Whether you’ve been hired for your first job in a restaurant or are looking to talk-the-talk so you can land one, the menu isn’t the only thing you’ll need to learn. Here is a guide to kitchen lingo, terms and slang so you can sound like a pro (or at least understand what others are saying):

All day

To note the total quantity of an item on multiple tickets.

“Fire two filets medium rare, one salmon. Fire one filet medium rare, one filet medium. Three medium rare all day!”

Back of the House


The back of the restaurant, the kitchen and storage areas, where the chefs, cooks, prep people and dishwashers primarily work.


A large plastic pan used for storage of perishables and non-perishables. (The name is from the company that makes the containers; also referred to as a Lexan.)

Chef de Partie

Station chefs; in the brigade system, these are the line cook positions, such as saucier, grillardin, etc.

Cremate it
(or Kill it)

To almost burn something or be very overcooked; extra extra well done.

“Table five wants his burger cremated.”


Generally used with meat products, but many dried goods are packed this way to retain freshness. Cryovacing is a process used to remove any excess oxygen from a bag, and then the bag is heat-sealed to make it airtight.  


Taking a long time, usually the result of being weeded.

“My entrees are dragging.”
“My busser is dragging.”

Drop Start cooking the accompanied item.

“The mussels are almost done, better drop the calamari.”

Also, to present a customer with the bill or a dish.

“Drop the check.”

“Entrees have been dropped.”

Dupe The ticket/information submitted to the kitchen so the cooks can cook orders of food.


For food or drink to lose quality due to sitting around waiting to be picked up (e.g., ice melting into a drink and causing it to be watered down, food drying up for sitting under the heat lamps for too long).

“Are their apps clear? Their entrees are dying.”

Food Cost

The amount a menu item costs to prepare. See Food Costing 101 for more.


Begin to cook.

“Fire mains on table four!

Hockey Puck

A very well done hamburger.


A common response to imply that something is understood.


To leave something off a dish.

Hot Behind

Someone is coming behind you with hot pans, dishes, etc., so move out of the way.


A large plastic pan used for storage of perishables and non-perishables. (The name is from the company that makes the containers; also referred to as a Cambro.)


The workspace of the kitchen.


The main course of guests' meals.


To combine two or more containers.

Nuke It

To microwave.

On the Fly

Refers to emergency status; immediate need; takes priority over all other things.

Pump It Out

Getting food out quickly.


A dish that needs to be remade on the fly.

“Refire table three. Now!"


Sauce on the side.


To substitute one menu choice for another.

Shelf Life

The amount of time in storage that a product can maintain quality and freshness.

Sizzle Platter

Heavy grade metal oval plate that is used to reheat or cook something in a high temperature oven.

Sous Chef

Generally the second in command in a kitchen.


To make a particular item last through an entire shift.


The physical printout in the kitchen of a table’s order.


Refers to a menu item up in the window, ready to go to table.


A refrigerated room for cold storage of perishable items; also a soundproof room for Chef scream therapy.


A shelf, usually heated, where the food is placed after preparation and awaiting delivery to the table.

Yes, chef

A response to indicate "I understand." The appropriate response to any question or statement said by the Head Chef. En français, "Oui, Chef."

6 Pan

9 Pan

Pans being called by the fraction of a full hotel pan that they are

“Can you grab me a 6 pan?”

“There’s a 9 pan of it over here.”


This compilation is a small sampling (and a work-in-progress!). If you'd like us to add one that you and/or your team use, please email us at [email protected]!


Click these links to learn more industry terms: