Food Critic Gets Eye-Opener as Dishwasher for a Day

By Arden Dier

August 12, 2017

To be a dishwasher in a top restaurant, you need a "heroic" work ethic, says Tom Sietsema. 

That's just one thing the Washington Post food critic discovered after spending seven hours doing that very job. Taking a shift at Caracol, chef Hugo Ortega's 250-seat Mexican seafood restaurant in Houston, Sietsema learned to dodge "hot pans, broken glass, or sharp knives," and that shooting water onto a plate means much of the food left behind ends up in your face, he writes in a feature. 

Other lessons learned: "Hot water on habanero oil creates tear gas" and "unlike at home, the five-second rule does not apply." (Even a dropped mixing bowl goes into the dishwasher instead of back on the counter.) But perhaps most importantly: Restaurant dishwashers are "some of the lowest-paid workers with the most responsibility."

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