TIL that Olive Garden claimed that their chefs were trained at a special Tuscan cooking school, but it was discovered the chefs actually just went on a week vacation to Tuscany with no training involved

TIL that Olive Garden claimed that their chefs were trained at a special Tuscan cooking school, but it was discovered the chefs actually just went on a week vacation to Tuscany with no training involved


I thought it was actually going to be a cooking school in Tucsan AZ


Back when we first started dating, my wife worked at olive garden and I worked at a sporting goods store. Olive Garden has a Tuscan chicken. Apparently people would always pronounce in like Tucson (the city). We sold a Ping Pong table called the Tucson. People would pronounce it Tuscan.


Did they pronounce it Hyundai Tuscan? Please say yes


When you're rolling to a high-end Italian joint like The Olive Garden, you'd best be driving the high-end Italian-Korean sports car.


You mean the Fauxrrari F430? Italian body, Korean chassis, built in Malaysia?


Nothing beats the classic styling of the Alfredo Romeo Bulgogi. I'm going to drive it to the new Sbarro opening next to the Home Depot.


When I was a salesman at a Hyundai dealer, yes, people did all the time.


And the Hyundai Sinatra. edit: Also heard "Hyundai Electra" out of a couple old folks in those days


My friend would tell people he drove a Honda. When asked which one..he would say "The 'E' one"... ....it was a Hyundai..not a Honda..


Ah yes, the "Hondee". That was a semi daily occurrence.


I always thought the Daewoo was John Woo's brother


I always say Hi-Oon-Die


I go with Hun-Day. I really don’t remember if I ever looked up the correct pronunciation, but that one makes the most sense to me.


Worked at Starbucks for half a decade. The Chai Tea was very commonly called Tai Chi by people that probably think Asia is a country.


To be fair, Chai Tea is just Tea Tea.


I worked fine dining for a decade or so, the amount of people that ordered the Pork Lion was unbelievable. (Pork Loin)


I begged my dad to buy lion meat at the store when I was 5 because bad at reading.


Had a friend who worked at Starbucks for a few years in college. He had one guy who came in most days to order a ‘cup of chino’. Never thought about what the guy was actually saying, until one day he came in with a friend and ordered ‘2 cups of chino’. So you know what our friend group calls that particular coffee drink now.


Hahaha, that's great! Usually people think cappuccino are supposed to look and tase like the gas station sweet french vanilla coffee liquid stuff and get very upset when you hand them a container with prominently foam. Usually if you try to avoid that misunderstanding and clarify during the order taking process it is a 50/50 of them either being grateful and getting something else or getting mad at the audacity of us questioning their order and then getting mad that it is a cup of foam... There is the 5% of the time that someone ACTUALLY wants a cappuccino, those are refreshing.


I am...the 5%. Felt cool to say that dramatically in my head. Love a good cup or two of chino.


My parents are the proud owners of a bootleg copy of 'Under The Tucson Son', spelled thusly.


I believe it’s “Tucsony”




You guys are so sicily.


There's only one Niccolo Tucsony, and he's played by Steven Seagal.


Where else would they learn to properly operate the microwave oven for all of their dishes?


This is a bit of an urban myth. Olive Garden pretty much cooks everything, but they bag and refrigerate it until it's needed later that day. When you order, they reheat it by dropping the bag into boiling water. It's still reheated and not cooked to order, but unlike Applebee's, they're not nuking a microwave dinner that came off a truck.


The insulting thing is making an alfredo sauce from scratch _is not hard_. It doesn't take more than about 5 minutes, tops. And if you're in a restaurant environment, you can probably do it in even less, as you've done all the prep work and have shit ready to go. Hell, here, how to make alfredo: Gather equal parts: * Heavy cream * Butter * parmsean cheese Also find your fresh-ground black pepper thingy, and if you're feeling frisky, some paprika. 1. Cook your pasta in salted water with olive oil. 2. When it's done, ladle out some of the pasta water and set it aside. 3. Drain the remaining pasta. 4. Turn the stove down to low 5. Melt the butter in the pan. 6. Temper the cream with a bit of the pasta water, and add it and the cheese to the pan. 7. Stir until the cheese is melted. 8. Dump your pepper and maybe paprika in. If the sauce is too thick, add some of the pasta water. 9. Mix the noodles in, serve. You've just made (pasta) Alfredo. You can add all sorts of stuff to the sauce -- lots of people like "italian" seasoning, and so on. Also, try to avoid using Kraft "parmsean" or pre-grated stuff. It has extra flour or corn starch that can make your sauce .. gritty.


My mother in law always wants Olive Garden to go for family functions, which tasted kind of old by the time we eat it. Too bad we can’t just get those bags and heat them ourselves.


No the chefs are actually just Tuscan raiders


That still would have been an improvement over the truth.


I just think it's awesome they treat their chefs to a vacation in Tuscany.


>I just think it's awesome they treat their chefs to a vacation in Tuscany. Not all their chefs. Just one or two most senior executive chefs at the corporate site. The rest of Olive Garden's chefs got to work double shifts for shit wages.


I don't know why everyone in this thread keeps saying that. The redditor who posted they went contradicts this. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/gmtfb/as_requested_iama_former_olive_garden_employee/c1opzcj/ It sounds like regional managers nominate store managers. According to the link there are around a dozen managers sent to the site per week from November to March, so 12 managers * 4 months * 4 weeks = ~200 managers sent there/year. There are 900 olive garden locations so presumably you'd make it through all your managers every few years though since they're nominated it's probably a bit less (plus turnover).


Frankly reddit is full of those types you could be paying $30 an hour to push a broom and they'd still stand around playing on their phone and complaining about how much work sucks and they shouldn't have to put up with this bullshit. So they have to grab on to any random ass ~~fact~~ meme as proof they aren't lazy regardless of whether the work is bad, good, or something inbetween. (And if there was really such a thing as 'good' work they probably wouldn't have to pay people but that's another matter)


You are correct. As I mentioned in another comment, I worked at Olive Garden for about 2.5 years and saw 6 different managers get to go with promotions.


Oh so it’s true. When you’re there, you are family. Helped my aunt and uncle at their Vietnamese restaurant when I was young.


> Helped you mean worked as a child employee for free right?


Yes, you know when you go to an Asian restaurant and you see some kid doing their homework in a booth and then get called and they half ass wipe down all the tables really quickly then go back to their homework? That was me. Asian immigrants don’t believe in childcare, just child labor.


Yep that was me. Grew up in a Chinese restaurant worked since I was 12 probably. Just expected of you and you really have no choice if you want to eat and contribute. Not that bad tho could be a lot worse!


Sounds like my family. So you’re a Greek family running a Vietnamese restaurant? Must have some awesome φω.


We’re boat people from Vietnam so it was just a thing. I don’t remember loving it or hating it. But if anyone wonders why Asian restaurants don’t have the friendliest service, it’s because most of the people there are relatives that are not getting paid :) We don’t have training or anything :)


well you arent much of a chef if you're just reheating shit off a cisco truck. they aren't cutting and breading fresh chicken breast for the stuffed chicken parmesan in the back, that stuff comes frozen from a truck


Sysco you mean...cisco is computer systems


I ordered my router from Sysco by mistake and now I have to microwave it.


Well this chimichanga isn’t giving me shit for internet - wanna trade??


No that's the guy who sings "The Thong Song." You're thinking of Crisco.


No, that's the vegetable-based shortening used in many tasty pie crusts. You're thinking of Costco.


No, that's the wholesale warehouse store. You're thinking of crypto.


No that’s a newer currency format. You’re thinking of zippo.


A memorable experience with great food might just well cause as much professional improvement as any learned technique.


This is what it’s supposed to taste like, now make that


>now make that … … with the frozen ingredients we give you and you have to use.


[Ah yes, taught by the famous two time personal chef.](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfxpwbWBNuU)


This is the way we talk in Tuscon, Arizonia.


They are just regular, human chefs.


the bad side of Tucsan, somewhere on Oracle near Grant maybe 🤣


“I’m a two time personal chef”


At the start of pandemic lock-downs, Olive Garden ran a take-out deal: buy one entree and get a 'take and bake' one for free. My wife and I tried it out. I got the ravioli and, per directions, cooked it in microwave for 1:30. Tasted exactly the same as if I'd ordered it at restaurant. Since then, I just imagine the OG kitchen as a bunch of microwaves.


I worked at an OG in college, and you’d be surprised how much is made on site. Yes, many things are heated on demand, but they were prepared on site. The breadsticks, not surprisingly, were not. The farther you are from a distribution center, the worse they get.


Yeah it's Chef "Mike"


A person of Kitchen Nightmares culture I see.


I think you mean ~~Kitchen Nightmares~~ restaurant culture in general.


Yeah my old head chef who definitely didn't watch the show used to come storming out the kitchen to the back to find the entire line on a smoke break. He would start howling about how us assholes left mike in the weeds and how chef mike wasn't suppose to work like this in this kind of restaurant and how he was going to quit. Funny and light hearted but also stone serious and full on cranked up to 11 angery.


Do you mean that as things got more backed up, more items would be microwaved rather than cooked? It makes sense, but I hadn't considered that - I always figured restaurants had certain items they microwave, certain things they don't, but not that it would depend on how busy they were.


It took me this many comments deep to get the chef Mike joke. What is wrong with me? I feel dumb as hell.


Not every restaurant has a microwave. We used to have one but only for reheating coffee and desserts that we didn't want to crisp up/dry out in the oven.


Most underpaid and underappreciated chef in the kitchen


Chef Mike Rowave`


Dirty Jobs guy evil twin brother


When the lights are on, Chef Mike is working. Shame that he fell out that window


When I worked there, my OG made their soups fresh and of course the breadsticks were half baked and finished off in the oven with butter and salt. At least I can the pasta is cooked on site as well.


People are hating on OG, but I worked at Starbucks for years, and every pastry is frozen for a good long time before we defrost or nuke it.


Pastries are different, for nearly all restaurants. Most places can hardly make their own, almost everybody orders them from pastry chefs.


In an ideal situation, they would be ordering them from local bakery shops. I think Starbucks used to do that until they noticed the wildly inconsistent quality/size/pricing/supply because every local bakery was doing their own thing, and then "fixed" that problem.




I read a book about their major makeover back around during the 07-08' recession. That was when they significantly overhauled their logistics and stores after noticing that they were having rapidly diminishing returns from opening new stores even before the recession hit.


Precisely. They try hard to pretend, but Starbucks isn't 'your local coffee shop', they're a multinational corporation, and put a ton of effort into consistency across stores, often at the expense of maximum possible quality. The only thing prepared on site is going to be the drinks themselves and things like urns of coffee or tea that have to be made fresh. No different from McD's or any number of other fast food places that rely on premade frozen items.


Do they try to pretend? Starbucks has always been the McDonald's of coffee shops


As another former Olive Garden employee I'll second this. I saw way more egregious shit at other restaurants and some were much "nicer" than Olive Garden.


Not that they are nicer, but Applebees often don't even have stoves, just grills, deep fryers and microwaves.


Applebee's barely has what I'd consider food.


I also worked at an olive garden, and surprisingly I miss that job.it was absolute organized chaos when it was busy.


I was a cook at OG for a few years and got the fancy yellow cooks hat and was planning on going into management but I felt like I was just being used and ended up leaving. But yes almost EVERYTHING is made in the back I always loved the food. But chef Mike was always used if we ran out of anything


Honestly, they should advertise it more because people don't believe me when I tell them we actually made stuff in house. And if you eat it all the time you can taste the difference between cooks or stores -- one of our cooks definitely made the Toscana spicier than the others did.


People are forgetting that if it were that easy to make food in the microwave, we'd have way better microwave food.


My secret is to use the microwave but finish in the toaster oven. You get the nice coloring and texture in less than half the time.


Some ovens do that themselves, as it happens.


Okay Mr. Fancypants with your fancy microwaves.


Put some water in the dish. Anything w/ rice for example or pasta or anything that congeals together, even roast or casserole. Just separate it, add some water, cooks so much better


It kind of is that easy, but people don't know how to do it. Most people just run a 1200w microwave at full blast and then complain that the outside is scorching hot but the inside is frozen. Turn the power down and cook it for longer. Ta da. Better microwaved food.


Many microwave foods have exactly those directions, but that ain't gonna get you olive garden breadsticks.


OG breadsticks are heated in an actual oven and then buttered and salted. I think they’re precooked though. After working there for 2 years, that’s the one thing I can’t eat anymore. Everything else I actually don’t mind. Big fan of the stuffed chicken marsala actually. I make it at home sometimes.


When I worked at one a few years ago we ran Out of breadsticks so Someone ran over to target and bought them out of Texas toast. Making the soups was one of the best and at times most stressful parts


I have a few questions about that dusty wine bottle that was always on the table….


Maybe it’s just my fat talking, but even bad OG breadsticks are pretty good


In my 4.5 year tenure as a cook at OG - there are several microwaves in the back for use but there are also industrial pasta boilers and steam tables set up for sauces like alfredo and marina, meatballs and lasagna, a coldwell icebath for all the stuff used by the saute cooks, drawers of precooked, chilled, and oiled pasta, appetizer fixings, etc. Flattop grill for chicken, steaks, fish, etc. It functions (I imagine) like every other corporate kitchen - we use microwaves to heat up stuffed pastas for promotional dishes, or other things like that. It wasn't like we were cooking meat in them, microwaves are kitchen tools just like anything else, just need to know how to use it correctly. It's not glamorous, but we did actually cook - just like every restaurant we do everything we can to prep and make the cook's lives easier when in the middle of the rush.


I worked at OG for years, I can assure almost nothing is microwaved, especially none of the entrees. Just some of the kids food and maybe a dessert


Yeah I worked at one for years. The only thing microwaved was the ravioli and some of the steamed veggies in little containers. Oh and reheating deserts.


The ravioli is not microwaved. Broccoli, macaroni, stuffed shells and some pre portioned sauces like the marsala. And the marsala sauce is still made in house just reheated in the microwave.




A lot of steamed food I'm guessing? At least for the sauces.


Nope, almost every entree is prepared in a pan. Most of the appetizers are fried. There’s a lot of reason to hate on OG don’t get me wrong, but they do make most of the food on the spot


Any largely franchised sit down restaurant is microwaves. They are all fast food with extra steps and random waiting to eat the highly processed appetizer :(


I worked in the Carrabbas chain for years. No microwaves, and the majority of food was prepared from scratch in house. The no microwaves meant we sometimes would heat up baby bottles ~~in~~ *on* a stove like old school in a ~~out~~ *pot* of water; and yes, that is absolutely a healthy code violation.


Been with Carrabba’s for 5 years. We’ve added microwaves. I miss the days of being able to say ‘we don’t have microwaves’ when people wanted things reheated. That said, still blows OG out of the water imho


Chicken Bryan!


I love love carrabbas. Blows Olive Garden out of the water, although that’s not that difficult.


It also blows Olive Gardens bill out of the water and I like carrabbas !


Mama Mandolas(sp?) chicken soup is heaven on earth.


File this under "stuff that sounds smart but actually isn't true." Restaurant *desserts*, on the other hand....


You mean they didn't churn the ice cream by hand! They don't operate a full patisserie in the back?


My favorite place advertised their pastries from a local French style shop. It was a draw on its own because the pastry shop kept banking hours and if you wanted magnificent confectionery at 11 at night you could get it there.


I was a bartender at a "high end" restaurant (and not a franchise) on the beach... a lot of the food was either prepared by the kitchen staff in the morning and reheated during meal hours or came to us already prepared. The only thing that was cooked on the spot were the steaks or fish. Everything else was as you'd expect.


Prep cooking is kinda extremely essential for kitchens to work in nice restaurants though.


This! A huge part of the reason it takes you so long to cook things at home is that you have to do all the prep yourself. I can cook steak and onions, with a nice salad and root mash in like 5 minutes if all my pans are clean and in order, the grill and oven are already hot and someone else the cut the onions, cut all the salad fixings into bowls and made then refrigerated the root mash in advance.


Tell me about this root mash.


Do people think someone is back there dicing onions and cracking eggs on demand? Cooks have cocaine to do, dammit!


seriously. I don't know what people expect. you can make things the same day but shit takes time


Im a chef, if we had to make all meals 'a la minute' everyone would have to wait an hour for their meal and labor costs would be Incredible. As long as IT is not too old and regenerated properly there is nothing wrong with pre made food. Things like bolognese sauce or stew even get better with time.


Flavor melding is crucial to any sauce, stew, or soup. I won't even touch my salsa unless it's sat for at least 24 hours.


Oh man. We have a 50-table/140 person patio. Out kitchen can barely keep up at high demand times as it is, I could not fathom that scenario.


You would never guess how hard Chef Mike gets put to work until you see it yourself. Or taste it yourself, I guess.


Tbf it's hard as fuck to cook most quality meals with any speed. I've always wondered how the hell restaurants can put out handmade food on time cause it takes me a damn hour just to make steak and potatoes for a few friends


Well the potatoes are made in the am and heated up to plate. Doesn’t take too long to slap a steak on a grill.


Yeah tbh I get a little extra with it and cook the steaks inside. I just wanted to use an example of something that's relatively simple. Cause even then when you've got 10 steaks cooking to 3 different internal temps idk how the hell you're able to focus on anything else. Now make that 10 completely different dishes with their own sauces, sides, etc and there's just no way to make it all fresh without taking some shortcuts


The key is preparation and organization - obviously. Everything is sliced and ready to go. You work in waves too. If you have 3 steaks working, you know which one went on first and which one comes off first. 3 or 4 people at least - more if you’re working 10 simultaneous tickets. It’s not difficult to throw some pre-sliced veggies in a pan with some oil and seasoning while a protein is working. You only plate one ticket at a time - which is why a large party hurts the kitchen far more than 5 different 3 tops.


I'm glad you mentioned that cause it was definitely the big tables I had in mind. Like, the thought of having to prepare a dozen meals for a short window of time gives me anxiety


Yeah, timing out different tables isn’t too hard. You have to remember the menu is (well, should be) designed to be both repeatable and consistent. So a chef designs a menu they can pull off during the rush, at the very least. Watch something like Hells Kitchen to get a feel for how a dish comes together. It’s over the top drama, but you can see how the grill and the pans and the sides all work with the chef to deliver plates on time.


Read or listen to the audiobook, Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. It gives great insight into this and its a fun read.


Don't hate on ol' chef mike. Dude's been through hell and back and still shows up for work without fail.


I worked at an Applebee's for four years and surprisingly little was microwaved. Things like mashed potatoes, rice, and vegetables were, but they were also prepared much earlier in the day and just needed to be reheated when ordered. Any meats were cooked either on the grill or flat top, and some vegetables were also cooked on the flat top as well. The only time I ever saw meat thrown in the microwave was when people ordered extra well done steaks (it was Applebee's after all) and the cooks needed the grill space for new orders coming in at peak hours. The only problem was, it was Applebee's so the food wasn't the greatest from the start and the employees sure didn't want to be there.


When did you work there? I was there about 15 years ago and almost everything was microwave. 6 microwaves, 4 fryers, a flattop and a ~6 foot grill.


I worked there for four years and left in 2016. Honestly, when I started I had the notion most things were microwaved but at least at my location that turned out to not be the case.


I believe Applebee's was forced to remake their menu a few times and move away from that kind of kitchen due to failing demand. The big chains are pretty vulnerable to local places and if they don't keep their quality up to some degree, they suffer. All of the big chains are like that. Some get away with more than others, but if the food tastes like garbage yet costs as much as local competition, they simply get beat. That was happening quite a bit in the mid 2000s.


Isn't it still happening? I can't remember the last time I chose to eat at a Chilis, TGI Fridays or Olive Garden. Too many actual good restaurants to waste time with chains. I mean, I've eaten there, but only when someone else is picking the place.


Why can’t I get microwave food that tastes as good at home? A lot of chain stuff isn’t great but it’s far better than typical frozen microwave meals.


Speculating here. But try dropping the power level of the microwave a bit. It's almost a night and day difference (depending on the type of food)


Halve the power and double the time. Pretty much everything that isn't primarily liquid will come out better.


Most of the food is prepared on site before lunch/dinner open and then reheated later when ordered (outside of grilled/baked items). If you make fresh pancakes in the morning and reheat at dinner it will still taste about the same as they did in the morning. If you buy frozen pancakes made about 2 weeks ago in a factory 300 miles away from the store and heat them up, they will taste markedly worse than they did off the line.


>Any largely franchised sit down restaurant is microwaves. They are all fast food with extra steps and random waiting to eat the highly processed appetizer :( Not true for Macaroni Grill. No microwaves in the \~2 years I worked for one in the midwest. They had a pizza oven, ovens for baking bread in the back, saute pans, and a deep fryer. That was it. Someone once asked for us to microwave something for them and when I said that we didn't have any they asked for a manager who confirmed there were none in the building but Chili's next door had like 10.


I'm sure it varies based on where you live, but I feel like there's a lot more quality local restaurants than there used to be. I can get much better food for cheaper than those chains.


It's my understanding that they're reheated, but not necessarily in microwaves, and they're pre-made, but not necessarily frozen & preserved the same as what you'd find in the freezer aisle at the grocery store. The food is prepped and partially cooked at a local kitchen & distribution center, and finished at the restaurant. This is why an Olive Garden can open in only a month just about anywhere and still taste exactly the same as any other Olive Garden. I don't think their food is very good, but I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with this approach. For people like my wife with severe food allergies, which make finding safe food while traveling very difficult, that level of quality control can actually be a good thing.


I'm absolutely shocked to find out that this cake wasn't baked entirely inside your food truck.


This TIL is based on an article based on a Reddit post. Skip the middleman: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/gmtfb/as_requested_iama_former_olive_garden_employee/


I'm suprised Olive Garden doesn't just send people to a Tuscany in Canada or a pop up restaraunt named "Tuscany, Italy".


They just send them to Tucson AZ now.


i hope they're not sending any of them now, my thermometer is reading 110 outside.


And the end of the article seems to have ripped off the top comment wholesale


And it looks like the TIL is wrong; the comment describes (a small amount of) training.


The reddit post doesn't have any proof, skip everything.


I've got no beef with the Garden. When my wife gets it in her head that it's been *forever* since we've went to a "nice" restaurant, I don't have a lot of inexpensive options that myself, the wife, and the kids will simultaneously be okay with. Olive Garden is my MVP for that purpose. I don't give a shit if their chefs trained in Tuscany, Tucson, or learned what they know from their friend Mike who once banged a guidette under the boardwalk. Just keep the breadsticks coming, get us our entrees before our toddler gets bored, and I'll happily continue giving Olive Garden my money.


Yeah its not gonna win a Michelin star but you know what you're getting and they have shitloads of breadsticks. If I want "authentic" Italian ill go further and pay more but if I want breadsticks, a cup of soup and a big heap of lasagna for like $15 olive garden is exactly where im going


> you know what you're getting Exactly why franchises are popular. For every "local" place that people rave about there are half a dozen kitchen nightmare contestants.


That and local places are notoriously bad about actually posting menus online. I've got local places I absolutely love and fortunately know the menu now but I get so anxious walking into a new restaurant blind


A simple man that Buttfucker Tim. I wish to find more like you.


Concerned about where the kids came from.


The butt... Does any one take the time to read comments all the way through anymore?


We were drunk and it slipped in the wrong hole one night.


Or alternatively, you were raised Satanists and told you could maintain purity through vaginal sex and not anal


Agreed. I understand it's not "authentic" Italian food. But it's still quite good. They're pretty great in terms of accessibility. They have Braille menus, large print menus, they have a certain percentage of seats made for wheelchairs, and train their staff on how to interact with someone who uses a wheelchair or is blind. I worked at one in college, and if they're all like mine, you will never ever get food poisoning there. There was a red line in the kitchen that separated the front of the house from the back. Literally, red masking tape across the floor and up the wall. So, salad prep and bread sticks, the stuff the wait staff handle, are in the FOH side. But BOH is where all the food is actually cooked. Wait staff aren't allowed back there except to use the bathroom. If you use the bathroom, you put booties over your shoes and a hairnet, use the bathroom, wash your hands (expectation), then wash your hands again in front of a manager, before you went back on the floor. I felt a bit micromanaged, but relieved since I know most people are filthy filthy animals. Also, they gave me an awesome training on wine that I have no memory of, because I didn't realize you weren't supposed to swallow the wine at a wine tasting. I ended up sleeping in my car for a few hours after my training. Not sorry, I got paid to get drunk! Anyway, OG doesn't deserve all the hate it gets. Some of it. But not all.


Very similar experience as a server there 10+ years ago. Not as strict on the micromanagement (we just used the public bathrooms in the restaurant and it was of course expected to wash hands, just not in front of manager). But when I first started I was pleasantly surprised how sanitary it was behind the scenes. Really as good as it could be for a restaurant.


Wise words from Tim the Fucker of Butts


But if they went to Tuscany anyway, would a cooking class as extra be that expensive?


And I'm guessing that's a handful of corporate chefs, not the cooks at the locations


It's management. I think they choose based on sales contests IIRC


Correct, it was the managers - not the line cooks. I worked at the OG for three years. I will say they prepare a lot of the food there and there's not much that comes premade other than the fried items and the breadsticks.


If I found out my boss was going to get a vacation in Tuscany based on how hard *I* worked, I would do the absolute minimum I could get away with


They probably didn’t tell the crew about that part, but just to upsell every breathing second.


More than I would've expected, tbh.


Yeah, honestly surprised ANY part of the "trained in Tuscany" thing is true.


I know I shouldn't like it - and my husband and I do frequent local restaurants WAY more than chains of any kind. But their soup/salad/bread sticks deal is hard to beat. I LOVE their salad dressing (yes, it's too salty. That's what makes it good), and their pasta e fagiola soup, and the bread sticks to dunk in the the very end of it. Damn. I just made myself hungry. Luckily, I live a ways away from an OG - or anything else, for that matter.


Yes. This. I don't think I've had an entree from OG in about a decade, but a lunch of soup, salad and breadsticks can't be beat for the money. And now you've made ME hungry - and what's worse is that I live in Canada, there are no OGs here anymore, the border is closed, and I have an OG gift card I got for my birthday right before the border closed!!!


Why do you feel that you "shouldn't" like it? Real question. No sarcasm.


A lot of people hate OG for what ever reason. My family always ate there. Fanciest place we ate lol.


Because for some odd reasons it’s become blasphemy to have any positive experiences with a big corporation.. “you eat at McDonald’s!? Then you must support >”.


>I know I shouldn’t like it. It’s ridiculous you even feel the need to say that. There are no restaurants you should or shouldn’t like. You like what you like. Don’t let hive minds like Reddit can be convince you otherwise. Unless the restaurant is a front for ISIS, it’s okay to like it.


Am I the only one impressed they went to Tuscany at all and not some other random town named "Tuscany" in the US or some bullshit place called "Tuscany Cooking School."


Worked as a cook at OG for 15 years, worked all back of the house positions extensively during that time. Not a single person I knew went to Italy except one of our store managers.


As someone who has eaten at the Olive Garden, no shit.


Is it just a popular thing to take pot shots at Olive Garden? I've eaten there a bunch and never had a bad experience.


People think they’re too good to enjoy it because it’s not, you know, authentic. But it’s pretty inexpensive and honestly if you can’t find something there that you can at least enjoy eating, I feel like that says more about you than the restaurant. It’s not amazing food or anything but it’s better than most things you’d get at that price point.


Olive Garden *used* to be awesome but parent company General Mills spun it off as a separate company called Darden, who slowly started cutting corners on food quality to keep profits high. Thus its demise.


And also I was 10


Yeah, I think its more that I was 10 and lived in the suburbs.


Sounds like the story of just about every large American restaurant chain. Maybe not the splitting off to form a new company part, but definitely the cutting corners to please shareholders...




Red Lobster is also a Darden brand. And while I get your point, frankly many restaurant portions should be smaller. A single meal at OG is basically your entire recommended calories for the day for the average person.


That’s part of the appeal of OG for me. I order something that reheats well and I’ve got easily 3 meals out of it.


literally reminds me of Chipotle. it used to be sooo much better 10+ years ago. now its taco bell 2.0


I worked at a Qdoba when the chain was new. The wholesaler we got the chicken from guaranteed 3 days or less from live chicken to delivery. We would take that fresh chicken and marinate it in the adobo seasoning that we made in-store from scratch (barring the chipotles). Then we would grill it as needed to fill demand. The person manning the grill would temp and remove chicken carefully so it wasnt overcooked. When you ate qdoba chicken, it was a live chicken less than a week ago, and grilled over a fire less than an hour ago, and marinated thoroughly in between. When I left just 3 years later, we received weeks worth of chicken all at once, frozen. Packs of freeze dried adobo sauce was rehydrated and applied before grilling. All chicken grilled before the doors open in the morning and then put in refrigeration. Leftover chicken was chilled and sold first thing in the morning. Now, when you eat qdoba chicken, theres a chance that it was prepared more than 24 hours ago, chilled, reheated, chilled overnight, reheated again and then served to you an hour later. More expensive now, though.


Gotta fuckin love it...


To me it's just in the spot of not being good enough to warrant paying to eat out and not cheap enough for it to be a quick hit on the road.


IDK, but I used to tolerate it because my wife likes it - but stopped going now that the chicken parmigiana is $17.49 here. I recently found a place here that makes noodles in house and have a better piece of chicken parmigiana and its $3 cheaper. But I don't talk shit on people who eat what they like - that is there business, and I'm happy they found something that makes them happy.


Tuscan chefs are easily startled, but they'll be back and in greater numbers


Well sure, but they’re _eating_ the local food during that week in Tuscany so at least they get a sense of what it’s _supposed_ to taste like, right? Right?


“Immersion training.”


You mean all you can eat bread sticks and salad is not an Italian thing?


My brother-in-law has won this perk 2x(twice), he manages the restaurant space for Olive Garden. He said as much they have a bit of school but it's mainly to 1) reward them and 2) expose them to the "Italian lifestyle" and soak up the culture and sightsee.


This happened, they also claimed this for the GMs. However, very little food was microwaved when I worked there (quit in 2009) despite the plethora of comments here to the contrary. Most of the sauces and soups were made in house, usually daily. Maybe that’s changed, but I haven’t been there in a while. The breadsticks were actually just brown and serve affairs drenched in margarine and garlic salt. Source: I worked there as a bartender, server, host, and trainer for over 6 years.