I Work at a Five-Star Resort: Our Restaurant Grosses Me Out
Tourists flock to our gourmet tacos and leave with food poisoning.
Since a young age, I have loved eating at restaurants, but my outlook changed as soon as I began working in tourism at a luxury resort with multiple eateries on-site. I never had the experience to dine in a luxury resort until I started working at one. In my humble opinion, the price should at least guarantee the most basic sanitary conditions. But it is hard to control what is blind to the eye. Clients cannot complain about the gross things that happen behind closed kitchen doors.
The average customer at our resort comes from a privileged background. The majority come from the United States with some sort of self-made millionaire story. Among the resort’s many attractions is a taco bar that has become a favorite of our guests. I don’t work there, but my office is right next door, giving me a firsthand look at how our famous tacos are prepared.
Our Luxury Restaurant Is as Delicious as It Is Unsanitary
The organic guacamole is served by a waiter who has long, dirty nails. To prepare the guacamole, he mashes the avocados with a fork, displaying the icky bacteria trapped underneath his fingernails. I am not a millionaire, but I do not tolerate dirty nails in the kitchen. How can a restaurant charge over $20 for tacos and not demand its staff to keep their nails trimmed and clean? Presentation matters not only for the dishes but also for the employees who make them.
The pandemic has been a great challenge for the tourism industry. We are all required to wear face masks outdoors and indoors to minimize the spread of the virus. However, the chef is not a big fan of keeping his mask on while he works. This is not gross except when his nose gets itchy and he decides to scratch at it, then continue cooking.
In addition, I have seen how the chefs and bartenders go to the toilet with their phones. When they take their phones, I know they will take their time. When they’re done in the restroom, they don’t disinfect their phones. They just put it in their back pockets. When there are not a lot of clients, they pull out their phones again to send texts and then continue cooking or serving without washing their hands.
There is only one toilet available for all the kitchen staff and the administrative staff. Once, I had to wait over 40 minutes to use it. I was shocked to see the cook exit the restroom without washing his hands. When I went in to check, the sink was completely dry, and the soap container was full.
The taco kitchen is outdoors. At night, rats and other animals lounge by the counter. The morning after, the chef and staff come and make the tortilla dough on the same surface. When the dough is rising, they lay it on the counter, leaving it exposed to sea flies.
Despite this, the burritos and tacos still taste amazing. I have indulged in ordering tacos myself because I could not resist the smell of beer-battered fish on the stove. How can parasites and germs taste and smell so good? Once, after swallowing the last bite, I had to rush to the toilet because my bowels were giving a loud and unsolicited concert. It was not surprising that I had diarrhea the whole day after.
Even I Can’t Resist Our Tainted Food
I wish that was the last time I indulged in our tacos, but in fact, I went on to make the same mistake three weeks after the first incident. I thought changing my order would make digestion easier. The second time, my order was a big burrito. The result was the same as before.
The number of clients complaining about food poisoning has increased recently. Angry guests have left bad reviews on Tripadvisor narrating how their vacations were ruined due to powerful food poisoning. As a result, the company hired an auditor to analyze the issue for four months. A week after finishing, they created a permanent position that would become what the kitchen staff calls “the food police.”
Clients still pay to get intoxicated on filet mignon and tacos. Waiters and chefs continue to serve with a smile on their face, knowing they make less in a day than the average cost of a dish. Poor hygiene habits are unlikely to change before the end of the month, despite the new food police guy who now roams the kitchens.
A while back, someone really close to one of the most famous celebrities of a U.S. reality show stayed at the hotel for a couple of weeks. He would often visit the taco restaurant but never mentioned negative nor positive feedback from the food. At my office, everyone has gotten food poisoning from eating tacos, nachos and burritos. Perhaps some stomachs are stronger than others.
Our Restaurant Has Made Me Sick, but I Don’t Blame the Staff
I am confident the hotel can get past its reputation for food poisoning over time. On the other hand, it is highly unlikely the kitchen staff will get fair wages and normal working hours. In my personal experience, the process of cooking the food and the unfair politics at the company are equally gross. The kitchen staff are the most hard-working people on site. They work over ten hours per day in a country where hourly wages do not exist.
On the other hand, I still believe the third time's a charm. Despite all I know, I will give the tacos one last chance.