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Recycled Food


By Katharine Branham
I love to ask managers, wait staff, and cooks about unspoken tales of the trade. This can either ruin a great evening or leave me feeling very good on food choices made while dining out. Just when I thought, I have heard it all in the food and beverage industry it continues to offer more.

While I was at a party Saturday, I met an interesting man. As we chatted, I realized he is a manager at one of my favorite fine dining establishments. He recognized me as a customer there and we discussed the restaurant. While we talked, I asked him “what was the worst thing you ever witnessed at a restaurant with regard to the food?” I knew his answer would be interesting but I never imagined what he would say next.

He explained that he was once employed by one of the most recognized restaurants in Houston (still in business) and that the restaurant was known to recycle their bread. “Okay, recycled bread?” I asked. You see, they would carry the plates to the kitchen from the table and any leftover bread was placed into a bread-recycling bin.

All of it would subsequently be cut up and dried for croutons. Any staff member caught throwing out a leftover piece was reprimanded. He said that even pieces of bread with lipstick marks left on by its previous owner were recycled. He left there after four weeks, unable to carry a salad to the tables wondering whom those croutons belong to first.

Now before I get an overwhelming number of emails, the place I am referring to performs magic shows in Houston, Texas.

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