Kitchen horror stories

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by momoreg, Apr 9, 2001.

  1. momoreg

    momoreg

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    I was just remembering a job I did several years ago for a NJ catering company, and the hazards and violations were too many to even count. It was by far the scariest food business I have ever encountered.

    I was hired as general kitchen help, as a favor to a fellow chef friend. They didn't know who I was or where I came from. The "chef" of this operation asked me to fill mushroom caps with bearnaise as an accompaniment for the entree. MMmmmm... He told me to mix a few bottles of Sysco lemon juice into Hellman's mayo and add dry tarragon to it. Then he showed me the shrooms, which were already de-stemmed, lined up on pans. They were FILTHY! He told me not to worry about that, and to just fill them. I ended up cleaning them anyway. But after they were filled,he then informed me that he had no room in the walk-in for them, and they sat festering in the 100 degree kitchen for 6 hours before the entree even went out!

    Meanwhile, the prep cooks in the next room were cutting up fennel on boards that were previously used for meat. The fennel was also unwashed.

    I was asked to carve on the floor, and they gave me a bread knife to slice smoked salmon.

    For dessert, they had buckets of mousse,and various berries. The raspberries were covered in mold, and the owner said to use them anyway. Nobody seemed to know what was going on in the kitchen.

    I can't help but wonder how many guests got sick that day, and nobody else there seemed to see any problem with what was going on!

    I thought that others here might also have some stories to share.
     
  2. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Boy, am I glad to see few responses to your question! I've seen some backward things done but I'm soooo releived I haven't seen anything like that.

    It partly goes back to the health departments lack of understanding of catering. They don't know how to take the right steps to regulate it.

    When I was catering they were really thorough about the coolers and how we carried our food to parties. But they never asked us how we would hold the food once we arrived on location. And they never dreamed of inspecting off premise (I don't think they can)!

    So they ask you about your proceedures....how you prep your food before transporting it. Their really tough on caterers who carry hot food around! The less you prep ahead of time, the less coolers and regulations you incounter. It's fine to transport and hold food in it's orginal produce case.

    So the health dept. condones these careless people by not thinking about what happens to the food once it leaves their control.

    :eek:
     
  3. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Scary, I walked into a high end kitchen a couple of years ago and they had cooked veg sitting in trays out on the kitchen floor with flies ....this was a very hip exspenisve restaurant, I've not eaten there since.

    One of my favorite kitchens to visit serves lunch and dinner 7 days a week and cranks out 500+ upscale meals a day....these guys maintain a spotless kitchen, there are always staff members washing down walls and floors....they work clean.
     
  4. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Momoreg, that kitchen sounds nauseating! I can't imagine those kinds of people being in the cooking business. That's scary!
     
  5. momoreg

    momoreg

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    Just to clarify, I re-read my post, and it says that I was asked to carve on the floor. I didn't mean literally "on the floor", I meant "out in front of the guests". I figured I should explain that.
     
  6. pastachef

    pastachef

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    LOL! The mental picture of you 'carving on the floor' stuck with me all day :) I was wondering how you managed to accomplish that :) I figured it was a really small kitchen...
     
  7. w.debord

    w.debord

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    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!Shugie....... :D :D
     
  8. pastachef

    pastachef

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    ...and with a cutting board, of course...I think I'd better quit while I'm ahead :)
     
  9. svadhisthana

    svadhisthana

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    I pictured you down on the floor as well. :D
    Svadhisthana
     
  10. pastachef

    pastachef

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    Jeni, That is so creepy!!! I'd have felt it on my hand for days. It gives me the shivers...
     
  11. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    One of my brothers worked in a grocery store while in high school. He had a similar experience when he opened a carton of bananas. The manager said he defied gravity, he jumped so high! :eek:
     
  12. pastachef

    pastachef

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    OMG. I've seen those spiders that travel in boxes of bananas on tv. I was thinking about them when I read your post. :eek:
     
  13. kimmie

    kimmie

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    Jeni, Mez, Pastachef,

    Your posts reminded hubby of those spiders too, hiding in banana cartons!

    :eek: