High Energy: Working a Kitchen Shift at #MEATEASY

February 3, 2011



Kitchen Gimp. Or, me on a Wednesday night in the #MEATEASY kitchen. What was I thinking? I had actually, genuinely volunteered myself to spend an evening at the bottom of the kitchen food chain. I would report to the Grill Boss flipping the burgers, the Fryer in charge of um, frying stuff, the Burger Bed Prepper,.I would report to every man, and every man’s dog. I was, in short, their bitch.

So what does General Gimping involve? Well there’s the cutting of burger buns for a start. It’s an important job, you know, cutting those buns evenly. Slicing into your hand is optional, and to be honest I wouldn’t really recommend it. Onion ring splitting is obviously up there with the important shit too – actually quite difficult and generally regarded in the kitchen as “the most annoying job in the world.” Any membrane must be carefully removed because if it gets into the batter it’s a nightmare to get out and it increases the danger of the onion slipping out of the ring, sticking to your chin and burning it. Now that’s the most annoying thing in the world.

Other duties included weighing out beef. A whole lot of beef. The smell! The smell of the fresh meat was boss. I weighed it, rolled it into balls and stored ‘em just how the Grill Boss liked ‘em, ready for him to flatten on the grill. I washed up. I fished manky, unidentifiable crud out of plug holes. I basically rotated my way around various gimp tasks, pausing only to take a swig from my ever present Meantime beer, drink a shot, or eat a wayward chicken wing deemed not crisp enough to leave the kitchen. Every now and then my razor sharp focus would be interrupted by a call for “MORE FORKS, GIMP!” ’cause #MEATEASY really didn’t have enough forks.

Working in that place was exhilarating though. The energy was so high; you’d have had to be dead inside not to get caught up in it. It sounded like it was going off on the other side of the pass; I couldn’t see the customers but I sure could hear them. The bell dings to mark the start of another chilli challenge; a glass breaks; a cheer; someone turns the music up. I think I even volunteered myself a second time for on-demand Gimping because it was so much fun. I set a trend, everyone wanted to get into that kitchen. Since when has glorified KP been a desirable job? Perhaps they wanted to spy and steal the secrets behind the best burgers in London? Well I know some and I ain’t telling.

Read my interview with Yianni and Scott Collins from Capital Pubs here. The top photo of me gimping was taken by Chris on his iphone. The amazing pictures from that point forward were taken by the brilliant Ben Brown. Check out his #MEATEASY set here.

Goldsmiths Tavern,
316 New Cross Road,
New Cross,
SE14 6AF

#Meateasy on Urbanspoon

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    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FoodStories, FoodStories, Paul Lomax, AdventuresOfAFoodie, Eats Dulwich and others. Eats Dulwich said: RT @FoodStories: New blog post: Working as Kitchen Gimp at #MEATEASY […]

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    Reply catty February 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Hehe great write up Helen – sounds like gimping is like… fun slavery, with chicken wings, which aint bad. And beer too! I need to get to Meateasy still.. took me a year to try Meatwagon, my bad, so I need to hurry this one up more!

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    Reply Craftilicious February 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Who knew slavery could be such fun 🙂

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    Reply Lizzie February 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I’d never volunteer myself up in the kitchen (THE PRESSURE!!!!) but this post has made me feel a bit better about being a Burgerette tonight.

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    Reply Yianni February 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Helen – you were born to gimp! Looking forward to your appearance ‘on deck’ one night soon 🙂

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    Reply Niamh February 4, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Fab! Love it. I’ve really got to, got to, got to, get to the #meateasy soon!

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    Reply gastrogeek February 5, 2011 at 11:14 am

    Kitchen gimp! Love it. I must get down there for another one of those cheeseburgers and pronto.

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    Reply oddies February 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    I have been a chef in various eateries throughout the UK now you know the excitement, pressure, banter and the desire of “water” to quench your thirst in that heat!! Well done Helen

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    Reply The Grubworm February 6, 2011 at 9:45 am

    No better way to become a part of a kitchen crew than start as the gimp. Please tell me somebody, at some point shouted: “bring out the gimp” in a deep south, hillbilly drawl? 😉

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    Reply Food Urchin February 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Call me a perverse grubby little masochist but I’d love to be a Kitchen Gimp at #meateasy, sounds like great fun.

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    Reply Gin and Crumpets February 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    You look a very happy gimp. I assume you smelt all burgery and lovely by the end of the shift?

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    Reply curlywurlyfi February 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Outstanding post, Helen! Made me laugh. Then long for a burger.

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