Started by a tradesman whose job involved him being called out to fix equipment in the large restaurant kitchens, he tells New Idea Food that he still can’t believe some of the things he saw.
‘Obviously I have to be careful about naming names, but after seeing one kitchen from a major chain I rang head office to complain because I was so disgusted,’ he says.
‘Another time I walked into a kitchen and five rats - the size of cats, seriously - came out scuttled away. In another kitchen, I found a collection of food that rats had been hoarding away. So gross.’
Among the shame file of horrific things he’s seen, the tradesman has snapped many shots of cockroaches hiding in the electrical components inside dishwashers and glass cleaners.
His colleague once found a live mouse in the bottom of a saucepan, while another snap shows a dead rat on the bottom of an oven.
Another time, he lifted the base of a food processor in a top restaurant to find live maggots underneath. He also says bain-maries, used to keep food warm in kitchens, can be a hot bed for undesirables.
‘We once found a dead possum that had been electrocuted in a golf club bain-marie and left there for four days before we were called out,’ he says. ‘At another club, we found dried baguettes that were being stored by rats at the back of the bain-marie - and the kitchen said they hadn’t served bread like that for months.’
The tradesman said dishwashers were another breeding ground for filth, with some kitchens not cleaning them out regularly.
‘They’re supposed to clean it out at the end of each service - breakfast, lunch and dinner - to get rid of food and keep the filters clean,’ he tells New Idea Food. ‘And keep in mind this is a $60k machine. But this one hadn’t been cleaned in a month - and they weren’t using any chemicals in it, just hot water. So there were no chemicals breaking down the food, plates and cups and cutlery were just getting cleaned over and over again with water and all this gunk mixed through.’
Gross. With another photo of a pile old, mouldy dough, the tradesman writes: ‘Servicing a dough roller at a major pizza chains outlet and found all this dough in the back of the machine. Mmmmmm the smell of old yeast 😝’
The tradie says he’s also seen pots filled with gravy and sauces, left there for so long that there were line marks down the side of the saucepans.
‘They were just putting the whole pots in the fridge overnight and then putting them back on the stove the next day to reheat, over and over again for a really long time. And you can see that the pots and containers aren’t cleaned.’ Added the tradie’s colleague: ‘We see this sort of thing a lot.’
He’s also seen ‘green sludge’ in the chicken cooking area of a major supermarket as well as a live fish on the floor of one Chinese restaurant.
‘I told them to pick it up and they just left it there,’ he says. ‘Unbelievable!’