– three things I love to do. Come with!
I’m into my second full week of the BasqueStage at Martin Berasategui. It’s been a steep learning curve, as starting in a new kitchen often is. Even though I speak Spanish pretty well, there are many new vocabulary words floating around in my head. I’m learning heaps of Spanish terminology for equipment, instructions, typical restaurant slang, and lively interjections.
Below I’ve compiled a list of useful words with their English equivalents. I hope it will be both demonstrative of the new world in which we are working, and also helpful to future BasqueStages who come to Spain.
|Oido (oh-EE-do)||“Heard” the most common thing we say in the kitchen as a response to any direction, instruction or reprimand. Equivalent of “Yes, Chef”|
|Vestuario||Changing room, locker room|
|Colador||Strainer or colander, china cap|
|Espabilarse||To pick something up, to get the hang of something, to step it up|
|Pillar, enterarse||To figure something out, to catch on|
|Recoger||To clean up, to gather everything up|
|Tabla de cortar||Cutting board|
|Al vacío||Vacuum packed|
|Aliñar||To dress a salad|
|Escurrir||To drain or to wring out|
|Aguantar||To hold on, to hang on to something|
|Balleta||Cotton rag for wiping down spills, similar in texture to a chammy cloth|
|Papel de mano||Paper towel|
|Papel sulfurizado||Parchment paper|
|Lavavajillas||Dishwashing soap/ detergent|
|Quemo||“Hot” (literally I burn)|
|Emplatar||To plate up|
|Fregar||To wash dishes|
|La cámara||The walk-in refrigerator|
|Mechero||Lighter (for pilot lights)|
|Cuchilla desechable||Disposable razor, used at MB to shave rabo (pork tails)|
|Hacer la pesada||Weigh something out|
|Comida del personal||Family Meal|
|Apuntar||To write something down, take notes|
|Estar al punto de sal||To be well seasoned|
|Está bien||It’s good, that is good|
|Ésto es una puta mierda||This is sh*t, this is no good.|
|La hostía||Literally the host (as in the wafer that represents the body of Christ). Physically, a smack on the face, a slap.
Also can be good i.e. “Eres la hostía” = you’re the man.
Or can be bad i.e. “Hostía, tío” = oh sh*t, dude.
Very common interjection.
|No te pases||Don’t go too far, don’t get ahead of yourself|
|Queda claro, ¿no?||Is that clear?|
|Me hincha los cojones||That annoys me, that pisses me off (Literally, that makes my balls swell)|
|No me toques los cojones||Don’t f*ck with me (Literally, don’t touch my balls)|
|Me cago en la leche||I’m pissed off (Literally, I sh*t in the milk)|
|Me cago en su madre // o su puta madre||I’m really pissed (Literally, I sh*t on his/her mother) // wh#re of a mother|
|Me cago en Dios||Jesus f@%king Christ, I’m SUPER PISSED (Literally, I sh*t on God)|
|Esto es lo que hay||It is what it is|
From these words and colorful phrases, it’s clear that we work hard and clean lots, and we often do it in a tense environment. While many of the phrases sound vulgar, they form part of a working kitchen vernacular that relieves stress and communicates the gravity of the situation.
With each passing day, I’m learning to have a thick skin and to work under pressure. A common refrain in the cooking world is for young cooks to “put your head down and work.” This I’m learning to do, a skill as valuable as any blade in my knife roll.