What's the Most Traumatizing Experience You've Had With Food?

Categories: Chow Bella

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

It's happened to all of us at one time or another: an incident with food that's scarred us for life. Perhaps it was a bug-studded salad or a pizza topped with fingernails. And raisins? Those ain't raisins.

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What stories do Valley chefs and restaurateurs have to share regarding their traumatic run-ins with food? I asked a few and this is what they had to say:

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Chef Anthony Rivera
District American Kitchen & Wine Bar

I was working in a high-end restaurant, and one of the visiting sous chefs was making black truffle risotto. He had the risotto in a mixing bowl and instead of using a spoon to mix and taste the dish, he stirred the rice with his hand and ate the food off of his fingers. After tasting the dish, he flung the remaining risotto back into the bowl, mixed it up again with the hand he had put in his mouth, and then served the meal to the dining room. I was disgusted beyond belief and will never order risotto again.

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Chef Stephen Toevs
The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

Pig brains. A few years back, we used to get in whole pigs to make head cheese, and some of the dishwashers would cook the brain and spread it on toast. One day, they persuaded me to try it. Let's just say it was an interesting experience.

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Chef Joe Meyers,
s.e.e.d. café at the Madison Improvement Club

English muffins and Commuter [sandwiches] at La Grande Orange. Made approximately 500,000 during my time there. Enough said.

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Dave Andrea
Owner, Brat Haüs

I can't tell you, because we currently serve it by special request.

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How about hair in food?  We need to pass a health code law where these people need to not only wear gloves and hairnets but face masks as well.


Took my wife's mother, who was dying of cancer, to George and Dragon - the server was a girl punker who had too many customers - she got mad because of the complaints and decided to let our party know how upset she was.  As an example of the bad service, from the time we sat down, it took 45 minutes to order and another hour to get the food!!!  It was my mother in law's last meal out and was completely ruined by this BITCH! 


I don't know about traumatizing experiences with food, but if you want to talk about tequila....now that's a conversation.

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