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Fact or Fad? 12 Biggest Restaurant Food Myths and the Truth Behind Them

As an essential part of life, food is often the subject of countless myths and old wives' tales. Multiple generations grew up thinking these food myths are real, from eating carrots to improve eyesight to drinking milk before bed to help someone sleep better.  

While food myths are more prevalent with those readily available at home, there are also myths about the restaurant industry. Let's separate fact from fiction as we debunk popular food myths in this infographic.

Have You Heard of These Myths…


On Meats

Meat is popular in the restaurant industry, so it's no surprise that several myths surround this food item. The following are some of the prevalent food myths regarding meat.

  • Myth #1: Rare steaks are unsafe to eat

    Some of the most well-known meat-related food myths concern steaks. One myth suggests eating steak rare can cause infection from foodborne viruses like E. Coli, leading to severe vomiting and diarrhea. 

    However, a widely accepted study states most microbial growth occurs on the surface of the meat. When left unchecked, these bacteria will secrete substances that break down connective tissues and allow them to penetrate inside the meat.

    Freezing the steak can prevent bacteria from growing to get to its core. Meanwhile, searing the meat not only makes a beautiful and tasty crust but also kills most of the bacteria.

    With many high-end and powerful commercial grills and griddles available, it is easier to consistently create a flavorful crust on steaks while killing most of the bacteria that lives on the surface. Make sure to properly preserve your meats with a commercial refrigerator to keep your customers safe!
  • Myth #2: Red wine is for red meat; white wine is for white meat and fish

    If you're a wine enthusiast, you know that age-old rule on how not to overpower a meal: pair red wine with red meat and white wine with fish or white meat. Food experts say you should take this myth with a grain of salt. 

    The wine you choose to pair with your meal should consider the dish's cooking method, sauce, texture, and protein use. Color-based pairings aren't always the right choice like some would have you believe.

    For example, full-bodied white wines like the Chardonnay go well with steaks. Meanwhile, light-bodied red wines pair excellently with the relatively subtler flavors of chicken and turkey.

  • Myth #3: American wagyu is the same as authentic Japanese wagyu

    Nowadays, it's common to see some grocery stores offer "American wagyu beef." Unfortunately, that can be confusing for some because "wagyu" translates to "Japanese beef" in English, leading many to believe it's impossible to have a so-called American wagyu. 

    So, why do some stores market beef as an American version of the Japanese breed?

    American wagyu beef is a byproduct of cross-breeding Japanese wagyu with everyday local meat staples like Holstein or Angus. It was a way to provide Americans with prime meat cuts when the Japanese government banned the export of wagyu in the late 90s. However, they do not have the same flavor profile or texture as authentic wagyu beef.


On Seafoods

Meat isn't the only protein with a handful of myths surrounding it, as there are certainly seafood tales that some still take as fact today. Let's explore some of these myths.

  • Myth #4: Don't order fish on Mondays

    Renowned celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain popularized this myth, putting it in his book Kitchen Confidential. The famous TV host said he prefers not to order fish on Mondays since he believes that most restaurants offering seafood reuses old fish from the previous week's order. Several years later, he retracted his statement.

    The book came out in the late 90s, giving the food industry enough time to create technology, like high-powered refrigerators, to extend the shelf-life of fish. With more modern means of food preservation, it's safe to say this decades-old food myth is no longer valid.
  • Myth #5: You can only order shellfish with months having the letter "R"

    This myth dates back to previous centuries, suggesting you should only have shellfish with the letter "R" in months—more specifically, from September to April. This myth is somewhat logical since, in ancient times, technology like chillers or refrigerators did not exist. As such, preserving the freshness of shellfish during the summer is harder.

    Fortunately, you can access high-quality kitchen equipment to prevent food nowadays, allowing you to enjoy shellfish or most seafood year-round.

  • Myth #6: Farmed fish is not good

    Fish farming is an aquaculture of raising fish in an enclosed space to sell them as food later. These controlled ecosystems aim to build a consistent seafood supply chain, help commercial fishing, restore habitats, and preserve endangered aquatic species.

    Understandably, you may be apprehensive about this type of fish breeding since it does involve human intervention. However, research concludes that farmed fish is safe and more nutritious than wild-caught seafood. 

    Fish farmers create optimal conditions and work with animal experts to ensure that farmed fish are healthy and pose no threat to human health.


On Ingredients

You may think that ingredients wouldn't have much conversation or myths surrounding them, but that's not true. They also have a fair share of myths that need debunking, and here they are.

  • Myth #7: Fresh ingredients are often higher in quality than frozen ones

    To this day, many believe fresh ingredients have more nutrients and taste better than frozen varieties. While some try to avoid freezing ingredients to preserve their flavor and health benefits, you shouldn't worry about refrigerating fresh ingredients. 

    Research shows fresh and frozen ingredients maintain the same health properties when processed in the same conditions, consequently debunking this food myth. 

    Innovations like reach-in freezers also disprove this notion, as some feature temperature control, frost-free functionality, and even consistent cooling that effectively preserves frozen food quality.
  • Myth #8: Avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG) at all cost

    MSG is a flavor enhancer that contains the amino acid glutamate. The ingredient is popular for its umami flavor, enhancing the savory taste of food. Most food safety regulatory bodies agree that MSG is safe for consumption. However, the stigma is quite a hard one to shake off. 

    Per studies, those who consume low quantities of MSG experience no adverse health effects. This finding debunks the myth that eating food with the flavoring agent, regardless of dose, can cause health complications.
  • Myth #9: Truffle oil is made from real truffles

    Truffle oil is one of the most expensive ingredients for cooking or baking. It's a hot-ticket item that most would love to try for the unique aroma and flavor it provides to dishes. While some still believe that the oil comes from the truffle mushroom, nowadays, that's not accurate anymore.

    Truffle oils still contain truffle properties but have other synthetic ingredients infused into the mixture. The main ingredient for truffle oils sold today is a combination e of 2,4-Dithiapentane and common oils like olive oil, effectively mimicking the authentic product's consistency, aroma, and flavor.


On Equipment

Cooking equipment has some lesser-known myths you may not be aware of.

  • Myth #10: Fine dining restaurants do not use microwave ovens for reheating

    For most, using microwave ovens in cafes or restaurants. However, fine-dining restaurants still use them in certain situations, specifically for preparation

    Microwave ovens, especially commercial microwave ovens, are powerful machines that can make meal preparation much easier and less time-consuming. Many use them to heat constituent ingredients like milk, butter, chocolate, and cheese.

    This preparation method doesn't alter food quality or flavor, allowing the chef to showcase their expertise and provide you with the best food experience.

  • Myth #11: Hand dishwashing uses less water than a commercial dishwasher

    It's a safe assumption that washing dishes by hand uses less water since you control the pressure, pace, and time compared with a dishwasher. However, a study that tackled the subject concluded otherwise. Experts discovered that households with a dishwashing machine consume 50% less water and 28% less energy than homes that don't.

    Commercial dishwashers, like Charlie's Fixtures' Hobart model, feature resource-friendly functionalities for cleaning dishes with environmental consciousness.
  • Myth #12: Fungi and bacteria can't grow inside refrigerators

    Refrigerators help extend the life of food and drinks. With this purpose, most think that harmful fungi and bacteria can't grow inside these appliances, which is false. 

    A U.S. Department of Agriculture study concluded that organisms like pathogenic and spoilage bacteria could grow even in frigid temperatures. Regular refrigerator cleaning is necessary to avoid food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.


The Truth About Food

Food myths exist across generations, and many people still believe them. Some even compromise food consumption due to these false beliefs. As such, it is best to research to enjoy your culinary experiences.

If you're looking for top-of-the-line restaurant appliances, look no further than Charlie's Fixtures. A California-based restaurant supply store with over 30 years of experience, we offer superior restaurant equipment to elevate your kitchen and staff's performance. For further inquiries, Contact us today!

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