The 9 Things Chefs Don't Want You To Know About Eating Out

Kitchen secrets you probably need to know about


Most people have a sanitized view of kitchens thinking that a Jamie Oliver or a Marco Pierre White are back there artfully decorating plates and slowly basting their leg of lamb but I wanted to share a few truths about kitchens that people don't really know.

Not every day occurrences but here's a glimpse of what happens behind the closed doors of a professional kitchen...

Specials Are Food They're Trying To Get Rid Of

If a chef has ordered a bunch of chicken or fish and have way too much filling up in the fridge and an expirty date fast approaching you need to think of a way to get rid of it fast. The specials aren't really so special at all are instead a bunch of stuff that needs to get used up and which your smart waiter will push you towards!

Your Veggie Option May Not Always Be Vegetarian

Even Gordon Ramsay has fallen foul(!) of this old one. Chefs don't like cooking for Vegetarians. It's tough on a chef when you are trying to run a restaurant when one customer comes in looking for steamed vegetables or a "surprise veggie dish". Nearly all chefs do the right thing I have seen a few using chicken stock in veggie soups or a little splash of jus in a sauce.

Food Is Often Made 5 Days In Advance

You might think someone has been up preparing your food since dawn. The truth is that most of the prep gets done on quieter days like Tuesday and Wednesday well in advance so the kitchen is prepped for busier times. A lot of stuff is made daily but there is a lot of ingredients that could have been sitting prepped in fridges waiting days for you to eat.

You Shouldn't Order Fish On A Monday

This seems obvious but most people don't even think about it. Deliveries tend to come in on a Thursday for the busy weekend to give chefs enough time to get their fish prepared. With no deliveries on a Friday that means the "fresh fish" you are eating on a Saturday night have been sitting in the fridge for a few days. Restaurants don't want to throw out fish because it's expensive so it might get a little dusting of cajun seasoning or chili to hide that slightly funky taste.

Don't Order 10 Minutes Before Closing Time

Imagine the scene in the kitchen...It is 10.45 and the place closes at 11. Food has been delivered to the last table and the kitchen is almost cleaned. Just as they are starting to head out the door in comes guy who orders a starter, a well done steak and a dessert. 90 minutes has just been added to the chef's working day. Probably unpaid. People ordering late really annoys chefs and so they're liable to get any old food thrown out the door at them.

Your Food Is Full Of Butter, Fat, Salt And Cream

Why does restaurant food taste better than what you cook at home? Because they are absolutely filled with the above ingredients that would make anything taste nice. Healthy options are getting better but if you saw how much fat and salt goes in to your food in a restaurant you'd have weight watchers on speed dial walking out the door.

Chefs May Cook When Ill

It's not easy to find a replacement for a head chef. It's hard to learn the menu of get to grips with the prep needed so more often than not chefs just say "screw it I'm not going to let the team down" and head on in to cook. I've seen chefs who are sick with everything from diarrhea to flus and colds cooking away while serving lots of people. Probably not something you want to know.

Food Gets Reused All The Time

This is not something I've seen but I've heard different stories. Actually I lie in that I have seen it done with small things. Bread for tables often gets reused and veggies that are left over get turned in to soup all the time. I have heard of some places scraping pasta off plates and using it again but that is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination. While the bread one seems innocent enough you could have 6 or 7 people touching your bread before it arrives to your table.

Inside A Real Kitchen

It's hard to really capture what goes on inside a kitchen but I think this video nearly sums it up. This is Gordon Ramsay when he actually still cooked every day and was chasing Michelin stars. It's very real and unlike the crazy shouting he does now with his droopy botoxed face on USA TV this is the real chef. Crazy.

Written By

Niall Harbison

Niall founded our sister site Lovin' Dublin with a few simple aims: discover new places to eat in Dublin and share simple recipes cooked up in his kitchen.