Gross, But Kinda Great: A New TV Show Looks Inside Dirty Restaurant Kitchens

image via Folded Pigs


The Food Network’s new reality series takes us through the swinging kitchen doors, and it’s not pretty.
In each episode of Health Inspectors, restaurant consultant/host Ben Vaughn visits a filthy restaurant, exposes its grossness in all its stomach-churning glory, and then tries to bring it into compliance with health code standards.

The official premiere is October 26, but there was an early peek this summer with the pilot episode filmed at Big Momma’s Chicken & Waffles [& Roaches?] in New Orleans. Big Momma’s kitchen opens the show as a hairnet-optional cesspool of grease and raw chicken just begging for some salmonella cross contamination. Refrigerator surfaces were slimy with chicken guts, and frozen poultry was left to bob in a sink full of tepid water for hours on end. The fryers hadn’t been emptied of old oil in anyone’s recent memory (literally-the manager didn’t know they could be moved). Ditto for the stove. As one employee put it, watching Vaughn go after the greasy, crusty cooktop: “Oh man I’m not going to lie to you, we didn’t even know that could come apart like that.”

The clean-up portion of the episode has its charms, but it’s really about the ick factor.
We gloat as the owners and employees take their lumps, and the gleaming surfaces that ultimately emerge give a distinctly OCD-like pleasure. But even the drama of a looming state inspection can’t compete with an earlier, skin-crawling moment when the refrigerator is moved to reveal a thriving, writhing colony of cockroaches.

Future episodes include:

  • Rats in the Cellar—When the owner’s friend is stricken with food poisoning, Vaughn is called in to clean up Salud, a Chicago restaurant specializing in specialty tequila cocktails and high-end Mexican cuisine.
  • Renegade Pirates—The staff and owner of the Green Burrito enlist Vaughn to save them from a New Orleans’ restaurant inspector that is threatening to permanently shut down this repeat violator.
  • Slugs in the Walk-in—New owners have lowered the standards at Harley’s Café, a biker-themed diner that’s been an institution in its Oklahoma town for nearly 50 years.
  • A Game of Chicken—Vic is juggling too many balls with his money and attention focused on expanding his Michigan business. He’s dropped the sanitation ball at King Vic’s, and stands to lose it all if the restaurant fails its upcoming inspection.

Do you have any reservations? if not, you will after watching this show.


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