time there will be a shout of sorts if they mess up, there is no remorse.

    April 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  18. edCP

    If I was working for Gordon Ramsay his face would be re-arranged very quickly.

    April 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
    • Daisy

      Yeah, everyone's a tough guy on the internet.

      April 21, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
      • Cowardly Lion@Daisy

        Put 'em up, Put 'em up.

        April 21, 2012 at 9:28 am | Reply
  19. Nickatl01

    I find it quite interesting when a chef yells in a kitchen.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  20. Englist Twitt

    Because vegetables have really tiny ears.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • Wastrel

      Sometimes corn has really BIG ears!

      April 20, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  21. Anon

    Because they are egotistical, megalomaniacal a-holes.

    April 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  22. Matthew

    I am seeing more and more professionalism in the kitchen,which in my opinion is a good thing. There is no need to get upset about a med steak when it should be mid rare, just fire up another one. It is my duty as a chef to train young cooks how to properly cook in a consistent manor. Nobody is perfect and if they are they should not be working for me. Yelling does a couple of things it brings resentment not respect and brings about an awful work environment. Food out of a happy kitchen tastes better and flows faster.

    April 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Reply
    • Mike in NJ

      Surprisingly, this seems to be the case in other work environments as well. ;)

      April 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  23. Brother Bob

    Because it's loud? What high school student wrote this article?

    April 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  24. Rosey Goodman

    I only yell if some boner has left a saute pan handle over one of the flames and I happen to ALMOST grab it......otherwise a reasonably quiet kitchen is better to work in.....mind you the playing of music is a separate matter altogether....heheheh

    April 20, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Reply
  25. bloodghost

    I think a lot of the yelling level depends on the type of kitchen culture that has been established. Most of the kitchens I've worked in were louder but it was more like a chiding, poking fun at each other, environment. Normally when a real correction was needed there was side along training more like Mario was describing. I think it all goes back to what sort of a place the Chef is hoping to run. If the Chef wants a loud, raucous, rails of coke on the line type of place then that's what it will be; on the other hand, if the Chef wants to have a hushed, reverent, focused line then it will be made that way. Personally i like a little of both.

    April 20, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      So do you prefer your rails of coke before or after dinner rush, then? :D

      April 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
      • Cheech Marin

        Before is better.

        April 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
        • Multi-Tasking @ Work

          Before? then you wouldn't/couldn't eat...after is best with a good wine.

          April 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
      • Sir Biddle@Eric

        I see you ARE knowledgeable of the restaraunt industry.

        April 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply

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