The restaurant world often seems to have its own language, from kitchen lingo to descriptions on menus and critiques of food. We all use a form of code, silly, annoying or inaccurate descriptions, or simply misuse the English language all together. My last post talked about trends in restaurants that I think need to go. Here are some words and phrases that need to go, or at the very least be used less frequently and used properly. Like following an occasional trend, I too have been guilty of this heinous crime, though not nearly as much as some, and far less in the future.
Curated doesn’t mean what a lot of people who use it in menus think it means.
Artisanal has become pretty watered down. It no longer means anything when the crappy bread sold by Price Chopper’s bakery department is called such.
Tuscan, Provencal, and Asian-inspired dishes are generally made by people who know little about Tuscan, Provencal, or Asian cuisine.
Sando, sammie and sammich are cute, but I’m just looking for a sandwich.
Heirloom doesn’t mean fancy or expensive. If you don’t know what it does mean, stop using it.
Moist is a word nobody likes.
Menu categories like Shareables, Little Bites, Noshes, Prologue, and Sweet Endings all belong at chain or hotel restaurants with silly names and bad food.
Isn’t everything at a restaurant crafted? Not necessarily well-crafted, but crafted in one way or another.
People tend to point out that some ethnic restaurants or dishes aren’t authentic, but I’m willing to bet that if they were to have the authentic version, in the majority of cases, they would not like the preparation. Make it good, I don’t care if that’s the way they do it in Mexico or Belgium or France as long as I can enjoy it.
Y’ever look on some takeout menus or the sides of pizza boxes and see “We use only the finest ingredients?” Does anyone actually believe that?
Wouldn’t the finest ingredients make the food pricey? What does that even mean? Is 15 Church pricey? Is Yono’s pricey? Sure they cost more than some other restaurants, but they’re not necessarily over-priced nor do they fail to deliver good value. The question is whether it’s affordable, another relative term.
Bread for mopping and sopping up sauce or broth. Mopping is what is done in the kitchen every night after service.
If you think food can be orgasmic or better-than-sex, then either you’ve got some food I’ve never heard of or you’re having sex completely wrong.
There is nothing amazing about chicken wings, cheeseburgers, short ribs, ramen, foie gras or any other food that we eat. A professional cooked it, I’m not amazed. Impressed, happy, excited, or satisfied? Yes. Being able to run a mile in 3:43.13 is amazing.
Yummers, yummo, nom-nom, delish, and tummy are not grown-up words.
Finger-licking isn’t sanitary even though we all do it.
Mouth-watering makes me think of a big wet mouth on a dog panting, not what I want to imagine when I’m reading about or discussing food.
I’ll be doing a twist on pub food as I take it to the next level. Included will be my riff on the traditional Caesar salad. I’ll also be doing my interpretation of Buffalo wings. They’ll be cooked to perfection then tossed in a hand-crafted honey-hot pepper sauce and served with baby celery and bleu cheese.
I once had a server relay a question from a customer. “Is the tuna farm-raised?” she asked. Terms like line-caught, wild-caught, locally sourced, farm-to-table, organic, free-range, cage-free, gourmet, and foraged get thrown about quite often, but I know in many cases the terms mean very little to customers and are not accurately or honestly used by restaurants. In my experience most people simply don’t care that much. If a restaurant has a stellar reputation, then the diners trust the restaurant and it’s kitchen to use good products. You can’t convince me your food is better with these terms. As they say, “the proof is in the pudding” as long as it’s made with local milk, fair-trade chocolate and non-GMO corn starch.