If anyone’s going to know exactly what you should and shouldn’t be eating at any given moment, it’s going to be whoever’s cooking and giving it to you. There could be any number of dishes that sound delicious in theory, but are actually either a terrible idea or totally. Unfortunately, we rarely get any inkling which dishes these might be. Thank god for Reddit.
In a thread posted on the popular messaging site, a series of industry insiders have spent several months revealing exactly which foods we should all be avoiding. Some make total sense, while others are a serious surprise. Either way, you’ll be grateful for the advice. These are seven things that chefs and servers will never ever order in a restaurant.
1. Eggs Benedict
It might be a staple of bougie brunches around the world, but anyone who’s ever watched hollandaise sauce actually get made knows that it’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Usually made in advance and kept hot enough to maintain consistency, but not enough to cook any of the egg inside, breakfasts like eggs benedict are best left well alone. As one Redditor put it, “I don’t trust hollandaise sauce to not come from a jacuzzi of aged bacterial growth.”
Given its reputation for chronic food poisoning, any type of seafood can sometimes feel like a lottery. However, one restaurant worker described in vivid detail why they will never go near what is regarded as one of the world’s premium gamefish. As they put it, “I've seen a chef cutting up and cleaning one before and it's not pretty. Let's just say a fish that size picks up a good deal of parasites during its lifetime, and they all start jumping ship at once when they figure out their host is dead…”
3. Any drink with milk
In most bars, the range of drinks that feature milk is likely to be minimal, Unfortunately, this means that when you make the mistake of ordering one, things can get ugly. As Redditor TillikumWasFramed puts it, "Having been a bartender, never order a drink with milk. There are hardly any drinks with milk, meaning hardly any milk is used. That partially-used quart they have behind the bar may have been sitting there for QUITE a while."
4. Nothing they aren’t good at
We’ve all been to a pasta place, and suddenly realised that we had a hankering for something completely different. This, it turns out, can be a bad idea. Redditor Budgiejen described how they, “avoid something that I think the kitchen doesn't experience much. If it's a steakhouse, I don't order the pasta. If it's a burger joint, I'll probably order a burger, not a chicken wrap. Don't send the kitchen into a frenzy because they can't remember how to prepare your food."
5. Steamed milk
It might be served boiling hot, but coffee can be just as likely to harbour bacteria as anything else. As arabidopsis explains, “I avoid places that make coffee who don't rinse out the milk pitcher after steaming milk. This means it's likely the steam wand has crusty milk in it (that will have been cooked), the people aren't cleaning the coffee machine well, and your coffee will likely taste like shit. Also, did I mention as they haven't probably cleaned it well (such as the grouphead or steam wand nozzle), any milk/coffee grinds leftover will probably have some hardy mould/bacteria growing on them.”
6. Dipping sauces
If a kitchen is busy and orders are flying in, the chances are that a tiny ramekin of sauce is unlikely to receive the same care and attention as some of the more scene stealing aspects of a dish. As Redditor Phoenix_Magic_X elaborates, “When I was a waitress we had little pots of sauce. We just topped them up. So god knows what's in your little pot of sauce.”
7. Melted cheese
Not all foods should be avoided because they contain something disgusting. Sometimes, it’s about sympathy. Dozens of Redditors joined the food discussion to voice their dissatisfaction with anyone who ordered dishes such as French onion soup and enchiladas, because the hassle involved in trying to scrub melted cheese from the bottom of a pan. As anyone who has any sympathy with pot washers will agree, this is a truly thankless task.
Obviously, not all restaurants are the same and not every example from this list will spell disaster. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note what those with experience look to avoid. At the very least, it might give you pause for thought the next time you’re eating out.