The Scars of Charlotte Chefs

Charlotte’s prominent chefs share their worst moments in the kitchen— and the marks they have to remember them


(page 7 of 10)


The Flipside Café, The Flipside Restaurant: Jon Fortes

"I was in college still and working at a restaurant called Deja in Warwick, Rhode Island [in 1996 or 1997]. The restaurant was open about three days; it was an older restaurant they had redone and renovated. I pulled out a drawer, and as I did, the drawer fell. So my natural instinct was to catch the drawer, at which time a cleaver fell out and hit my two fingers. It cut through my tendons and down to the bone. I had to go to the hospital. To this day, there’s still some pain. But it was just a crazy situation. My chef that night was a younger guy, and he had called out sick that day. So I was running the kitchen, and [after I went to the hospital] he came in to cover my shift. I was at the hospital for about 12 hours. I came back to the restaurant, and he asked me to close. I sat there and just, with my hand wrapped up and all the stitches and stuff, kind of sat there and watched as the kitchen closed. … It was a rough day and a rough several months; I had to rehabilitate and try to get the motion back in my fingers and everything. I was able to grab pans with my other fingers; it probably took me about three months to get full mobility back in my hand. I went back to work the next day. I didn’t use that hand, and it was a pain in the butt.” 

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