Food — By Crust on February 13, 2010

I love masking tape and sharpies, they are how most restaurants label mise en place. I also love labeling. I have been changing my label style and trying to find what I like. At Coi they cut the tape with scissors instead of tearing it. I got so used to doing this that I still do it at Boneta. Some people say that it is a waste of time. They say in a business where you make barely any profit you can’t waste time doing shit like that. I think this is a good point and a good balance needs to be found. My obsessive compulsive ways have helped me and hurt me in the past and I am forever trying to balance myself. I also really hate colored sharpies, I think they clash with the prep and they are silly. I need to chill cooking should be fun, but I only like black sharpies. I take pride in my prep and I want the labels to reflect that, but how embarrassing would it be to be in the shit because of fancy little labels. I think that the small things matter and that if a guest sees in the kitchen and everything is labeled, organized and visually appealing it looks good. I also do it for me to amuse myself, finding my label writing style and it takes no time at all to do it really.


  1. Matt R. says:

    I don’t like sharpies in the kitchen, only dry erase pens. We have whiteboards all over the place so dry erase pens are part of the uniform. They don’t rub off of masking tape, either. Labelling is an extremely important part of kitchen sanitation, as well. It’s something the health inspector really looks at.

    We use masking tape extensively, but no one ever takes the time to cut it – just rip, rip, rip! One habit I try to get into everyone coming into the building is to fold over one end of the tape before you stick it on the insert (we don’t use any of the plastic disposable ‘500s’ that seem to be popular where you work) so it comes off in one easy to remove piece just by pulling on the tab. No more inserts with bits of tape left on them! And if I catch you taking your dirty insert to dish without removing the label, look out…

    I’d rather use painter’s tape, but it costs a fortune.

  2. Douglas T. says:

    I was going to introduce the idea of folding a tab (like Matt) but I’ll expand and say do it on the ROLL each time (after) you make a cut (yes..use scissors)(1/4 inch fold).that way you pre-fab the tab and you hve an unsticky “handle” to move the label around with.(two stone) This is extreme, but then you can peel and save the label for re-use if it is still pristine. Another trick is to reduce adhesion by putting the tape strip first on a piece of fabric.(jeans?,a towel?) Nothing worse than wasting time picking at a stuck corner or trying to find the confounded(invisible) edge of tape on the roll. the square cut edge won’t split (big problem if the tape is not fresh) Fresh tape smells fresh..throw away old masking tape or it’ll contribute to insanity. haha Buy only high quality tape and have no regrets. I like the grease pencil(no cap to mess with..not permanent..needs no sharpener and you’ll lose it before it runs out)…any color..(think Valu Village) Why limit color? Grease pencils and masking tape both come in many pretty express yourself..write(no..print) large and neatly…your work will scream “I CARE” even when you are not will set the bar on more than a subliminal level. This comes from an artist..not a chef..I use lots and lots of salvaged containers and tubes etc. Love, Doug

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