19 Gross Things Restaurant Workers Saw In The Kitchen

19 Gross Things Restaurant Workers Saw In The Kitchen

“I can’t tell you the number of times I watched him sweat onto the food he was cooking.”

We recently asked the Community what’s the grossest thing they saw in the kitchen while working in the food service industry. The stories they shared were just ATROCIOUS. Here are the most shocking ones:


“I used to work at a small local frozen custard place in my town. The worst thing I saw was when we had to take apart the shake machine one day to clean it. This HORRENDOUS smell came out of it, and we discovered it was FILLED with maggots like a rotting corpse. I had worked there for probably a year by then, and we had used the shake machine that whole time without deep cleaning it before then. By far the most disgusting thing I ever saw there.”



“I saw a cook do a line of coke off the flattop grill, then fry an egg in the exact same spot.”



“I once saw my head manager clean underneath the cashier’s counter and pull out a dead mouse, gag at it, and then sweep it back under the counter. I don’t eat at fast food places where the mascots are little girls with red hair.”



“My first job, I was the dishwasher for a dinner theater in a cheap hotel. There was one cook in the kitchen and he was overworked and underpaid. I would usually come in early to help him prep salads, soup, and cake. He conditioned me to recycle and reuse whenever possible, which upon reflection was super gross and unsanitary, but I was a kid just starting out. So when the salads came back, before I dumped and cleaned them, I was supposed to pour unused dressing back into the bottles they came from. Then came the soups. I still can’t eat soup at a restaurant. I was supposed to take a pasta strainer spoon thing with this really fine mesh and strain the soups back into a giant tub. Picking out obvious crumbs, gum, and shit. He’d turn right around and reuse it the next night. It’s been almost a decade and I still refuse to eat salads and soups I don’t make myself. I can’t take the chance, plus it’s an instant appetite killer at the thought alone.”



“When I was 18, I worked in a food court-style hotdog shop in an outlet mall in Florida. The ‘shop’ was actually two food court stalls next to each other that shared a kitchen in the back. One of the managers was a large, rather sweaty guy and he would NEVER wear gloves or a hair net. I can’t tell you the number of times I watched him sweat onto the food he was cooking. The worst though was when the kitchen was being treated for a roach problem — all the floors and cooking surfaces were coated in bug-killer chemicals, so we could only serve food from the fryer (chicken tenders, fries, onion rings, etc).”



“My boss scraped the dead skin off his foot with one of the kitchen knives he cut up food with.”



“Back in 2001, I was working the counter of a Chinese takeaway, and I walked out the back to hand in a new ticket, to see the chef with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth stirring something in a wok. As he was stirring it, the very long ash dropped out of his mouth into the wok. He just looked at it for a split second, then stirred it into the food and put it on dishes to serve. The weird thing is…that place, to this day, served the best Chinese food I’ve ever eaten.”



“My first job was a pizza place where pans that the pizzas were baked in were washed with soap once a year, the flattening machine would produce dough with black marks all over it, the bathroom once overflowed and I had to clean it with no gloves, employees were constantly dropping food on the floor and picked back up to continue making it, I could go on and on. That place is disgusting.”



“I worked at a restaurant and there were roaches, mold (on the food and the drinking fountain), dust on the sprinklers, Alfredo sauce that looked like soupy oatmeal, and during the summer it was the attack of the flies. They were trying to do renovations once which made the pots and pans washing area inaccessible. They put the dirty dishes in garbage bins to soak and clean. These were not new garbage bins and after running them through the washer they were still greasy AF.”



“The dishwasher at my former job would pick his nails around the clean dishes, pick his nose, and scratch…places then proceed to stack the CLEAN dishes. When he saw food on a plate or on cutlery that wasn’t properly washed off thru the dishwasher, HE WOULD JUST SCRAPE IT OFF AND PUT THE ITEM WITH THE CLEAN CUTLERY/PLATES. He never washed his hands. I rarely ate anything from that restaurant and when I did, it was in a to-go box. This was all stuff I personally witnessed, I don’t even wanna imagine the things I didn’t see.”



“We had a syrup sponge pudding on the menu and it was a hot summer so it wasn’t super popular. I opened up the tub of syrup to discover it was full of ants and told the chef and owner we needed to tell the customers that we had just run out. He made me pick the ants out and still serve the pudding. When I looked skeptical he said I had to do it or I was fired. I was only 16, so did as I was told.”



“When I was about 16 or 17, I worked in a fancy high-end restaurant in a hotel making and preparing sandwiches for afternoon tea. I remember being there while making sandwiches and the other girl who I was working with dropped a sandwich with a particularly sticky filling and just picked it up, reassembled it, and put it straight back on a plate.”



“I worked at a place where the manager was holding his dog as he showed the cook how to cook something. This same manager made me pick up his dog’s shit and then forced a plate of food into my hands before I could wash my hands.”



“In a place I worked, the owner would smoke in the kitchen and prep food without shoes on. I saw him more than once stick his full hand into the food, shove it in his mouth, and then touch more food. Honestly working in the food industry has made me super uneasy about eating out.”



“I used to work at a Sonic, and I’ve been preaching to anyone since to never enter that particular Sonic at that location. There was this giant hole in the ceiling of the kitchen, right over the grill, from a nest of raccoons two years before I ever applied. The owner was too cheap and lazy to patch it. There was always all sorts of weird gunk falling out of the hole and onto the grill where we cooked food. The chef wasn’t paid enough to care, and the health inspector was notoriously paid off by most of the local establishments.”



“The worst thing I saw was when the kitchen was being treated for a roach problem. All the floors and cooking surfaces were coated in bug-killer chemicals, so we could only serve food from the fryer (things like chicken tenders, fries, and onion rings). My manager dropped a handful of chicken tenders on the bug-chemical-covered floor, leaned down to pick them up, and wiped the back of his hand across his sweaty nose and forehead WHILE HOLDING THE CHICKEN, then dumped the chicken straight into the fryer. He told me it was okay because he’d be serving the chicken to a guest on the stall side that couldn’t see into the fryers. I quit as soon as I could and never used my employee ‘discount’ for anything besides soda and pre-packaged chips.”


“I worked at an Italian restaurant. The cooks would lift up the pizza crust and blow under it (with their mouths) so it wouldn’t stick. Also, one time a pizza was returned because it was made incorrectly. We all had to dig through the cheese to pick off the onions with our fingers, and then it was served again to the customers.”



“I once witnessed a chef sneeze into his hands…then carry on cutting vegetables…without washing his hands.”



And lastly, “I worked in a restaurant that served two soups: New England clam chowder & Maryland crab. They were served in huge vats set in a warmer when the restaurant was open. At the end of the night, the vats of soup were removed from the warmer and put on a cart to go in the walk-in to be used for the next day. Well, one day the Maryland crab was in the warmer as usual. When the soup got low we found A DEAD MOUSE inside. This was around dinner time. We had been serving the soup all day. Everyone that had the soup that day kept commenting on ‘how good it was.'”


What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve seen while working in the food service industry? Let us know in the comments.