To ask the most shocking things you’ve seen in the food industry(110 Posts)
If you’ve a background or currently in the food sector, what secrets and practices do you see? My dad used to work for Pizza Hut many years back and refused to eat from there anymore because of the things he’d seen. Even though I’ve pointed out you can access food hygiene ratings for most restaurants now!
I've seen chefs finger and press foods far more than needed as they arrange plates.
Puts me right off and I rarely eat out now.
Feel like I should change my name to MrsSomething before responding
Also feel like I shouldn’t read any responses if I ever want to eat out again!
My dad was a cater-er, and was always stunned by buy-in meals from the catalogues that were approved by the vegetarian society (the little green "v" on the menu) that blatantly contained meat stock.
I was very proud of him that although he did buy stuff in, he never once brought something that was 'vegetarian approved" but actually contained meat!
I also worked in a Pizza Hut. Was fairly bleak out back: dirty and unpleasant.
Chef lick his fingers before transferring chips from fryer to plate "because if your fingers are wet the chips don't feel as hot"
Scores on the door are actually useless.
For one they're assessed every year.
So a fabulous restaraunt can get a 2 or 3 due to structural issues and lack of confidence in management (if the general manager is off sick and a team leader stands in but doesn't know exactly how to answer the inspectors questions 100%).
But a shit restaraunt can have a good day, too. Leading to the opposite happening.
The worst place I ever worked at for food safety was a 5/5. Mold in the pot wash, chefs handling raw chicken then handling cooked rice balls and serving them like that...
Seriously a score on the door means fuck all - even if the initial score was accurate a month later there may be new chefs, managers or an owner which can completely change everything but the rating will stay the same for 11 months...
Also, no ones going to do anything bad (ie spitting in food serving out of date food handling raw meat then cooked food etc) in front of a council inspector are they!
I don't know why people take so much stock in these things...
as for the worst things I've seen...
a customer spunking in buffet mashed potato. He then went to other pubs in the area and did similar. Was arrested the next day.
A chef serving incorrectly defrosted meat, leading to severe illness and killing one person.
A kitchen that was so filthy you could get a spoon, scrape the surface and it still wouldn't be white (the colour it was meant to be!) it took 2 chefs 2 bar staff and a manager to get the place service ready, in 12 hours. I'd taken the job there and refused to work until it was at an acceptable standard.
source: chef for over a decade....
I worked in a café many moons ago I saw the owner use her bare hands to shovel homemade coleslaw from a big container into a small deli sized bowl to put on the counter for sandwiches.
My DM used to work for 2 Sisters The recent revelations were of no surprise to her at all.
Female head chef who didn’t wash her hands after the loo, and go back and prepare food. And she used to take the eat by dates off food, and sell it.
a customer spunking in buffet mashed potato.
Work for a hospitality agency, so mostly only involved in getting food from kitchens to diners. First shift was at a venue to help with the setting up for a Christmas party (venue hosted a number of them in the run up and charged around £70 a head). Noticed that some of the glasses had lipstick marks and went to put them back in the kitchen to be cleaned. Person overseeing (from the venue) ordered us to put them out anyway as "they're that drunk by the time they sit down to eat they won't notice with the lights down"
Seen people passing dirty cutlery over a jug of boiling water (while polishing clean cutlery) and then saying it will do for setting tables.
I now only agree to do bar shifts, which although they have a later finish, means I don't have to put up with being told to put dirty cutlery or glassware out.
However, bar staff do have to clear up ready for the following night's revelries and it is quite another thing to document what gets left behind.
Chef dropped a (pre-made, microwaved) risotto on the floor. Literally, the whole risotto on the floor, not still in the tub or anything. It was the last one so he scooped it up with his hands and put it into a bowl. I was stunned! I told him he was a disgrace and I refused to serve it (in my student days when I didn't give a toss about keeping my job), an argument ensued until another waiter took the plate to the customer. She'd eaten a few forkfuls by the time I got to her so I thought it best she never find out.
I’ve often gone to a buffet and wanted to get my jollies over a bowl of mash 😂😂😂
These are vile, now I don’t trust hygiene ratings at all!
I worked in a large restaurant chain as a teenager and was berated by the manager for washing the cutlery before re-setting the tables. "There's no time for that, just give it a rub on your apron"
I’ve seen stuff planted in chocolate bars by consumers who wanted compensation. One bar (will not say by whom manufactured, too outing) had a darning needle shoved into it. There was genuinely NO WAY that could have happened during the manufacturing process. Another time, somebody planted a Valium in a bag of sweets and claimed it was there when they opened it. No way. If it had got in during manufacturing, eg if an employee had dropped it into a hopper, the tablet would have had residue/abrasion on it. Never stopped people trying it on though!
I worked in a bakery, the head baker used to spit on the edges of the danish pastries to stick them down. I had eaten plenty of them before I saw him do it.
They really are pointless and very few times I've actually thought the scores to be accurate (for better or worse). The best place I worked at for food hygiene and quality had a 2.
It's shocking how much faith people put in them, really. I'm glad I no longer live in the UK bit it seems to be a bible for British diners!
You're better off reading the reviews and keeping an eye on key points like
Do staff have gloves on
Do the chefs look clean?
If it's a buffet, are things checked on, monitored by bar staff and replenished quickly? Are the glasses and cutlery clean? It isn't foolproof and it's more difficult to do if the kitchen is completely closed off or on a different floor, but it's much better than a score that is highly likely to be inaccurate anyway.
Birds used to get into a factory I used to work in through the lorry loading hatch. They’d shit everywhere including the large open top food mixers. It would only be scooped out if it was caught in time.
A big name supermarket nearby -the manager sweeps up any spilled grapes/fruit/sweets from pic n mix from the floor and just plonks them back in with the fresh stuff. Also uses the out of date chickens to cook and make their "fresh" sandwiches in the café 😷
Genuinely 100% true.
I used to make sandwiches in a bakery, sometimes the ham smelt off and was a bit slimy. I would explain to to the boss, he would sniff it and tell me to use it. I worked on the principal that if I wouldn't eat it then I wasn't selling it, I always binned it when he wasn't looking.
Gloves aren’t actually encouraged in kitchens anymore as it gives a false sense of security- people forget to change them, or forget to wash their hands. Really easily done. They’re only really used for raw meat preparation, but aren’t encouraged for use elsewhere.
In my experience chefs who take pride in their uniform ie ironed whites, apron, clean cloth tend to be cleaner! Even with a laundry service some chefs still manage to make themselves look unwashed and uncared for!
Bar staff picking up empty glasses with the their fingers in the top- massive no no.
Feel under your plates
I did a summer in a sandwich factory which supplied prepackaged sandwiches for some of the big supermarkets. The general hygiene wasn’t too bad, but you would be shocked at the amount of people who handle your sandwich! Worst thing I’ve seen was blokes rummaging in their trousers before touching the sandwiches.
I stopped working in British kitchens this year. Didn't know about the glove thing, when did that come in? That said though can see how it makes sense. I'd probably still wear them (though change them regularly) as I do at home. I cannot bare the thought of getting food stuck in my nails
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