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What's the dirtiest food industry place you've seen?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I once went to a local chinese hole in the wall here in NY and stood in line to place my order since the place was busy. Near me sat a Chinese man eating a whole fish. I was quite jealous of his ritual of picking the meat off the bones with his hands and thought briefly about ordering the whole fish but finally decided to go with my original idea of Singapore Mei Fun. He quickly finished his fish and then I saw him go back behind the counter (turns out he was an employee there), and immediately stuck his hand in a big vat of cooked rice and tossed it around. He hadn't washed his hands. I turned around and walked out.

Another time I went to an Italian deli intending to buy some San Daniella prosciutto. The place was busy and I found myself standing in line again watching the employees run back and forth completing orders. I was watching one guy who happened to be attractive whiz by the open fridge and knock over an open stick of salami to the floor. He picked it up and placed it back in the fridge without even dusting it off as if it was second nature. Again I walked out.

I figure that if these employees are willing to do these unsanitary things in front of customers, there is no telling what they're willing to do when we can't see. But what really disturbs me is that I walked out and didn't say anything. Both places were very busy, I didn't want to cause a scene, and I was nervous.

What would you do? Ever seen anything worse?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 8
You have obviously never been in a processing plant, an operating kitchen or a slaughter house. What you saw was nothing, try spending time in any of the above three and then get back to me. If those things made you walk out I could have you buying a farm to raise EVERYTHING you eat and never buying anything from a market or eating in a restaurant again.
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
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Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #3 of 8
For food processing it was the local turkey plant, areas with blood 6 inches deep on the floors.

For a restaurant kitchen it is the casino where I used to work. We had cable runs from the gambling floor that went overhead in the kitchen ceiling so we had to work back there while the kitchen was in use.

I removed a ceiling tile and a ton of dust, dead bug etc hit the prep table below me. One of the kitchen grunts wiped it off with a dirty rag and used it to prep salads without washing the table. And we could skate in the grease back by the fry station. I refused to eat there even when my boss said he would buy :lol:
post #4 of 8
Bwaaahahaa! I was waiting for a post like this!

I was in the pest control biz a while back and worked the night shift for commercial accounts.

Where cockroaches do not discriminate, nor show prejudice, they go for any type of restaurant. That said, the restaurants I had the most problems with were asian, indian and mexican restaurants. I believe that it is not a matter of poor hygeine to them, but acceptance that bugs are bugs and will always be where food is.

Only after being closed by health department, would they call us.

I would service restaurants that would have literally thousands of cockroaches. I would fume the kitchen and RUN out, cause it was raining cockroaches. Lots of restaurants would have rats too....

(side note) after leaving a major clean out, I always wondered how many dead and dying roaches found thier way into the food supply, that most definately was not thrown away.

One of the cleanest restaurants I serviced is a place that is still open called Dominicos, in Arcadia, CA. They are an itialian restaurant and and the gods honest truth is that, at closing time, if you plopped a pile of spagetti and sauce on the kitchen floor and gave me a fork I would eat it. This guy would have the kitchen guys on thier knees scrubbing the floors with bleach water every night after closing. All the equipment, fryers, stoves, ovens, mixers, looked like it was new. He had a moth in the storage once and called me in desparation to come and treat his place. Sad to say, his sanitation ethics is an anamoly.:D

Finally, In my own kitchen, one day, I was around the corner and heard my prep guy hacking and coughing. I popped my head in to see what the heck was wrong, He had a hangover and was throwing up in the trash can. When he was done, he wiped his mouth by "squeegying" vomit from his chin and mouth into the trash can. He then wiped his hands on his pant leg and proceeded to chop the veggies.:suprise::crazy::smiles::eek::eek:

I was appalled. I let him have it! Threw away all the veggies he prepped and docked him for it. But the point is, even when you try to instill your ethics into others, it doesn't always work.:roll:

I still eat out,though rarely, and some of the places I know that if I went to the kitchen, it would gross me out. But what can one do? :eek::eek:

A good test to tell if a kitchen is dirty is to use the bathroom as a litmus test, if it is filthy, then kitchen is the same. I always look at corners of door jams near the kitchen, roaches live there.:suprise::suprise::suprise:
Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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post #5 of 8
This may seem wrong but one of the cleanest kitchens I have been in was when I did a year at a local McFood. That place was spotless and if you didn't have anything to do you had better be cleaning or get sent home. Sanitation was one of the biggest priorities at that particular franchise.
post #6 of 8
Keyword: Particular.

I serviced many franchises and different stores had different levels of owner ethics (sanitation-wise).

Of all the franchises I did, the one that tried the hardest was... UHH... they would scrub and sanitize all the grills, floors, walls EVERY night...and they would still have roach problems! The crafty little buggers would learn when the cleaning cycle ended, while comfortably waiting in the electircal boxes (whos gonna power wash the electric box ???) then come out to feast (off of sparkling clean floors)

Lemme tell you, as a species, we will all be dead and gone but the roaches will live on.:p
Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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Chile today, Hot Tamale!
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post #7 of 8
Like you Mapiva my family has owned/still owns restaurants and I personally have owned 2. My parents place just had the highest score for the month in Charlotte, on Friday they scored a 102 out of 104 points(they are anal about the place sparkliing). They got 2 points taken off because one of the cutting boards on the line had "deep grooves" in it. That is nip picking because nothing else was wrong. I know that the lowest score I ever recieved in a kitchen that I have either run or owned was a 92 and that was upsetting because it was an opening score for my first place. The problem is that not everyones idea of clean is like my mothers, which is white glove museum clean. My cooks hated me because I would have them cleaning under the line nightly, hoods nightly and taking the line apart on Sunday night after dinner religiously without fail. Even if I was off I would stop in early monday AM and check under everything, take out drawers and look under them, pull out the plates and check inside the counters.....If everyone did that there would be no place for Kitchen Nightmares would there?
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
Taste: The sensation derived from food, as interpreted thru the tongue to brain sensory system.
Flavor: The overall impression combining taste, odor, mouthfeel and trigeminal perception.
Reply
post #8 of 8
Worked for a short time at a local brewery years ago.
They had no sink in the kitchen, the closest was in the next room at the dish station.
No hand sink, nothing.
They would reach into the bucket of chicken wings, drop them in the fryer, then rinse their hands in the bucket of fries, which were stored in water.
I was horrified.
Their explanation was that since you cook the fries, there is no sanitation worry.
I asked them about the cold turkey sandwich they would make after rinsing their hands this way, and they just shrugged.
I used to keep two buckets on the line, one of detergent water, one bleach water.
I would get laughed at.
I did mention I only worked there a short time, right?
(shudder).


My wife and I had our favorite family owned Asian restaurant we frequented.
One day they told us they were planning on selling, and asked if I was interested, as they knew what I do for a living.
They invited me back to look at the place.
Man, I wish I'd never have done that.
What stood out was the stove.
An old Wolf, that was black, caked on grease and grime, with dried chicken sitting in a colander over a pot, who knows for how long, noodles and veggies everywhere, and the floor was a mess.
I've never been back.
I tell you, ignorance is bliss.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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