Dining out is one of the greatest pleasures and most common way people reward themselves or their loved ones. Restaurateurs and chefs alike, on the other hand, do their best at providing excellent dining experience with regards to food and service to their customers. While the latter statement is true, there is an undeniable fact that a lot of most establishments fail at it big time- and of course, they will not ever tell you. So here we are, spilling those nitty-gritty inside secrets you ought to know when eating out.
Most charge you about two to four times the actual cost of the food you’re eating
You may feel so posh eating that $100 dish with your pristine sparkly knife and fork in your local place’s classy restaurant. Not to mention it’s the “chef’s special” or whatever “of the day” your server recommended you to take. But behold, that isn’t exactly the chef’s exceptional dish nor is the restaurant’s special serving of the day. What you may be eating is just a couple of not-so-extraordinary ingredients cooked together and arranged fancily in that nice looking plate. Plus the “specials” and the “dish of the day” are usually the ones made from leftover ingredients that they already want to dispose of. They highlight it, make it sound extraordinary, and teach the servers to upsell to convert those wastages to earnings. Besides, good cooks make good use of trimmings.
It’s not fresh, vegetarian, and definitely not made from scratch
Fine, it might be freshly delivered or not frozen, but not freshly caught or butchered fresh-fresh. It’s just the menu’s way of luring you. And when you requested it to be vegetarian, more often than not, you’ve just been yet again fooled. In a kitchen of carnivorous cooks, they’ll do their best to make it all-veg at most, but they’ll most likely use chicken stock or carelessly flavour with parmesan and you wouldn’t even notice it.
Also, have you ever wondered how restaurants finish up your long list of orders within just minutes when you can’t even finish one of those in an hour? Although the number of cooks working on it and the chopped up vegetables as you may have guessed are a big factor, it’s not only it. Everything is pre-prepared, and store-bought premix and sauces comes in handy. Some dishes or sauces may have actually been cooked days ago and then just frozen or refrigerated; most uses instant products as bases. Yes, even that creamy mashed potato you’ve been craving is made of powder.
It’s not as clean as you think it is
The whole diner may generally look impeccably clean, but fool yourself not. They’ve wiped the tables, but using some old rag used for everything else; they’ve removed that extra piece of rice that got stuck on the menu, but they haven’t sanitized the dried up cough remnants of the previous customer.
They do their best at cleaning everything up, but there is not enough time and energy for every single thing. Same goes for the kitchen. There are just a lot of side works aside from serving you and cooking for you. So don’t expect your menu and that condiments on the table to be sanitized clean every after customer or even assume your utensils are sterile clean.
Bottom line: Be OC and wash your hands before you eat. And check that the restrooms are clean, they usually tell a lot about the cleanliness of the restaurant as a whole.
Nasty cooks and servers
Contrary to popular assumption, it’s not true that cooks and servers would mess with your food when you annoy them. Aside from just making fun of you by chitchatting with their fellow servers, they would just make you least of their priorities at most. Like come to your table last or not accommodate you of your special requests. Cooks, on the other hand, have no choice but to make you your succulent dish. But they won’t be sorry to pick up and serve you that fallen food, or refry that fried chicken that has totally kissed with the floor.
Be polite, nonetheless. If you’ve gotten on their good side though, they’d be willing to go the extra to favour you. You might even get extra drinks or larger servings, or have your food taken care of with extra caution.
Not all cooks went to culinary school
There are a number of great Chefs who didn’t go to culinary school, either. You may have not gone to culinary school but still be a good cook. Some cooks became one through experience, by going up the ranks, starting from merely washing the dishes in the kitchen, to helping on peeling and cutting up vegetables, to actual cooking. Besides, you need talent, experience, and knowledge to become a good cook. And all of that, you can garner through training.
The Chef don’t actually cook your food
You may think otherwise, but the head chef doesn’t actually make the food. He’s there to run the kitchen operations smoothly, to delegate tasks, to approve foods coming out the kitchen, and to supervise the rest of the people working in the kitchen. In larger scale operations though, the highest ranking chef may not even be actually in the kitchen. He may just be visiting in and out there to oversee or to double-check the flow. He is focused on doing the administrative tasks and paperwork, on developing the menu, and brainstorming for new ones. The kitchen brigade is there to help him the sous chef, chef de parties, line cooks, interns, stewards.
But then again…
These are only generalizations and doesn’t mean it reflects all the restaurants around you or you’ve come across with. There are a bunch of Michelin starred restaurants all over the world, and a lot more good restaurants that aren’t much recognized yet. There are also still a lot of honest servers and cooks, people who has come to love bringing good service and tasty dishes.