‘The Bear’: Carmy’s Kitchen Jargon, Explained

Yes, chef! Not sure what Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto says on The Bear? Ahead get a breakdown of the professional kitchen jargon used by Jeremy Allen White’s character in the FX series

Carmy and Sydney use professional kitchen speak in ‘The Bear’ pilot

Right from the get-go, The Bear doesn’t hold back on jargon in the kitchen. Not only do people shout “behind” and “corner” to avoid injuries or spills, but Carmy and Sydney (Big Mouth’s Ayo Edebiri) use words unknown to the rest of the staff.

“You were the most excellent CDC at the most excellent restaurant in the entire United States of America. So, what are you doing here?” Sydney asks Carmy. “Making sandwiches,” he replies. 

What does CDC mean? It’s not an acronym for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but a reference to Carmy’s previous position. CDC stands for chef de cuisine or head chef. Merriam-Webster defines it as a “chef who manages a professional kitchen.”

Then there’s the scene when people wonder why Sydney’s in the kitchen. She says she’s staging. Except she pronounces it “staahjing” and no one knows what she means. “She’s helping us out today,” Carmy explains. 

Staging, according to Michelin, is an unpaid kitchen internship.

‘The Bear’ kitchen jargon continues with food prep

As orders come in, Carmy’s kitchen jargon takes center stage. The chef, a James Beard Award winner (basically the Oscars of the cooking world), shouts various phrases. 

One example is “all day.” Carmy says “all day” as he reads orders expecting everyone else to “say it back.” According to Webstaurant Store, the phrase is “chef slang” for total orders needed. 

Another example of The Bear kitchen jargon comes courtesy of Syndey. When she checks the kitchen is ready before customers start showing up, she opens a “low boy” fridge. Per Webstaurant Store, it’s a nickname for an under-the-counter refrigerator.

What about when Carmy instructs staff to “fire” food? He doesn’t mean it literally. Rather, he means sending an order to the kitchen. Other times he says “86” when referring to an ingredient or dish. It means the particular item has completely run out. 

Carmy’s ‘The Bear’ kitchen jargon, continued

On multiple occasions, Carmy frantically shouts “hands” in the kitchen. It is, according to a google search, a call for a server to take a dish. 

Other times he might say, “housekeeping.” “What the f*** are you saying? Anyone understand what he’s saying?” Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) asks. “Housekeeping means you have to clean your stations,” Carmy replies. 

Meanwhile, Sydney delivers more The Bear kitchen jargon after giving Carmy her lengthy report on potential improvements. The pair talk about “COGS,” or the cost of goods sold.

Carmy’s kitchen jargon also relates directly to the food. There’s mention of etouffee, which means “smothered,” and Italian relish, aka giardiniera. 

The Bear Season 1 finale has come and gone but more episodes are on the way. Stay tuned for more of Carmy’s kitchen jargon. In the meantime, The Bear is available to stream on Hulu

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