Fighting dirty! Kitchens compete in dishwashing duel

Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

They are looking for a good clean fight!

The humble back-of-house staff from two Brooklyn restaurants will cover themselves in glory and in suds at a plate-cleaning competition on May 22 in Greenpoint. The Diamond’s brunch crowd will create dirty dishes for competitors in the All-Brooklyn Dishwashing Duel, who will battle for an ale-filled trophy and eternal glory, said the event’s organizer.

“The trophy will have the name of the greatest dishwasher emblazoned on it, and we will forever know who was the victor,” said Jamie Hook, a Greenpoint devotee of the art of dishwashing.

The duel, which will take place in the Diamond’s back yard, will follow a strict code. After a coin toss, the soapy skirmishers will choose their weapons — sponges or scrub brushes, and their choice of detergent — and face off for three rounds of competition. Judges will determine who wins each round — and who is all washed up — by focusing on volume, precision, or artistry, while an announcer provides color commentary.

Volume is simple to judge — how many dishes competitors can clean in three minutes. But one tricky aspect could wipe out a win, said Hook — keeping the dishes from toppling over.

“It’s an incredibly small dishrack,” said Hook. “There’s an art to stacking.”

The precision round gives each washing warrior three minutes to restore an “encrusted and filthified” dish to sparkling cleanliness.

And the artistry competition will involve cleaning a single wineglass. Bonus points will be granted for costumes and choreography during this final round, said Hook.

The owners of the two eateries in the inaugural event — Greenpoint bistro Le Gamin and Williamsburg’s Motorino pizzeria — dished out harsh words to their rivals.

Motorino’s Matt Palombino, who will join the dish duel on behalf of his employees, said to La Gamin’s owner: “Yo, Frenchie — if you even dream of beating us, you’d best wake up and apologize.”

Le Gamin’s response was succinct.

“Eat soap and die,” said Robert Arbor.

In addition to bragging rights, the dishwashing staff of the winning restaurant will split a cash prize of $150, plus whatever money is raised at the afternoon’s brunch. The winner will also issue a challenge to another Brooklyn restaurant, for another match at a time to be determined. Those who do not respond will find themselves in hot water, said Hook.

“They will have to respond unless they want their honor besmirched” he said. “Honor must be maintained among the dishwashers of Brooklyn.”

Despite the somewhat silly trappings of the duel, participants say it has a serious point — giving attention to the vital but oft-ignored staff who labor in restaurant kitchens, said Le Gamin’s owner.

“Nobody every thought about the dishwasher, and we want to show that they are very important people in the business,” said Arbor. “It’s true! If you have dirty glasses or dirty dishes, it is not a good thing for the restaurant.”

And Hook hopes that the soap-operatic spectacle will elevate the discussion of the domestic task.

“I’m quite sincere about dishwashing,” said Hook. “It’s a domestic art, like quilting, but in a much more mundane form.”

Dishwashing Duel at the Diamond [43 Franklin St. between Quay and Calyer streets in Greenpoint, (718) 383–5030,]. May 22. 2–5 pm. Free ($5 for brunch).

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Updated 2:32 am, May 19, 2016
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like Brooklyn Paper on Facebook.

Reasonable discourse

Kirby from BoCoCa says:
Bill this would have been a better article if it was drawn out like a cartoon....hmmm....who could do that?
May 19, 2016, 8:29 am
John Wasserman from Prospect Heights says:
I for one (John Wasserman) am very excited to see the use of color (finally) in these drawings of his.
John Wasserman
May 19, 2016, 12:39 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!