The Rule That Bobby Flay Doesn't Follow In His Restaurants

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay got his start early in the restaurant business. After doing his time as a busboy and learning the ropes of the cooking world, he became head chef at the age of 20, and went on to open his own restaurant at the ripe old age of 26. Flay is highly respected in the culinary circles, specializing in Mexican and Southwestern food, as well as barbecue (via Insider). So when he shares tips about cooking and working in restaurants, we listen.

A few years ago, the Food Network conducted an anonymous survey of professional chefs, asking them to spill the tea on all the things that happen in restaurants (that you may never have wanted to know). Flay joined Today to share his thoughts on what the survey revealed. It turns out there are a lot of rules in the world of food, but there is one rule that Flay said he absolutely doesn't follow in his kitchen. 

If you guessed the 5-second rule, you're spot on. But, of those chefs who participated in the survey, 25 percent said that it is not only okay to follow the 5-second rule — which implies you can pick up food within 5 seconds of it falling on the floor and still serve and eat it — but they have, and do follow it. While we're glad Flay doesn't adhere to this rule, it appears to have a following, and scientists have even put it to the test.

The 5-second rule explained

Is there any validity to the 5-second rule? Science seems to think there might be, as do the 2,000 people who participated in a survey, in which 79 percent admitted to eating food that had fallen on the floor. And in 2017, Aston University germ expert, Anthony Hilton, said that we should not be overly concerned about food that has touched the floor for a few fleeting seconds. While it is not risk-free, as long as there is not any visible dirt on the food, it is unlikely it picked up any bacteria that can hurt you. Hilton cautioned that the floor surface, along with the type of food dropped, the length of time it spends on the floor, all need to be taken into consideration when assessing how it will impact your food (via Business Insider).

Science aside, it's pretty gross to think about a cook dropping food on the floor of a restaurant and then putting it in a dish to serve to you, for a charge no less. Let's praise Flay for being against the practice, and hope more chefs adopt the same policy of tossing food that fell.