Things You Should Never Order at a Restaurant

When in lived in Southern California (1982-86), I took advantage of an adult-education program at the local community college.  One of the courses I took was about restaurant operation. I remember the instructor advising against ordering any chef’s specials.  He said many times the chef would find a forgotten item in the back of the freezer, scrape the mold off, drown it in a sauce, and put it on the menu as the special.

I thought of this as I came upon an article entitled “15 Things You Should Never Order at a Restaurant, According to Chefs” by Maria Yagoda in the Time magazine’s December 10th news-brief email.  In a recent AskReddit thread, the question posed was “Chefs and waiters of Reddit, what type of dish do you always avoid when eating at another restaurant and why?”   I don’t think they’d appreciate my copying the entire article, so here are some of the answers that caught my eye.

2. “I 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.  And order something they’re good at making.”

5. “The daily specials are usually made up of ingredients that are the oldest in the kitchen.”  [Like I said…]

6. “I don’t dare touch salads. I’ve seen far too many waiters just shove their ungloved hands in the bins, and no one ever washes their hands enough for that to be ok.”

11. “Soup of the day. It’s just yesterday’s leftovers.”

13. “Beer that comes from the tap. No one cleans the fountain, and it usually has mildew festering in it.”

15. “If you order the house wine, you’re drinking the cheapest goon the bar manager thinks he can get away with.”

It’s certainly something to think about this holiday season.  To read all 15 comments, go to

Bon appetite!


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