40 Kitchen Slang Phrases to Know in Your Restaurant

By: Danielle DiRaddo

4 Minute Read

Apr 27, 2018

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kitchen slang

You: "How’s the kitchen doing today?"

Them: "We’re really in the weeds today. I’m dying on the line with all these orders coming. There’s only two guys on the line, and on top of that, the expo called out sick today. I noticed there’s a group that got seated at the 12 top, one at the six top, and even the four tops are filled. Three people just ordered the chicken and they all want it GBD. We only have enough sauce for two portions, so we’re gonna need to stretch it before we 86 it completely."

Did you get that? Or, are you totally lost?

Improve Kitchen Communication with the Restaurant Back of House Guide

The back of house is a whole new ballpark compared to the dining room.

Test your knowledge of the ins and outs of kitchen slang with this helpful guide. Here are 40 phrases that highlight the ins and outs and ups and downs of working in the back of house.


"Let me whip up some mashed potatoes à la minute because the ones made earlier in the day are too salted."

À La Minute (adj.) - French for “in the minute.” When something is made à la minute, it’s made fresh as opposed to being part of a large batch that was made earlier in the day.
All Day (adj.) - The total amount of food that needs to be made.
Chit (n.) - Another name for the order ticket.
Dead Plate (n.) - Food that can’t be served. Possible reasons include being cold, over cooked, or forgotten by a server.
Dying on the Pass (adj.) - Describes food that was left out on the pass for too long and is getting cold.
Deuce (n.) - A table that seats two people.
Dupe (n.) - The information on an order ticket.

"That ice cream is dying on the pass and is about to spill out of it’s bowl now."

kitchen slang


"The guests are finishing their first course, fire the steaks!"

Expo (n.) - The person who puts the finishing touches on the food before it's taken from the kitchen out to guests.
Fire (v.) - To start a dish.
Flash It (v.) - When you quickly cook something if it’s too undercooked.
Floor (n.) - The dining room.
GBD (adj.) - Golden Brown Delicious (the best way to eat fried foods).
In the weeds (adj.) - Busier than one would care for.
Kill It (v.) - To cook something extremely well done.

"Can you flash this steak? Our guest would prefer it to be more well done."


"Is your mise ready? I need those shallots and peppers for the stew."

Low Boy (n.) - A fridge that’s below the counter.
Mise (n.) - Short for “mise en place,” and translates to everything in its place. Usually refers to prepping ingredients.
On Deck (adj.) - What food is coming up next.
On the Fly (adj.) - Needing to be done quickly.
On the Line (adj.) - To be one of the main chefs cooking at the time.
Pass (n.) - The area where dishes are plated.

"There should be two cheesecake slices on the pass and they’re ready to be served."

kitchen slang


"I love this kitchen display system with the orders on it because chits used to fall off the board all the time."

The Rail/Board (n.) - The place where the tickets are held/hung.
Run the Dish (v.) - To bring the plate out to the customer.
Running the Pass (adj.) - Describes the person in charge of letting others know about the orders going in/out.
Shoe (n.) - Someone who’s a bad cook.
SOS (adj.) - Sauce on the Side.
Stretch It (v.)- To make the remaining amount of something work

"We’re running out of broth but I can stretch it for this order."


"You need to wax that table because the owner’s family was just seated."

Waxing a Table (v.) - To give someone VIP treatment
# Top (n.) - A table with x number of people (four top, six top, etc.).
86 (v.) - To cancel something after running out of a key ingredient or changing an order.
# Out (adj.) - How long until the the dish is ready to plate.

"The mussels are three out, they’re almost done steaming."

Does your staff like to use this kitchen slang? Did we miss any important phrases? Let us know in the comments below!

restaurant kitchen

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