Here’s something a little different for you. We had a reader submit a short story called “The 8 Fingered Chef” and asked if we would publish it, so here it is – hope you enjoy!
Daniel walked into the kitchen where Henry was standing at the counter. It was Daniel’s first day on the job, and the kitchen manager had already warned Danny about Henry and his affinity for kitchen knives.
Henry ruled the roost; he was the oldest cook in the kitchen and had been there for a long time training young chefs in safety and with good reason. Henry looked up from his continuous chopping and stopped briefly to point at an electric knife sharpener set up in one corner.
“Go on and get that sharpener and get them knives hanging there on the wall. Sharpen ‘em up for us and we’ll get started.” Henry didn’t say anything else, and resumed his chopping. Daniel got the knives off the wall and grabbed the sharpener.
“What’s the point in all of this?” Daniel asked. Henry straightened up. “Knife safety starts with a good sharp knife. If ya use less force, ya won’t get hurt.”
Daniel diligently sharpened the knives carefully, and while he was putting them away, he knocked one onto the floor. Scrambling to catch it, Henry shouted at him “Don’t try to catch that knife, you bumblin’ fool, let it fall!”
Daniel was unhappy with the way he was being trained and treated, but Henry was old, so Daniel let it go. When it was time for Henry to start teaching Danny some cutting techniques, he yelled at Daniel again and again.
“Boy, keep them fingers curled in! Don’t put that in the palm of your hand! Get a grip on that knife boy!”
Daniel had finally had enough. “What the heck is your problem old man? You act like I’m going to cut my fingers off.” Daniel used the knife to enunciate his point, and Henry arced his knife in the air,and stabbed it into the wooden cutting board. He raised his left hand, where he was missing the tip of his index finger and had just a stump above the knuckle for the middle finger.
“I lost this one using a dull knife to cut vegetables,” he said, holding up his index finger. He curled the rest of his hand in a rude gesture, lifting his stumpy middle finger for emphasis.
“And I lost this one because I decided that I was going to catch a meat cleaver that was falling to the ground.”
Daniel swallowed hard and went back to work. He did not ask any more questions and he did exactly as Henry said. The moral of the story? Be safe when working with kitchen knives, and don’t tick off the 8 fingered chef!
Editor’s Note: The moral of this story, clearly, is knife safety. Visit our page all about Knife sharpening and knife safety tips to learn more.