RealityChef: What life inside a commercial kitchen is really like

Take a glimpse inside a real commercial kitchen, one free of the misconceptions and glamorisation manufactured by reality TV programmes, at the Flinders Hotel’s Deck bistro. Photo Essay by Tom Hussey.  

Flinders Hotel chef de partie, Cameron Dennington, prepares ingredients for what is expected to be a quiet Monday night in the Hotel’s bistro.
Flinders Hotel chef de partie, Cameron Dennington, prepares ingredients for what is expected to be a quiet Monday night in the Hotel’s bistro.
Dennington, along with the other chefs at the Flinders Hotel can spend up to more than four hours preparing large quantities of ingredients for a three-hour lunch services and three-and-a-half-hour dinner service.
Dennington, along with the other chefs at the Flinders Hotel can spend up to more than four hours preparing large quantities of ingredients for a three-hour lunch services and three-and-a-half-hour dinner service.
Ingredients are prepared and stored in a narrow cool-room, of which regular trips to and from must be made throughout service.
Ingredients are prepared and stored in a narrow cool-room, of which regular trips to and from must be made throughout service.
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Seasoning can be the most crucial part of cooking for Dennington when serving such large patron numbers of up to 300 within a three-hour service.
(Left to right) Sous Chef Phil Hancock, apprentice Denny Wakley and Cameron Dennington work intensely in the tight-knit confines, with commercial kitchens providing minimal room for chefs to prepare and cook.
(Left to right) Sous Chef Phil Hancock, apprentice Denny Wakley and Cameron Dennington work intensely in the tight-knit confines, with commercial kitchens providing minimal room for chefs to prepare and cook.
Dennington toils in the kitchen’s high temperatures as a waiter’s hands build pressure, anticipating the next table’s meals.
Dennington toils in the kitchen’s high temperatures as a waiter’s hands build pressure, anticipating the next table’s meals.
The kitchen’s intensity is lost as quickly as it hit, as Dennington finds himself waiting for new orders as he surveys the Hotel’s floor through a small gap above the plates.
The kitchen’s intensity is lost as quickly as it hit, as Dennington finds himself waiting for new orders as he surveys the Hotel’s floor through a small gap above the plates.
Dennington floods the floor post-service with buckets of detergent and water, as the cleaning of the kitchen begins, before being mopped and dried.
Dennington floods the floor post-service with buckets of detergent and water, as the cleaning of the kitchen begins, before being mopped and dried.
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Dennington dries down all surfaces to finish the kitchen’s top-to-bottom-clean, as customary ‘knock off’ beers are left by bar staff in anticipation of the chefs’ finish.
Cigarettes remain Dennington’s vice despite the wide-spread health warnings, as the chef unwinds with a ritual post-service smoke outside the Flinders Hotel kitchen with his night’s work now complete.
Cigarettes remain Dennington’s vice despite the wide-spread health warnings, as the chef unwinds with a ritual post-service smoke outside the Flinders Hotel kitchen with his night’s work now complete.
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