Here's How Chipotle Employees Avoid Crying When Prepping Onions

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Onions can literally make anyone cry. Imagine Gordon Ramsay going about screaming in his fancy kitchen and casually calling everyone an "idiot sandwich," only to get to the prep station and suddenly start sobbing like a baby from chopping and prepping one too many onions. Funny — but it could happen!

As it turns out, onions have a distinct pungent odor that comes from the presence of sulfur; in addition, the vegetable also has the enzyme synthase, and when they combine it's what causes you to tear up. To put it more clearly, when an onion is first sliced into, sulfur and synthase react with each other to produce a gas that irritates your lachrymal gland, the same one that produces tears (via Self). So, consider just how much a tiny onion can make you cry and then imagine what employees working prep stations at fast-food chains go through.

Chipotle, in particular, goes through a whopping 50 pounds of onions in a single day, which the chain proudly adds, are hand-sliced (via the Chipotle website). Which means, behind every veggie burrito, salsa, and guacamole you buy and enjoy, there's an employee probably sitting behind the screen absolutely bawling their eyes out.

In fact, it's such a persisting problem that a Chipotle employee took to Reddit to ask fellow colleagues how they stopped themselves from weeping while prepping onions. The original poster desperately said, "I cry and my eyes hurt for a while to the point where I can barely do my job," and then added that the problem was so serious that using swim goggles to protect their eyes was in the cards. As always, fellow Redditors came to the rescue with some solid advice.

Chipotle employees use lime juice to stop tearing up around onions

Chipotle employees on Reddit were quick to sympathize with the struggling prep worker and had pretty nifty tips to offer on how not to tear up while chopping onions. Some suggested using a very sharp knife to slice into the onions as it can minimize the amount of gas released in the air, while others recommended soaking the onions in cold water for about 10 minutes first to dilute the enzymes.

Other suggestions included the good ol' trick of chewing gum to ward off tears, or taping sliced cucumber rounds just under the eyes, as well as wearing contact lenses. One employee even advised keeping a dripping wet towel close to the chopping board — as they said, the wet towel may absorb the gas that makes eyes sting. They also recommended wetting the towel every time the eyes start to sting again.

The general consensus among Chipotle employees though, was the use of lime juice really helps solve the problem of chopping onions. "I use a lime and squeeze it across my board. It actually works!" offered one employee whereas another admitted that they swipe some of the juice under the eyes, too.

If none of these work, one Chipotle worker had an interesting hack: onion goggles from Amazon. It turns out, there is such a thing!