Teflon coated cookware used at high temperatures and other hazards of fine dining.
We've recently had a TV sub channel that features local area bistros and popular restaurants. They feature their owners and chefs both in studio and on location extolling their virtues where they are often taken into the kitchen and a tour of the premisis. The camera records a popular dish made to order while the chef or owner describes the process to a reporter who then dines on the meal prepared usually with the head chef or owners.
I'm occasionally appalled at what I see. I realize that these are high volume kitchens with a cooking line of up to a dozen cooks and the pressure must be intense to execute each individual order and multitask. One thing that really gets to me is the state of the cookware. Virtually all these kitchens they show are using formerly teflon coated cookware that's bare up to the sides, heavily warped and carbonized. Some may call that seasoned, but the fact remains that the teflon is long been burned away by the high pressure burners and incorporated into the food by the cooks using all metal utensils. For a few dollars less, most all these pans are available in plain aluminum. I use the same cookware by Volrath and Lincoln my own kitchen as well as our church's, so it's not that I'm misidentifying what they are using. The heat must be so intense that when wine for deglazing ignites for a moment, these burners are blasting. While high heat caramelization is the key to some great cooking like Asian, the utensils should be appropriate to the task. Teflon coated products aren't meant to be abused like this and this poses a tremendous health risk, yet this is hailed as fine dining and yet the same press excoriates the immaculate fried chicken QSR chain for everything being deep fried in possibly unhealthy trans-fats and high calories. Not a word about the copious use of "gourmet" animal fats used in these fine restaurants at sustained higher temperatures then any deep fryer at 350 degrees would ever see and the carcinogenic products they produce. Most of these shows make me wince to watch the preparation and sloppy handling of ingredients that are dripped over each other in the quick preparation techniques. For example a pasta basket pulled from a boiling tank over a myriad of 1/6 & 1/9 pans containing prepped ingredients with boiling water streaming from the basket as it's tossed into a searing pan for a final toss. I've never worked in a high volume kitchen and only did mostly prep years ago, but I never seen anything like this.