It’s shocking to see what can go on in some of them fancy restaurants. Behind closed doors, there is a whole other world that is anything but fancy. During my time spent in the food industry, I have seen things that almost make me never want to dine out again. But of course, I can’t refrain from eating out since I don’t always want to cook at home and I love trying out new places. The things that really make me cringe are:
OMG using ones fingers as a spoon totally makes me cringe! I HATE HATE when I see people using their fingers to taste something. I’ve even seen chefs on TV doing this. This is something you will never ever find me doing. I find this extremely gross and unsanitary. Can you imagine how many items that a finger spoon tasting chef has dipped his finger into? Traces of his/her saliva will be spread in each and every one of the foods that was finger spooned. GROSS!!
So when I started working in the industry, I was surprised at how many people take the short cut and do it the disgusting way. When I go out to eat at a restaurant, I can’t help but to think if the food I’m consuming has been finger spooned.
The ten second rule, the five second rule, the three second rule..whatever you want to call it.
The very first time I ever witnessed this rule was during my externship. There was a party for a wedding and X number of people ordered chicken. One of the guys dropped a chicken on the floor and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him pick up the chicken breast and toss it in the pan. I was beyond appalled. He tossed it in there as if it was normal. And over the years, that did not become the only time I saw the X second rule applying.
Many kitchens probably have the local pest exterminator on speed dial and know their guys by name. When lights go off, the kitchen is like a breeding playground for the little critters. Roaches, mice….ewww!! Did I mention that I am severely creeped out by any rodent? I have this weird phobia of birds and rodents. They are just sooooo disgusting. Don’t be surprised if you find kitchens purchasing mice traps by the bulk. They probably find their way in from outside looking for food, hide in their little holes and come out when lights are off. Can you imagine them running around, digging for food, pissing and shitting everywhere? And they might carry diseases too. I saw a dead mouse at the workplace twice so far in my cooking career. Once was outside of the dry storage and the other time was under a low boy.
Lack of proper hand washing
During a rush, I have noticed people washing their hands in between even less. It’s just too darn hard for some people to find the time to walk over to the sink to wash hands and come back to do orders. When you are back to back with orders, leaving your station for even a second can mess up your flow or get you behind. And some chefs will not always wash their hands in between in order to save time during a mad rush. But I’ve seen people be more careful with hand washing after handling poultry but less so with other protein.
I can understand food recycling from the food cost control perspective. If you have an expensive piece of cheese that someone didn’t touch from their plate or sides that they didn’t eat, it can make sense to recycle. Still, I think it’s gross! It’s like…who knows what the diner did while the plate was at the table? Even when it looks like it hasn’t been touched, they could have poked around at it or something with their saliva infested forks, could have sneezed or coughed towards it, could have dropped it and picked it back up, the list goes on with possible what-ifs.
After discovering what goes on in some of the professional kitchens, it has totally changed my perspective on dining out. My OCD is not limited to the kitchen. I am OCD at the table too! You can laugh, but when I am dining at a restaurant, I always handle sauces/condiments at the table and bread baskets with a napkin. I always wash my hands after looking at the menu. Unless it’s paper, can you imagine how many hands they have gone through just in a single day? And I don’t think many places sanitize their menus.
I realize that I am a germaphobe, but I also know that our immune system (of healthy individuals) can tolerate more than we think. But it’s just the thought of it all that makes me cringe. But, what can I do?~ As long as it doesn’t make me sick or kill me, I’ll just pretend not to know.