or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Is it normal for restaurants to use fermented food?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Is it normal for restaurants to use fermented food?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm working in a restaurant where nearly everything we serve is fermenting because it's (very, very, very) old and kept out of the fridge during service. Obviously not the greatest way of running a kitchen. But when I show the chef/manager, he tells me I don't know what I'm talking about and says we'll cook it off (or if he's feeling really lazy, just serve it as is). I've tasted it after he cooks it off, and although better than it was, it still tastes pretty bad to me! Is this normal?? Is it an accepted way to rescue spoiled food? Do they teach this at school?
post #2 of 18
Well--I can only speak for the restaurants I have worked in but we did NOT cook or serve fermented food.

We did occasionally come across some growing food that we had missed in cleaning out the fridges but it was always promptly disposed of.

We didn't even keep milk past its expiration date. If it said October 7th on it if it was not used up before the end of the day we were to take the milk home for our own personal consumption or pitch it.

That being said a good chef friend of mine worked at a place that served rancid steaks. When he questioned it they told him he didn't know what he was talking about coated the thing in lemon juice and garlic and cooked it off and served it. He handed in his resignation the same day.
post #3 of 18
WHAT?!?!? The answer is NO!
post #4 of 18
If a customer gets sick they will blame you. Look for another position elsewhere. Do not know how long they have been in business, but if they last it is a miracle.
I used to work xtra for caterers in N.Y, one day went to a place and the caterer(a disbarred lawyer by the way) hands me a menu. One of items was beef strog. I asked him where is beef for it. He goes in walkin and shows me a leftover cooked rib, that was slimmy and growing fuzz.
I told him I wont use that, he said thats the way he does it., just rub it with baking soda. I told him "look pal I have been doing this over 30 years and have never killed anyone or gotten anyone sick, and I didn;t plan to start""."" I told him you make it ""and went home. He was not in business the following year.
CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
post #5 of 18
gag.....and right after lunch too
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #6 of 18
Run far away from this place and never, ever look back!!!!! The only fermented foods I serve are pickles, sauerkraurt, beer, wine, and breads (maybe some others too), but what you are describing is food gone bad. Run away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #7 of 18
Obviously not a good practice. But, if I could harken back to your original question... is it normal to use fermented food? Well, unfortunately, it may be. Food is money; food in the trash = money in the trash. From an owner's standpoint, where the bottom line is the only measure of success, it may just be normal. Here is when YOUR own work ethic, beliefs, whatever you want to call it, kick in. Do you please your boss, work in lock-step with their lackluster morals or do you do what you know to be right? I don't serve food that I know is bad. My lithmus test is simple: would I serve the item in question to my children? If the answer is a resounding "no" then it hits the trash and I figure out a way (hopefully) from repeating the mistake. Lesson learned... and nobody gets sick.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply
post #8 of 18
Ok, now that I got the first part of my response off my chest, here is some more useful information. First off, no it is not normal, or at least at all the places I have worked it would not ever be considered normal. There are obviously some issues here. Number 1 is the amount of production taking place. You are either making food in too large batches, ordering way too much or pulling too much out of the freezer. There is no reason that food should be so old. Look at the recipes, they may need to be cut down for the amount of volume you do. Look at the freezer pulls, do you need to pull out so much? Look at the ordering practices, can you order less and maybe more often? Number 2 is what happens when the food is pulled out of the fridge. Does it just sit out? Are you using ice baths to help keep things cold? Can you reorganize, in any way? Do you have any undershelf cooler units that can be reorganized to fit more items so less stay out? Either way, from both a health and a cost standpoint something needs to be done ASAP. And please, don't ever think that this is normal or acceptable in any way.
post #9 of 18
Everyone says to run. Well, I don't know about that...

True now, I wouldn't want to be the cook responsible for cooking off bad food, even though it was under orders. If I quit the owner will just do the same thing over again until he finally gets caught.

Catch the bastar*. Call up the health dept, and tell them of your concerns. Every complaint mut be investigated and hopefully they will.

It's true that whatever you throw out costs you money, but serving bad--I mean potentially poisonous food-- will cost even more money in the long run, and maybe even more than just money....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #10 of 18
I totally agree with foodpump. Call the health department until they come to investigate and in the meantime FIND A NEW JOB. You do not want to be involved with people who obviously dont even know basic sanitation and are putting their guests at serious, even potentially fatal risk. Secondly if they cant even get safe storage and handling right do you really think they can teach you anything else and then not wonder if it is also right. I feel in our profession you have to care as much about every aspect of the business from your own apperance and hygiene to how hard you work when you know no one is around to every technique and culinary term you can learn, but no matter if you are just starting your culinary career or are a very seasoned vet and no matter WHERE you are working, you should feel pride in your work.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you all very much! I was starting to think I was going nuts, being the only one in the kitchen who gave a toss about serving good (ahem, EDIBLE) food.

I'm pleased to announce that -after a small incident last night- I don't work there anymore! A customer complained that the guacamole was off, I said it most certainly was, the chef said (in front of the waitress) "why didn't you tell me!" then after she left, tried to tell me that it wasn't off. So I gave him one **** of a telling off, to which he replied "Don't you question my authority!!", and yelled at me to pack up my stuff and get out. I yelled at him to make less and store less, so he yelled at me there was NOTHING in his fridge that was too old, so I grabbed a festering, mouldy, bubbling bucket of chili sauce, the twin of one he made me scoop mould off and serve the other night! He dove for it and tried to wrestle it from my grasp, yelling at me to let go... and so it went on :-D A most amusing way to quit, don't you think!? I will be telling the health department about him and his many hygiene crimes. Most of them involve raw chicken.

Pete: You're a funny guy! Lazy Chef would sooner do the Cha-Cha for customers than go to the trouble of using ice baths! He prefers his mayonnaise warm and bacterial.

It's sad, but I think you all just taught me, in 2 minutes, more than Lazy Chef has in a couple of months since I started! Thanks again.
post #12 of 18
Wrestling over chili sauce? Sounds like something right out of Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. Can't help wondering who wound up wearing the most. You or him? (I'm hoping him.)
post #13 of 18
Bet staff meals were *ahem* interesting.
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
cooking with all your senses.....
Reply
post #14 of 18
Hope he did not retain any recipes from this place!!!!!!
CHEFED
Reply
CHEFED
Reply
post #15 of 18
Was this a Korean restaurant? Because its normal for them to serve fermented cabbage, fermented chili paste, etc.
post #16 of 18
I think ultimately this was a rhetorical question.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Noooo, nothing that's actually SUPPOSED to be fermenting! It's a Mexican ("Mexican" - Tex Mex) place. And we're talking bean dip with dairy that's been out of the fridge 5 hours a day, every day for two weeks. And guacamole that so old and full of gas it's like scooping whipped cream! It is blindingly obvious this isn't normal or acceptable- it's just the chef was so adamant that it was, and his idiot buddy in the kitchen backing him up and eating the stuff without batting an eyelid. Ugh! It was like being the only sane person in a loony bin.

I really don't know why he's still in business. He's owned the place for 8 years, and been the chef for several periods (don't know how long) during that time. And I doubt he was ever any better than he is now - basically lazy and childish and with no care about serving good food. Maybe he's employed some better chefs who've kept the place worth eating at? The last one was no star. He had a review in a good food guide in '06 - I know he wasn't the chef then. Or maybe he does just well enough to keep the place afloat. He makes sure his disgusting food looks vaguely appetising - I guess people are less likely to notice the taste if it looks ok.
post #18 of 18
wow thats bad, in the kitchen that i work in anything that starts to go bad it hits the trash can. nothing goes out to thats not good. if you are doing otherwise its not a place you want to work
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › Is it normal for restaurants to use fermented food?