You know how they say never look in a restaurant's kitchen? Well, there's good reason for that. While all restaurants are required to uphold a standard of hygiene and quality in order to serve customers with healthy, clean food, it's no secret that some restaurant kitchens can look more like dumpsters than a place where food is prepared. To prove that, we've gathered a list of 18 pictures from restaurant kitchens–some even in five-star hotels–that are so gross you wouldn't want to look at them for hours before or after your meal.
Of course, not all restaurants are like this. Environmental health inspectors regularly check up on eateries to make sure they aren’t getting complacent with their hygiene control, but occasionally, restaurants will relax a little and end up with a pest infestation. Take a look at these photos and try not to feel sick. Do you think you can ever go to a restaurant again?
18 Soup, Anyone?
When you’re at a restaurant, running water is an absolute must when it comes to maintaining the hygiene of the eatery. Unfortunately for this joint in Toronto, Canada, running water doesn’t seem to be readily available for whatever reason. This picture was supposedly taken by a health inspector who detailed the issues with this specific restaurant. What you’re looking at is the back portion of the restaurant’s kitchen. There’s no running water coming out of the tap on the right due to a service disruption, and water is stored in large pots, as seen on the left. Just think, if you were to order a bowl of soup here, that’s probably where the water used in the dish is coming from.
Water disruption aside, the kitchen itself is filthy! While the front of the restaurant may look somewhat serviceable, one look at a kitchen like this won’t just make you lose your appetite, it’ll make you lose your breakfast as well!
17 Thawing The Meat
Here’s yet another picture from an undisclosed Asian restaurant in Toronto, Canada. I don’t need to tell you why this kitchen looks more like a dump than anything remotely related to food, but let’s call out a few things in the photo anyway. For starters, there are slabs of meat just sitting in the sink, probably being thawed by the chefs for the next batch of unlucky souls who happen to dine at this restaurant. They’ll never suspect where the pork in their pork noodles were kept before they ordered it. Then, there are containers of food just stuffed into random nooks and corners… we can only assume that the food has gone horribly bad by now, but that’s not even the worst part. Check out the open tray of food lying in the kitchen shelf, on the bottom right! You can bet that whatever’s in there isn’t going to be chucked in the dumpster. Instead, some poor sap is going to have to eat it in the next few hours. Ugh.
16 Mess At The Golden Corall
Check out this screen capture from a leaked video of the Golden Corral in Bakersfield, California. What a mess! How can a franchised chain of restaurants allow their kitchens to look like this? Well, apparently, keeping your kitchen like this isn’t exactly prohibited by law and isn’t in any direct violation of the health code! In the case of this Golden Corral, they were undergoing a serious dishwasher breakdown and had to continue to serve a high volume of customers, which is why there’s such a massive pileup of unwashed dishes in the kitchen. Now, as long as their dishes are sanitized–either in an industrial-grade dishwasher or manually–then there’s no real problem in terms of hygiene. Either way, we wouldn’t want to peek into a kitchen that looks like this if we decided to eat there. One look and we'd be outta there faster than the Road Runner after he sees Wile E Coyote.
15 Yoghurt From The Floor
Guess what, we’re still at the Wooden Grill restaurant and takeaway in London, the same one that was slapped with a £30,000 fine for a multitude of health and hygiene violations. Let’s pan the camera down to take a look at what’s on the floor. There’s food that looks like it was dropped from the kitchen counters. There are jugs full of some kind of cleaning chemical. And right next to those (apparent) chemicals are tubs of yoghurt. We can only hope that there isn’t actual yoghurt in there, but based on what we’ve seen so far, we wouldn’t be surprised.
Check out the plumbing–pipes and tubes under the sinks that haven’t been cleaned for years, or maybe even decades, by the looks of it. Just think, the next time you order a dish of lamb shoulder with some of that yoghurt and mint sauce at the Wooden Grill, this could be where it’s coming from!
14 The Three Levels Of Nope
Let’s head back to Canada for a second. Here’s a picture of a fridge from the kitchen of an Asian restaurant in Vancouver, and as you can see, it isn’t a tremendously appetizing image, to say the least. Where do we even start with this one? Up top, there’s just a heap of junk stuffed into the top shelf of the fridge. Plastic bags are literally covering what looks like Styrofoam boxes with bits of rice left in them. I guess they’re anti-wastage? The lower shelves are where things really start to go from bad to gross. Not only are the cooked dumplings left open and exposed, but there’s a half-eaten pie in the lower shelf, also left wide open and exposed to contamination. But the star of the show has to be the full raw chicken that looks like it was just chucked on the second shelf. Yummy.
13 Meat Marinated To Perfection
This is what the kitchen of the Wooden Grill restaurant in London looks like. The fine owners of this “eatery” were slapped with a hefty £30,000 fine for a multitude of violations. Let’s just say their hygiene levels really need some work.
What you’re looking at is the marinated meat storage unit. Yes, it does look like a toilet, and yes, that meat is still for eating. The meat is stored and kept next to a ridiculously rusty pole, but that’s not even the worst part. The owners were also charged with keeping raw meat out in the open in wash basins with zero regard for the temperature surrounding the meat. And then, health inspectors also saw animal droppings of rats, insects, and other pests, and there was no effort made by anyone at the restaurant to clean it up! At this point, a £30,000 really doesn’t seem like much when you consider the kind of risk they put their customers through.
12 Raw Meat On Cooked Food
After looking at these pictures, you can safely assume that The Great Western Hotel in Swindon isn’t so great after all. In fact, back in 2014 when this impromptu health inspection took place, they were fined for being pretty gross. The state of this kitchen at the £45-a-night, three-star hotel was revolting. While the kitchen was noted to be smeared with grease from God knows which meal from which year, this image is probably the most shocking of the lot.
It shows a fridge piled high with unwrapped raw meat, sitting on top of cooked food! Cooked food was being stored with unwrapped raw chicken and bacon, and health inspectors also noted that preparation areas were soiled, smeared with grease, and encrusted with old food. The managers and owners of The Great Western Hotel were prosecuted for a dozen separate breaches of food hygiene rules and slapped with a total of £20,100 in fines and ordered to pay £7,500 costs.
11 That's A Disgusting Table!
One can only image what meals are prepared on this kitchen table, if you can really call it that. This is a shot from a restaurant called Mei Shan, located in Nottingham, England. The eatery was fined £10,000 after hygiene inspectors found surfaces covered in grease and food stored in a back yard that was attracting pests and smaller animals scavenging for food. The same health inspectors also found pots filled with scum, old oil, and all kinds of gunk just lying around the kitchen, and there was also a meat slicer that was smeared with food waste and an unidentified liquid.
Hopefully, the owners of Mei Shan have cleaned up their act, because their lack of care for basic hygiene in the kitchen could have put a lot of customers at serious risk. Food poisoning is something to be worried about, but the mishandling of raw meat could cause some major health issues if it isn’t looked into.
10 The Last Thing You Want To See At A Restaurant!
Ask ten people what their worst fears are, and chances are half of them will immediately respond with “cockroaches!” I hope those five people never come to this restaurant in Germany where this picture was taken, because I’m sure they’d be traumatized for life! If there’s one surefire indicator that your restaurant is dirty as hell, it’s the sight of not one, not two, but dozens of cockroaches infesting the place, laying hundreds of eggs as they see fit. It just makes you wonder, if these restaurant owners are so lax about the existence of so many cockroaches in their kitchen, how lax are they when it comes to hygiene during food preparation?
Now to be fair, cockroaches are capable of finding their way into the cleanest of establishments. They’re pests, and they feed off almost anything, so survival for them isn’t an option. A cockroach infestation is pretty unfortunate and it’s a very difficult thing to get rid of, but that’s still no excuse for this many roaches to be just crawling out in the open, especially in a restaurant kitchen!
9 Rotten Food, Stored In The Fridge
How difficult would it be to throw out old food? This disgusting image was taken in a restaurant kitchen in Canberra, Australia, and as you can see, there’s a container full of really, really old food still lying in the fridge! Heck, that doesn’t even look like food anymore. It’s so old that there’s a healthy fungi ecosystem growing on it, and by the looks of it, God knows what other decade-old food these guys just have lying around. It’s a scary thought.
As far as restaurants are concerned, old food needs to be tossed as soon as possible, and not kept lying around. For one, contamination to other food is a huge risk and a major possibility, but more than that, having rotten food just lying around in the fridge of a kitchen that’s supposed to be spotless just displays a lack of care for basic hygiene. Get your act together, random restaurant in Canberra!
8 Would You Like Fries With That?
You’ve heard of KFC, but have you heard of QFC? It’s best that you haven’t, because this is what it looks like under their kitchen counters and fryers. Leave aside the fact that the floor looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for days, the sight of grease and grime and gunk that’s oozing out from every corner of that counter would make anyone sick, or lose their appetite at the very least.
Health inspectors for Waltham Forest Council were horrified when they decided to pay a surprise visit to QFC in Wood Street, East London. The inspectors were shocked to discover a serious mouse infestation in the kitchen as well as dirty floors and extremely poor hygiene standards. In fact, it was so bad that one environmental health officer even made the bold statement that it was "the filthiest premises I have seen in a long time."
7 I Hope They're Not Thinking Of Using That Spoon!
You wouldn’t expect a famous hotel that was featured on a renowned TV show to end up looking like this, but that’s exactly what happened in the case of Liverpool's Adelphi Hotel. The joint became exploded in popularity back in the 90s after it was featured in a hit BBC documentary series, aptly titled Hotel. Unfortunately, Adelphi hasn’t held up its prestigious image. Twenty years after its time in the spotlight, an inspection by environmental health officers revealed filthy floor surfaces and serious infestations by cockroaches and all kinds of other pests, most of them hiding behind unmoved kitchen equipment. Adelphi’s operators, Britannia Hotels, were ordered to pay more than £260,000 in fines after the magistrates’ court slapped them with a string of food safety breaches. Check out this picture of inspectors moving kitchen equipment to uncover what looks like months–or maybe even years–worth of dirt on the uncleaned floor.
6 More Roaches
We’re not done with Liverpool’s Adelphi Hotel just yet! This picture was taken after health officers moved more kitchen equipment during their inspection of the premises, only to find that a happy horde of cockroaches had made the damp, dusty region of the kitchen into their comfortable home. Ugh! It’s one thing to have dirt, grime, and wooden spoons on the floor underneath kitchen equipment, but a full-blown cockroach infestation is a serious indicator of bad hygiene levels. And the worst part is that it puts the customers who dine at the hotel’s restaurants and cafes at serious risk of food poisoning via contamination. Cockroaches–like all other pests–have the tendency to sneak into the food when the lights are off and no one’s around.
There’s no update on whether or not Adelphi has had more run-ins with the law recently, so we’re assuming they’ve cleaned up their act and raised their health and hygiene grades to acceptable levels.
5 Say Cheese!
What in the blue heck is that gunk that’s dripping out of this kitchen’s industrial-grade oven? Your guess is as good as ours, but according to the source of this picture, apparently it’s supposed to be cheese that’s obviously gone bad and left uncleaned from all the previous meals! Now, if you’re thinking the picture was taken at some dodgy hole-in-a-wall type restaurant in a seedy part of town, think again. This picture was actually taken in the kitchen of a five-star hotel in Sydney, Australia! Health and hygiene inspectors decided to pay the hotel a surprise visit, and found that the prestigious establishment was lacking in the cleanliness department, leaving food to rot inside ovens for days!
The picture on your right is also from a restaurant in Sydney, and while it doesn’t look as offensive as the one on the left, it’s actually depicting a rusty can-opening machine. I’ll say that again: rusty… can-opening… machine. If that doesn’t scream health hazard, I don’t know what does!
4 Don't Look Under The Kitchen Table
Would you believe this picture came from one of Liverpool’s most popular Chinese restaurants? When environmental health officers decided to pay the Buffet Star Thai and Chinese Cuisine restaurant a surprise visit, they didn’t expect to find the stuff that they did in the kitchen. In fact, it was so dirty and it broke so many laws that the officers considered closing it on the spot! While the overall hygiene of the kitchen was below par, to say the least, the gunk oozing out from below kitchen cabinets was disturbing, but none of that compared to the pest infestation officers discovered during their raid.
Rat droppings were found in food storage areas, raw eggs were left in random places, and raw meat was allowed to defrost right next to cooked food, which is a serious health violation because it puts the customers at risk of food poisoning, or worse!
3 The Extended Outdoor "Kitchen"
Malaysia is known worldwide for its food. Some say the food is so good that it ranks as the best in the world! This is true, because Malaysia boasts a serious culinary culture and is home to some delicious delicacies, but there are always bad apples out there to ruin the batch, aren’t there?
This picture was taken in a district called Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And yes, that really is an outdoor kitchen, extended at the whims and fancies of restaurant owners. A local Malaysian newspaper reported this restaurant for its shady hygiene practices. Here you see a restaurant employee “washing” the dishes in the outdoor kitchen in what looks like appalling surroundings. The water looks murky at best and the pots and pans–used to cook food that people eat, let us remind you–are just lying around outside, exposed to all kinds of contamination, and even animals and pests.
2 Dirty Grease Trap
We’re not done with Malaysia yet. Here’s yet another picture taken at a restaurant in Perlis, Malaysia, showing a grease trap–a piece of industrial-grade equipment regularly used in restaurant kitchens to do what its name says it does, trap greas –and by the looks of it, the machine hasn’t been cleaned since the beginning of time. This picture surfaced a while ago when a local newspaper ran an article about dirty restaurants in the district, highlighting that dirty grease traps like these were common in unchecked restaurants. When authorities decided to pay random restaurants a visit for a hygiene check, they were shocked to find that much of the equipment, much like this grease trap, were not only unmaintained, but also grimy, greasy, and in some cases, rusty.
Just imagine that the meals ordered by customers at this restaurant were actually cooked around this gross-looking contraption. Not only does it look disgusting, it also runs a major risk of contaminating other food.
1 Rat Droppings In A Food Container
You wouldn’t expect a restaurant named Shangri-La to be as gross as this, but stranger things have happened before. The extremely popular Chinese restaurant located in Liverpool was once a favorite eatery for England captain Steven Gerrard and his wife before it closed down in 2012. The closing of the joint all started when a customer found a cockroach in their food.
Back in 2012, an innocent diner was treated to an unexpected visitor in her dish: a cockroach, just floating around in their food! The horrified diner quickly reported the incident to the council, who scheduled a surprise inspection on Shangri-La in October 2012. They were shocked to find that Shangri-La’s kitchen was beyond appalling. Not only was there a roach infestation in the kitchen, but health officers found rat poop in empty food containers, as pictured above! Needless to say, the restaurant was ordered to stop operations and shut down immediately.