Restaurant Kitchen Secrets

What really goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant kitchen? Until you actually work in a kitchen, you will soon realize the kitchen stories that once seemed unreal, actually do occur. You may have heard of the saying, “never complain about the food because something will happen.”

There must of have been some point in your life that you believed in that saying and who knows you may still do. What is the fear? Stories suggest that food sent back to a kitchen would be spit on by the chef. Other stories suggest foods such as steak would be thrown to the floor, stomped on and placed back on the grill.

A few years ago a televised special news report featured kitchen practices. Secret hidden cameras showed restaurant kitchens whose chefs would throw steaks to the floor before placing it back onto the grill. Another chef placed patties of ground beef between his armpits to shape it more. I couldn’t believe what I saw on TV. Of all the places I have worked in a kitchen, I have never encountered such extremes.

However, I have witnessed several occasions where chefs would still reuse food that was just dropped on the floor. From lettuce, tomatoes to cheese, each of these items would be quickly rinsed under water and patted dry. I questioned it several times, but was quickly shown who was boss. Although I continued to work at these places, I opposed the practices.

Kitchen secrets are more than unsanitary practices. There are also secrets on how your food is prepared. Is homemade really made from scratch? Is your $50 rib eye steak really worth your money? How about that scoop of ice cream? Or, are roasted vegetables really roasted?

My wife and I have dined and worked at some of the top restaurants in the city. One restaurant in particular that I will not name has built its fame from its world renowned chef and intricate multi-plate tasting menu featuring homemade dumplings for $15. To our surprise we were told they were brought in frozen. You wouldn’t imagine a high end fine dining establishment would bring in frozen goods.

Now, how about that steak? Have you ever wonder how a busy 300 seat restaurant can keep up with its orders? Another fine dining restaurant that we have enjoyed has revealed that its steaks are precooked in the microwave and finished off on the grill. The chefs have perfected the timing so precisely to the point I even didn’t notice. The steaks are placed on the grill just enough time to give the proper flavor and its grill markings.

Would you ever imagine a five star hotel in Europe would inject air into their homemade ice cream to create a more round full effect? I guess more profits to them. Finally, how about roasted vegetables? My wife worked at a restaurant that occasionally deep fried their vegetables just enough that it did not burn, but to the customer, the vegetables appeared they just came straight out of the roaster. Lazy? Maybe.

Of course, kitchen secrets like these are not found in every establishment. Health and safety laws have become increasingly strict over the years with inspections that occur more frequent. On the other hand, secrets are called secrets for a reason. Sometimes we will never know what really goes on inside, but until you work and encounter it yourself will the secrets be revealed. Stay tuned, more restaurant secrets to come.

Photograph by: edrodgers731

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5 Responses to “Restaurant Kitchen Secrets”

  1. Sherxr Says:

    Hi! Totally agree with you on the part that no one spits on food for customers. That’s only for cheap diners and fast food places where the workers have or show no respect for the food safety.
    But frankly we know some chefs in high class restaurants have really bad habits like sticking their fingers to taste the food. Ew…

  2. TheRestaurantBlogger Says:

    I agree that some of the very best and most expensive restaurants will appear to be perfect from the outside but are in fact no better
    than many of the cheaper restaurants who do not practice health and safety in the kitchen. I believe much of the fault comes from
    the lack of training and not leading by example. An executive chef like a general manager has responsibilities to properly lead a team
    and must be a good role model. Staff will follow their leader. There should be no excuse for a chef to use their fingers to taste food.
    Spoons are everywhere and that’s what they are for. If chefs truly cared for their customers, they shouldn’t think twice what to use.
    Who knows if they even washed their hands?

    Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more restaurant stories.

  3. Food Service Ninja Says:

    well light ice cream is simple churned more to make it less caloric – cant really picture how they inject aitr unless they are churning it.

    most places that cheat on housemade products do so in the dessert section -the high end ones appear housemade too

    and you guys need to watch the movie Waiting the adulterated food happens and it goes on up to in my experience the major chains at the low end of the dining spectrum. anywhere you earn your living churn n burning tables you will find it. it is a product of leass professional staff, corporate cost cutting pressure, guests attempting to get something for nothing-thanks Steak N Ale for ruining the public in this manner, and the crappy atmosphere found in chains themselves

  4. TheRestaurantBlogger Says:

    Hi Food Service Ninja, perhaps your right in about the churning of the ice cream. I am not too sure how the ice cream was made, but several years ago, I was told by a former general manager of a 5-star hotel in Europe that the kitchen was cheating customers by injecting air into the ice cream. Maybe he was referring to the churning process.

    I will definitely have to rent the movie, Waiting. I have been told by several other friends. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Mister E Says:

    I worked in restaurants for 10 years mainly in the back of house but I did it all from dishwashing, busboy and barback to all sorts of cooking, serving, bartending and managing. Only twice did I ever witness something really nasty being done to food although certainly I did see a lot of things picked up off the floor and quickly rinsed or thrown back in the fryer to clean it up.

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