If anyone’s going to know what’s good to eat, it should be a chef. When you spend your days surrounded by dozens of different ingredients, watching cooking come and go, it doesn’t take long for you to get a pretty good grasp of which ingredients tend to be treated with care, and which can be slightly suspect.
Normally, this information is kept a closely guarded secret. Fortunately, however, we have decided to scour the internet and search for the ingredients that the very best cooks will always think twice before ordering themselves. This may make some of you slightly uncomfortable. Just don’t blame us.
1. Soup of the Day
Having been in the kitchen for over three decades, you’d expect Gordon Ramsay to have a trick or two up his sleeve. Despite the angry Scot’s proclivity for eating unusual things, there is one thing that he will never order if he spots it on a menu. In an interview with Town and Country, Ramsay revealed that guests should always, “Ask what yesterday’s soup du jour was before today’s special. It may be the case that it’s the soup du month.”
2. Wedge Salad
As if you needed another reason to avoid being healthy when you eat out, almost every chef agrees that ordering salad is usually a terrible idea. Speaking to Mashed, celebrity chef Ariane Resnick revealed that anyone ordering wedge salad is literally paying over ten dollars for a chunk of iceberg lettuce, often with prefab commercial dressing." You have been warned.
Obviously, not all fish is off-limits. However, ever since Anthony Bourdain published his infamous expose of the restaurant industry, debate has raged over exactly when you should order it. Because many fishmongers are typically closed over the weekend, there is a prevailing belief among chefs that you should never order fish on a Monday, as it has been sitting there for at least three days. Though Bourdain himself later said that this rule is stupid, many of his colleagues still adhere to it.
Even though we all eat mountains of it, ordering chicken in a restaurant can be fraught with danger. According to a range of chefs, many restaurants overcompensate and overcook their chicken in order to guarantee that they don’t accidentally poison a diner. This often leaves dishes dry and extremely unpleasant.
Another pearl of wisdom from the late great Anthony Bourdain, it turns out that your brunch may be more hazardous than you’d expect. In a scathing review of this indulgent eggy sauce, Bourdain wrote "Bacteria love hollandaise. And nobody I know has ever made hollandaise to order. And how long has that Canadian bacon been festering in the walk-in? Remember, brunch is only served once a week — on the weekends. Cooks hate brunch. Brunch is punishment block for the B-Team cooks, or where the farm team of recent dishwashers learn their chops." All the more reason to avoid.
6. Kobe Beef
Given it is one of the most famously luxurious ingredients on earth, you could be forgiven for thinking that kobe is a safe bet. However, it turns out that you’re rarely getting what you pay for. Not only are almost all “kobe” products actually made from much cheaper “wagyu”, but question marks remain over the overall product. Legendary chef Wolfgang Puck said “The Japanese Wagyu is really fatty and you’re not meant to eat a lot of it. I wouldn’t eat steak like that because of the fat.”
7. The Special
There is arguably no word more deceptive in a restaurant than “special”. It’s an open secret in the industry that many specials are just used as an excuse to get rid of old or expiring produce. According to chef Alberto Morreale, “Some restaurants put together their specials for the day based on what’s about to expire or what they’re trying to get rid of faster.” No matter how tempting it may sound, it probably won’t be all it’s cracked up to be.
The last thing anyone wants is for their evening out to come a cropper because of poor decision making. Fortunately, you can trust the industry experts to help you find the right food.