Knife Fight

After 16 hours hunched over 30,000 BTUs, you tend to get a bit slap happy, as was evident by the following forum post, courtesy of Rom Wells, partner at Cheapside Café.

A few months ago, I got an invitation to a private Facebook page started by chef Nick Marckwald of Hen of the Woods. It was called the “Cincinnati Restaurant and Bar Forum,” and Marckwald described the group as a place “for restaurant industry professionals to discuss topics related to the industry. Please post relevant industry topics including but not limited to questions about employment opportunities, equipment recommendations, sourcing of goods and services, etc.” 

Almost immediately it seemed as if every food and beverage worker in the Tristate joined up, and thankfully the board has been an exceedingly pleasant place to “hang out,” becoming at times a much needed outlet for people to blow off steam in some very humorous ways. You see, the life of a cook — as the job search website pointed out in a recently released list of the best and worst jobs of 2015 — is really hard. (Cook was named the fourth worst job, right behind newspaper reporter, lumberjack and enlisted military personnel.) 

After 16 hours hunched over 30,000 BTUs, you tend to get a bit slap happy, as was evident by the following forum post, courtesy of Rom Wells, partner at Cheapside Café: “If a Mad Max-style brawl broke out, what kitchen, bar or service utensil would you choose as your weapon? I’ll go first: a microplane grater. That, and two salamis tied together as nunchucks.” 

The imaginative responses rolled in fast and furious; it’s no wonder the food in this town is so creative. So if you happen to come across a bunch of drunk, rowdy, LARPing chefs and assorted industry people engaged in mortal combat in the middle of Washington Park one peaceful evening, you were warned. 
  • Arik Messerschmidt, chef, The Precinct: “A double-handled cheese knife duct-taped to an ice machine paddle.” 
  • Nathan Jolley, chef, La Petite Pierre: “Hand-to-hand — cook hands are like rawhide.” 
  • Bryant Phillips, bartender, The Brass Tap: “Fish guts as armor, so everyone is like, ‘ewwww,’ and I just outlast.” 
  • Joe Humpert, barista, Trailhead Coffee*: “A turkey baster full of fryer oil.” 
  • Jason Louda, chef, Meatball Kitchen: “A can of non-stick spray and a lighter.” 
  • Nicolas Wayne, owner, A Tavola: “A pizza peel heated up in the 1,000-degree oven.” 
  • Kelly Lough, front of house, The Eagle OTR: “The ‘bitch be good stick’ from Chateau Pomije. PVC pipe wrapped in duct tape, sharpened.” 
  • Lance Bowman, general manager, Japp’s: “My ice mallet in one hand and my cleaver in the other.” 
  • Salomon Rabinovich, chef, Chino Latino: “I’m going with the serrated edge from the plastic wrap, then I can also choke and suffocate a few mofos with the wrap itself.”
  • Lauren Altman, general manager, Bakersfield OTR: “A dough hook. It would be slow and painful.” 
  • Jean-Francois Flechet, owner, Taste of Belgium: “Have you ever been hit by a waffle iron? Guess not, if you’re reading this! #fightlikeabelgian.” 
  • Lilly Burdsall, purchasing/facility manager, Midwest Culinary Institute: “A stiff filet knife in one hand and a lemon reamer in the other. Dudes in kitchens are mostly afraid of chicks with reamers.” 
  • Brian Mulroy, bartender, MadTree: “A Galliano bottle.” 
  • Derek dos Anjos, chef, The Anchor OTR: “Glue traps.” 
  • Justin Dean, project manager, Mad House Vinegar: “A meat slicer blade!” 
  • Bhumin Desai, chef, Jean-Robert’s Table: “A rolling pin wrapped in barbed wire.” 
  • Joe Creighton, owner, Cheapside Café/The Rookwood: “I would use an ice pick to the neck followed up with a meat clever and cutting board then a nice soak in Ecolab’s fast foam. After about a week I would pour the mushy remains down the garbage disposal.” 
  • Mike Florea, chef, Maribelle’s eat + drink: “Unpeeled whole shrimp. Frozen. Pokes to the fingers leave a man/woman bleeding. Or, three lobsters, no rubber bands.” 
  • Dave Taylor, chef, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse: “A bandsaw. Something about the sound that baby makes as it zips through bone.” 
  • Dana Adkins, chef, The Eagle OTR: “My grandma’s cast iron skillet and a battery-operated immersion blender.” 
  • Andrew Vogel, kitchen manager, Cincinnati Food & Wine Festival: “I would simply, very slightly, increase the amount of poison I’ve been administering to y’all for the last several years. The battle would be over before it began.” ©
* an earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Trailhead Coffee as Trailside Coffee

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