My favorite subreddit ever is probably r/KitchenConfidential. It's essentially a bunch of chefs and waiters dishing on (pun intended) what it's really like to work in a restaurant.
1. "Mine for years was ranch dressing because it was one of my first tasks at my first kitchen job. I took one look at the recipe (four gallons of mayo, two gallons of buttermilk, five packets of ranch dressing seasoning) and said, 'Well, that looks awful.'"
2. "Unless the place is known for its homemade ones, soups. They're mostly either canned or frozen. That's just not where I want to spend my dining out dollars."
3. "Appetizers, just out of spite. I love onion rings, but paying $13 for an order because they’re served as a tower is ridiculous. Apps are now the same price as entrees at some places."
4. "Salad that I didn't process and prepare myself. I simply don't trust anyone to wash the leafy greens as thoroughly as I want them to be washed."
5. "For me, it's calamari and prawns — especially if it's listed as an appetizer. My first job as a prep cook was at a place that served this. We'd get bags of prawns and those frozen blocks of calamari. I would spend hours cleaning and breading. I got pretty good at shelling and deveining prawns with one run of my pairing knife, but I still hated doing it. I also got good at fingering the calamari hoods to pull out that plastic-y spine, and then making sure it was the spine and not just a bit of frozen ice — because of course I'm having to process it while it's not completely thawed. It's the thing I've hated doing the most out of every task I've ever had to do in a kitchen (cooking or cleaning), and I refuse to order it when I see it because I remember how much it sucked."
6. "Filet Mignon. Tasteless and overpriced (generally). Also, almost any Wagyu cut over six ounces — it blows your palate out."
7. And in a similar vein..."I've heard that if you order a well-done steak you'll get an older cut of meat whose less-than-fresh qualities can be hidden by a longer cook time."
9. "I won't get sushi at an empty sushi place, or on a Sunday or Monday before dinner time."
10. And while we're talking about sushi..."For spicy tuna sushi rolls, places often take old, less fresh tuna and add spices to cover up the bad flavor. Stick with regular tuna rolls."
12. "Anything off of a buffet or salad bar. It took COVID to make me realize exactly how gross the general population is when there are no consequences for being so gross. I’ve had multiple people genuinely not understand why it was a problem to take the spoon from a seafood dish and use it to get some mac and cheese. I’ve seen people lick the utensils. I’ve seen people reach in with their bare hands to get a biscuit. I’ve seen kids getting their own food and all the perils that come with that. Fuck."
13. "Mussels. We get them fresh from the fishery, and still throw out 5% while cleaning them. Five minutes after rinsing, cleaning, draining, and portioning, there's still around 2 centimeters of nasty-looking brown mussel piss in the container. A day after, the container is 1/3 full of that same salty, nasty muddy-looking piss, so they have to be drained and rinsed again (and more dead ones thrown out). Even when properly cleaned, rinsed, and drained, while they're cooked they leak that same shit into the pan, so you gotta be extra careful seasoning the dish, because that nasty juice is salty as all fuck."
14. "DO NOT ever get a lemon in your drink at a restaurant. Servers clean off food, touch the food screen, handle many used pens, and do a lot of other things with their hands. There isn't always time to wash your hands between taking a drink order and grabbing those lemons. It's a big source of cross-contamination."
16. "Nachos. I think spending money for cheese melted on chips is ridiculous for what they charge."
17. "Every macaroni and cheese I’ve eaten out, from Chick-Fil-A to 'fine dining' restaurants (with some exorbitant mac n' cheese on the menu), are never good. They're always under-seasoned, always boring."
18. "Quesadillas. They're my super-cheap go-to when I'm broke. I don't eat meat, so paying someone else to basically melt some cheese into a tortilla...I'm just not gonna do it."
19. "Lobster at a place not known for their seafood. Where the fuck are they gonna get lobster?"
20. "I worked at an upscale, local Italian restaurant. The complimentary bread? If another table doesn't finish theirs, the 'untouched' bread goes into whatever new breadbaskets are being served. That 'freshly grated parmesan' sitting in a bowl at your table? It was probably sifted through by an unruly six-year-old. It comes from (and any leftovers go back to) a communal giant tub of grated cheese in the back."
Are you a restaurant worker who has a "never order" item you feel like people should know about? Tell us in the comments for a chance to be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post!
Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity