Chefs

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Joined Feb 8, 2017
Hi,

I'm a food writer from the UK and am interested in finding out if there is anything chefs would advise customers to avoid if they got the chance?

Is there anything that, as professional chefs knowing what goes on behind the scenes, you would never order in a restaurant?

For example, seeing the way something is made, produced, re-used, you just would not touch?

The same goes for drinks - any bottles of anything you would avoid?

Are there any times of day you would avoid going out to eat?

Any other backstage secrets?

Thanks!
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2011
If I ever worked in a place where they served something that "I would not touch", I would not be working there anymore.  I can't imagine any chef worth their salt that would continue working in a place that either product or preparation methods warranted warning a customer against ordering something.  food or beverage. 

As far as being a patron, I can tell a lot about a place by simple observation.  Cleanliness of bathrooms and front of house can be very telling to how things are in the kitchen.  From what I see, I can range from never going there again to calling the health department.

While writing this I did think of one thing:  Never order a well done steak.  get something else. 

As far as times to avoid, I would say never to sit down at a restaurant within 20 minutes of closing time.  It's not so much that they will do something bad to your food, but at that point, most of the kitchen will be in breakdown/clean mode and the product sent out sometimes isn't what it should be.  In a well run establishment it is not much of an issue, but in other cases......

Backstage secrets?  Every place is unique in that detail.
 
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Joined May 5, 2010
Wow did you open up a can of worms with this thread.

"I can't imagine any chef worth their salt that would continue working in a place that either product or preparation methods warranted warning a customer against ordering something.  food or beverage."

 

Chefs come in all shapes, sizes, and intellects, even those that are worth their salt.

Every once in a while I'll read a news article about the "10 things you should never order from a restaurant" or "12 things servers hate about customers." 

After working in the industry, I can tell you that there are some things to think about, but not necessarily avoid. Things like not ordering fish off the menu on a Monday, or to be aware that the food in the chaffing dishes at the Sunday buffet is all mostly leftovers from the week.

Planethoff, I found your comment about not going to a restaurant 20 minutes before closing amusing.

After years of going out to eat and being disappointed repeatedly, I now tell myself that the only way I'm going to get good food and service is to pay $60-70 a plate.
 
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Joined Jan 25, 2013
After working in the industry, I can tell you that there are some things to think about, but not necessarily avoid. Things like not ordering fish off the menu on a Monday, or to be aware that the food in the chaffing dishes at the Sunday buffet is all mostly leftovers from the week.  Anthony Bourdain wrote the same thing.

Planethoff, I found your comment about not going to a restaurant 20 minutes before closing amusing.  I try to avoid doing this.  In some places, you go then and see half the tables and chairs broken down, floors being vacuumed, silverware for next day being wrapped.  Usually happens on the road where choice is that restaurant, closing or not, and vending machines.

After years of going out to eat and being disappointed repeatedly, I now tell myself that the only way I'm going to get good food and service is to pay $60-70 a plate.  I like to eat at small 'mom&pop' ethnic restaurants.  We have found several that have great food and service at reasonable cost.  they are are go-to choices when in that part of town.
other things are common sense.  took friends to a local steakhouse, they serve Angus beef raised in the county.  a friend orders shrimp, then complains all night about how bad it was.  DUH.  the steaks were melt in your mouth good.
 
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