Chefs reveal the foods you should never, ever order from a restaurant

Forget online restaurant reviews and the waitress' favorite plate. When it comes to ordering from a restaurant, it's probably best to listen to a chef -- they're the ones preparing your dish, after all.

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Never order this from a restaurant
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Never order this from a restaurant

Steamed Mussels 

"I know people love them and I'm meticulous about their storage and care if I serve them, but all it takes is one bad mussel and you're down for the count," said Chef Mary Dumont to Business Insider.

Kobe Beef

The size of the dish is never worth the price.

In 2012, Forbes contributor Larry Olmsted called Kob beef "Food's Biggest Scam." 

Wrote Olmsted, "The bad news is that the vast majority of what is advertised as Kobe beef continues to be counterfeit, and it remains very difficult for consumers to tell the difference - at least until they taste it..."

Soup Special of the Day 

Chefs and waiters took to Reddit to report on their top secrets. One topic the commentators unanimously agreed on? Soup specials, reported The Sun. It's normally comprised of "yesterday's leftovers."

“Soups, specials (when a product is about to go bad and not daily specials like half off pizza Tuesday)” wrote one commentator.

"Soup if it is late. That soup has been sitting on the warmer all day," explained another user. 

Seafood Specials 

Most restaurants get their fish orders on Thursday, so by the time the week has started again, the fish is probably old.

Said chef Siliva Barban to Insider, "It could be the most fresh and delicious special, but in some restaurants, specials are the way to clean up the fridge."

"I know how old most seafood is on Monday — about four to five days old," said Anthony Bourdain. He lists Tuesdays and Thursdays as the best days to order the dish.

Hollandaise Sauce 

According to Reddit, customers should never order dishes with Hollandaise sauce. 

"I don't trust hollandaise sauce to not come from a jacuzzi of aged bacterial growth," explained a commentator. 

'If you go to a popular brunch spot, mid morning in a Sunday, you probably don't need to worry about the sauce getting reused as they're moving through it very quickly. A diner that will serve Eggs Benedict at 4pm on a Thursday...yeah, that's probably gross," explained another. 

Raw Oysters

Explained Health.com, "Raw oysters can carry hepatitis A and a bacterium called Vibrio vulnificus, the latter of which can make you sick with vomiting and diarrhea. If you have certain conditions like diabetes, an infection can be fatal. The FDA notes that oysters from fancy restaurants or slathering hot sauce on the half shell doesn’t protect you. Your best bet is to order them cooked."  

Sword Fish

A user relayed his kitchen experience to the rest of the Reddit community, explaining swordfish is full of bacteria and parasites. 

Sword fish. I've seen a chef cutting up and cleaning one before and it's not pretty. Let's jut say a fish that size picks up a good deal of parasites during its lifetime, and they all start jumping ship at once when they figure out their host is dead..." the user explained. "Any smooth skin fish aka most of the pelagic species (swordfish, wahoo, mahi, sailfish) are more prone to parasites than large scaled fish like snapper or grouper."

Saucey Specials 

Be wary of dishes that are comprised mostly of sauces. 

Explained Reader's Digest, "To avoid running out of ingredients during the dinner rush, restaurants often order more food than they need. At the end of the day, surplus ingredients that haven't expired can turn into tomorrow’s specials, disguised with sauce."

Be especially wary if it has meat, chicken or seafood.

Cocktails with Milk

"Having been a bartender, never order a drink with milk. There are hardly any drinks with milk, meaning hardly any milk is used. That partially-used quart they have behind the bar may have been sitting there for QUITE a while," wrote one Reddit user.

Truffle Oil

Most times, dishes that list "truffle" as an ingredient are actually using truffle oil, which is made up of various chemicals. 

Explained chef James Birscione to Insider, "Chances are, the imitation truffle flavor will be offensively strong, and the 20 cents worth of truffle oil drizzled on your plate will result in a surge in menu price."

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When asked about the menu items a customer should never order, some chefs had quite a lot to say. From expiring milk to old fish, a stew made up of yesterday's leftovers to the food industry's biggest scam, these are the dishes you should probably think twice about ordering.

Scroll through above to see some of the best secrets from the kitchen -- and the plates you should absolutely stay away from.

Related: Secrets you should know

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What your fast food worker won't tell you
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What your fast food worker won't tell you

After we cook something, we put it in a holding cabinet and set a timer.

When the timer goes off, we’re supposed to throw it out. But often, we just reheat the food. So for the freshest meal, come between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. More people are in the restaurant then, so we’re cooking and serving new food constantly. (These are the worst meals you could order at a restaurant, by the way.)

That plain chicken breast may have been a healthy choice out of the package...

But sometimes we have to slather it with butter just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the grill. On the other hand, these healthy fast foods can satisfy unhealthy cravings.

There’s usually a way to get expensive menu items for less

If you’re craving a Big Mac, for example, order a $1 McDouble with no mustard or ketchup and then add shredded lettuce and Mac sauce for a small charge. It’s basically a mini Big Mac, and you can get two for less than the cost of one Big Mac. Check out more trivia facts you probably didn't know about McDonald's.

Most fast-food joints clean everything with super-concentrated chemicals at the end of the day

That includes the grills and the drink machine nozzles. If you’re one of the first customers in the morning, you may be getting some of that chemical residue on the food or in the drink you order—or, worse. You won't believe what was found on the ice in some fast food restaurants. 

Those grill marks on your burger?

Not real. They were put there by the factory. If you want REAL grill marks, it's probably best to make your own at home with one of these burger recipes.

Most of us will cook something fresh for you if you ask

But if you want to make sure your french fries come right out of the fryer, order them without salt; that forces us to cook you a new batch. Then you can add your own salt, and they'll still taste the same. That's because of the secret ingredient that makes McDonald's fries so addictive.

Avoid asking for “extra” of something, like cheese or sauce

As soon as you say “extra,” we have to enter it at the register and charge you for it. Instead, just tell us you want us to “put a good amount on there” or “not to be skimpy with it,” and we’ll load you up.

Yes, our chili is made from what you think:

Meat from old burgers.

It makes me laugh when someone comes in and says she’s trying to be healthy—and then orders a salad with crispy chicken

At McDonald’s, some of those salads have about as many calories as a Big Mac. In fact, a small order of french fries contains four fewer grams of fat than a packet of our ranch dressing. Also, be wary of these "healthy" fast food choices that definitely aren't.

We’re timed on how fast we get customers through the drive-through...

...so we always prioritize those in line outside over anyone at the front counter. And after you leave the drive-through, use this trick to keep your fries crispy the whole way home.

One of my coworkers once got so mad that he spit in someone’s food

He was suspended for three days. Most of us would never do something like that.

Here’s a good way to know how clean a fast-food establishment really is:

When you get your drink, bend down and look up into the ice chute. If you see mold and other stuff growing in there—which is more common than you might expect—they’re not cleaning the machine as often as they’re supposed to.

Those gorgeous pictures of our food in our advertisements?

They’re airbrushed and touched up with fiberglass and paint. It probably takes two hours to make that picture. Obviously, we’re not going to be able to replicate that.

Please, please, get off your cell phone

I’ve had people pull up to the window, pay, and drive away without their food because they’re talking on the phone and not paying attention. Then they’re mad at me. Here are some more crazy stories from drive-through workers.

At most fast-food restaurants, it’s tough to give away free food

Especially things like burgers, because they’re inventoried. We can sometimes give away French fries, ice cream or drinks because we get those ourselves, but it depends on which manager is on duty.

We hate it when you order an ice cream

Most of the time, we’ve got to make it, and it’s already melting by the time we hand it to you. If you order four or five cones at a time, it’s almost impossible to get them to you before they melt everywhere, and then you want new ones.

Here’s something that surprised me when I started working at McDonald's:

Our clam grills are set at 750 degrees, and they can fully cook a regular beef hamburger in just 38 seconds, a quarter pounder in 70 seconds. The first time I ever saw that, I was like, 'Ewww.'

We’re happy to replace something if we mess up, but...

We can usually tell when you’re making up a story to get free food. There was one guy who found a pebble in our parking lot, put it in his food after he ate most of it, and then asked for a replacement. Another lady took 10 tacos home. The next day, she brought just a few of them back, showing us that their lettuce was brown. She wanted another 10 tacos. But of course, if you leave tacos out for 24 hours, the lettuce will turn. Love tacos? Here are some fun taco recipes to try.

Some fast-food workers definitely follow the 10-second rule

I have seen people drop food and then pick it back up and put it on the grill.

No, most of us do not donate our leftovers

I can’t believe how much food we throw out every day, especially at the end of the night. You, however, can do your part. Here's how you can cut back on food waste at home.

All fast-food restaurants are not created equal

Even restaurants within the same chain can vary widely depending on the owner and manager and what kind of standards they set.

When you take three handfuls of napkins or fill your purse with ketchup packets...

I don’t know what you call it, but I call it stealing. You’re just making things more expensive for everyone.

Please don’t ask what ingredients are in our fried chicken coating or in our special sauce

All of our recipes are proprietary, so they don’t even tell us what’s in them. But we can tell you why McDonald's Coke tastes better than anywhere else.

At some restaurants, managers get a bonus if they hold onto their employees and keep their turnover rate down

That gives us an incentive to keep people who aren’t very good, even if they don’t know the difference between a French fry and a screwdriver. And I’m not exaggerating; I’ve had employees who were that bad.

Most of us, even the managers, aren’t making much more than minimum wage

You wouldn’t believe the stuff we put up with for that kind of money. People constantly talk to me like I’m a two-year-old. I’ve had customers throw drinks at me and cuss at me. I’ve been held up at gunpoint.

At Taco Bell, most of our food does carry over, so we reheat it and serve it the next day

That’s why I never take my lunch break early. Plus, fast food can have some weird effects on your brain.

For the best deal at McDonald's, order off the dollar menu

You can get a lot of food for the same price as a meal and it will fill you up more.

We were supposed to wear gloves when we made food

But a lot of times my co-workers didn’t do it, and that really skeeved me out. Here are more dirty restaurant secrets the kitchen crew won't tell you.

Most of us don’t wash our hands as much as we should

Even though there are signs everywhere reminding us it's the law.

Look around to see how much trash is in the parking lot

And whether the bathrooms are dirty and if the dining room is picked up. When things that are so publicly visible are neglected, you can bet that even more is being neglected in the back and in the kitchen where no one can see them. That's just one of the things restaurant health inspectors wish you knew.

Once your order is in at the drive-through...

We have two minutes to get your food before the screen turns red, and the manager asks what’s going on.

We do laugh at you behind your back

Like when you mispronounce our menu items or when you think we can’t hear you through the drive-through speaker, yelling at your husband or kids.

When it was slow, sometimes we would all take the garbage out...

And smoke marijuana in the back. Really, it's true. Want more crazy food service stories? Here's everything your waiter isn't telling you.

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