Food & Nutrition

Here’s Why Chefs Never Order These 7 Foods in Restaurants

Love fresh food? Size up the menu before you order


Chain restaurants, or ones with huge menus, may cut down on family fights at the table, but it also means skimping on fresh ingredients. If you want fresh, local ingredients, these are establishments you should probably avoid. “I typically stay away from large chains because everything is usually brought in frozen once or twice a week,” says Nichols. “I also always look at the size of the menu. If it’s more than two pages long, they have to keep a large inventory of food. More than likely, you’re not getting a fresh meal.” By the way, this is what chefs always order when they’re at Italian restaurants.

The (leftover) staff of life


Warm and toasty, served with sweet butter or olive oil, the bread basket that graces your restaurant table may be fresh from the oven, or reheated, after gracing another’s table. Short of fingerprinting each scone, you will never know for sure unless you catch your server in the act. You may love to indulge in those carby delights, but many chefs will tell you to beware before you bite. Not only are those delicious loaves full of carbs and calories, but they may also be full of germs from the diner who just left. Learn about 13 foods you should never eat if you don’t want cancer.

Veggies, anyone?


Vegetable dishes can be extraordinary culinary feats—or ordinary, ho-hum, and uninventive. Given the cacophony of colors, textures, and flavors that vegetables have to offer, you’d think they’d be the stars of many restaurant menus, but not so, say chefs in the know. “When I go to a restaurant and sit with a menu, I tend to stay away from the House Salad,” says Kayson Chong, Los Angeles-based executive chef of The Venue. “I prefer to have something special that a chef created with seasonal products and interesting combinations. I like experiencing new and exciting things to eat when I go to other restaurants, not something I can find easily anywhere.” Michelin-starred chef Suvir Saran tends to avoid the chef’s vegetarian plate even though he’s a lover of all things vegetable. “They are never true representations of what a chef would really be inspired to present to a guest,” he explains. “I would much rather order from the appetizer section and sides, and make my own meal.” Among the vegetables Saran won’t order out are squash and pumpkin. “Most chefs raised in the U.S. have a very different understanding of what these vegetables are. To palates raised east of the U.S., these vegetables are never served sweet. Chefs from around the world use heat to bring out their natural sweetness, never like squash overtly laced in sugar, that you typically find in America,” he says.

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