My mom sent to this to me last night after her dinner at Barbuto. It was so funny, and not funny, that I had to post it. So here's a post from guest blogger Mom:

"It started out great, we were 12 people at the "Chef's Table" which is actually inside the open kitchen. I was facing the 3 cooks. The waiter started out by asking "any one a vegetarian or have food allergies" veggies, some seafood and fish allergies. Good start, asked it nice and loud. Also every time a waiter or bus boy served a plate (two of each at either end of the table), he announced loudly the ingredients, even that the chicory salad had anchovy dressing.

"Dish after dish after dish came out .... so much food! I of course, distractible as I am was fascinated by watching the worked only on the grill, one was in the middle doing things (not sure what) and the one at the far left seemed to be in charge of pasta, often keeping two large skillets going at once and frequently having really big flames happening.

"At one point I saw him using a mandeline at the middle chef's of our first courses was finely shredded raw brussel sprouts with a pecorino dressing. So there he was grating the brussels and mixing the ensuing salad with his bare hands, usual so far although we don't like to think about that part. Then, he popped a taste or two in his mouth, I mean fingers in mouth and back into salad bowl. Eeewww...then the other chef tasted it too from the bowl, so I'm thinking (hoping) that he had made it for them just to eat while they were working.

"Nope, hands back in, a few more mouth tastes, hand piled it on plate, other chef put something on it from the grill, waiter came and scooped it up and served it to someone in the other dining room. What to do? I didn't want to make a fuss at the b'day party, but I will call the manager tomorrow. That particular chef seemed to be munching on something constantly...again, maybe tasting, maybe grazing, definitely not washing hands in between. I realize chefs have to taste their food, but I once saw on that Chef Ramsey show "Hell's Kitchen" one of the wannabes took a big wooden spoon and dipped it into a large pot and tasted it and put the spoon back and got kicked out immediately.

"Food was great and plentiful, but how could the head chef allow that? Unless the taster is the head chef!


My one comment to this is that touching everything with bare hands is pretty SOP. I don't think the manager is going to say much. He may apologize but how can he say that the kitchen will never touch, taste, or handle the food ever again? He kinda can't.


Anonymous said…
I saw this happen once, too -- I got a special before-opening-hours of one of the hottest restaurants in the Washington, DC area. While I watched, one chef brought another a blender of sauce (pesto, perhaps?). The other chef pulled out a spoon, stirred, tasted from the spoon, then put the spoon back in and stirred again. I was disgusted. One of the people I was touring with was a cook from a different high-end restaurant also in DC, and I asked him if it was common behavior. His answer? It happens ALL THE TIME, every day. UGH.
That's why I don't want to eat IN the kitchen. I'd rather not think about it. I waitressed through college and I try to forget most of what I saw, or I'd never eat out. Sorry it ruined your mom's meal.

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