Food Network Star Robert Irvine’s Biggest Red Flag in Restaurants

Chef Robert Irvine at the 2015 Food Network and Food Channel New York City Wine and Food Festival.
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  • Robert Irvine is a Food Network star and celebrity chef.
  • While at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, he spoke to Insider about the food.
  • Irvine told Insider that the first thing a diner notices is whether the bathroom is clean.

Celebrity chef Robert Irvine has been helping struggling restaurants turn their businesses around for years on the Food Network show “Restaurant: Impossible.” So it’s no surprise that when he goes out to eat, there are certain things he always looks for to tell if it’s worth eating.

In an interview with Insider about his appearance at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, Irvine shared the No. 1 marker he focuses on, even if it’s not directly related to food: the bathroom.

“Well, the first thing I’m looking for is, are the bathrooms clean?” he said. Irvine said that’s his best red flag, “because if the bathrooms are clean, if the kitchen is clean, everything is clean.”

Bathrooms are a great indicator of how the rest of the facility is maintained and cared for, he told Insider. If it’s a dirty toilet, it may mean that excellent cleanliness standards have been set for the restaurant as a whole.

Irvine in 2012 on “Dinner: Impossible” in Atlantic City.
Bill McCay / Contributor / Getty Images

“We look at the signs that work for us,” Irvine said, explaining that since she keeps her bathroom, kitchen and the rest of her house clean, it’s an easy thing for her to research elsewhere. “So that’s what I look for when I go to a restaurant.”

The Food Network star and military philanthropist said he also likes to observe servers to see if they’re happy on the job.

But regardless of the cuisine, the type of diner, or where you’re headed on the map, the chef said, if you’re wondering whether or not to eat somewhere, the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to go to the bathroom. first.

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