HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >


Tyler's fingers in the chocolate

Anybody else watch Tyler's Ultimate Chocolate show today? He visited a chocolate store in Lausanne Switerzland. The owner took him in the back to where the vats of chocolate are whirring around. Tyler asks "can I taste?" the owner says "sure". Tyler sticks his finger into a stream of dark chocolate pouring into the vat and licks it off. I couldn't believe it. Then he asks the owner if he can taste the milk chocolate, the owner says yes and Tyler sticks his finger in the stream of milk chocolate pouring into the milk chocolate vat. Now I'm really freaked out. Every piece of chocolate made from both these vats of chocolate now have Tyler's coodies in them. I can't believe they showed it, and what was the owner thinking? Am I just too squeamish?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I saw it, too, and had the same reaction—disgusting. What were they thinking??? I'll bet the Swiss guy dumped the vats after Tyler and his crew left.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FeelingALittleBreadish

      Thanks Feeling...
      I knew that I couldn't be the only one!!

    2. If you're that worried about people's fingers in your food, you better start growing/raising/butchering everything you eat. By the time any food reaches your table, whether it comes from a major grocery chain or the organic farmer down the street, other folks have handled it - a lot.

      1. handling food is one thing, sticking your finger into something after you've already licked, is kinda another. I've also seen people cooking on tv and taste something from a spoon and stick it back in the pot, which bothers me even more.

        2 Replies
        1. re: im_nomad

          Do you know he used the same finger? Maybe he used the right hand in one shot and the left in the other. Did you observe that?

          1. re: Avalondaughter

            if you read my post avalon, i didn't say tyler necessarily used the same finger, i said such a thing was different than simply tasting something. as for the spoon issue, yes i've seen it on (probably older) cooking shows, with a wooden spoon. and before anyone asks, no i was not in the audience.

        2. Lends new meaning to Double Dipping.

          1. Are you absolutely certain that there was no editing between the two shots?

            Although, realistically, people use their hands when they cook. Period. I remember on Hell's Kitchen when they had to cook on the line with a chef, and a guy got thrown off the line for sticking his finger in the sauce to taste it. The gy asked the chef if he threw out the sauce, and the chef didn't answer.

            And even in your story, you haven't specified that Tyler used the same, licked finger.

            But it's not just you. I would definitely think "Yuck!" then tell myself to calm down. It's this hyper-senstive world. Can you imagine a sushi chef wearing gloves to check the fish? We've just become insane. Of course they use their hands. And cooking is the better for it. (Though admittedly not in this case.)

            OOH! You know how chefs keep a spoon in their sleeve? What happens to that spoon? Do they always trade it out for a fresh one? Is taht why restaurants always ruin out of teaspoons? (Can anyone answer this? Or shoudl I start a new thread?)

            11 Replies
            1. re: miss_bennet

              Yeah...I saw it too and I just shrugged it off, but I did think to myself, "I wonder how many people are going to be freaked out about this." Anyways, these shows have a ton of editing and for all we know he actually washed his hands or the vats were special and set up for show. There's just no telling, really. I'm still going to eat chocolate regardless of Tyler's cooties floating around. ;)

              1. re: miss_bennet

                I don't know if he used the same finger or not when he sampled the dark and then the milk chocolate. I didn't pay attention to that I was so stunned. I know that people "handle" food all the time, I'm not naive about that, and I realize that most probably don't wash their hands. I was shocked to see a "food professional" (can I call him that?) do such an irresponsible thing on TV. These were two very large vats of chocolate that were probably worth a small fortune for the store owner (although the owner gave him the OK to taste the second time after seeing how he tasted the first). Perhaps FN is going for the "yuck" factor like when they showed the Next Iron Chef contestants literally dripping sweat into the food they were supposed to feed to the judges. I do wonder what happened to those two large vats of chocolate....

                1. re: miss_bennet

                  Perhaps Tyler washed his hands in-between "takes" of the chocolate; & it's entirely possible that Tyler washing his hands was not filmed or was edited out of the production.

                  But in a way that's not the point. The point is that the program didn't _show him_ washing his hands, so what the viewing audience _sees_ is Tyler double-dipping--whether he actually did or did not.

                  1. re: alanstotle

                    I'm generally not squeamish about stuff like that, but for the record I'd happily let Tyler kiss me full on the mouth, so his fingers in chocolate wouldn't bother me at all <g>

                    1. re: alanstotle

                      I guess I just have faith in the FN, and Tyler Florence. I mean, why would they keep someone in a position if he wasn't good at it? And I just don't believe that Tyler could make it in the industry without upholding industry standards.

                      I really think that this fanaticism regarding food safety is going too far. Do we really need to waste 5 minutes of EVERY show to reassre the audience that the chefs are being foodsafe? Wouldn't you rather learn how to make a quick side or dessert?

                      I think, however, that is would be good for FN to have little PSA's. While showing their logo, or on a 15-second spot to fill ad time, they could have food safety reminders. (i.e. Have a chicken knife and/or cutting board. This can prevent cross-contaminatrion of salmonella and other food-bourne illnesses!)

                      1. re: miss_bennet

                        i haven't seen the episode yet - it's waiting patiently on my tivo - but i watch tyler's ultimate regularly, and he washes his hands at least 3 or 4 times in pretty much every typical 30-min episode. the guy's NOT unaware of safe food handling practices...my guess is that he did wash his hands, and they decided not to waste valuable airtime showing it.

                        discussions like this remind me of the very first episode of top chef, when thomas keller flipped out on ken for sticking his fingers in a sauce to taste it.

                        1. re: miss_bennet

                          Faith in in FN? That ship has sailed and snak a long time ago.

                          I will have to add that any slobber on his finger would have been killed by the heat of the chocolate. But still seems like a very gross thing to be doing.

                          1. re: Withnail42

                            The chocolate would not have been at a high enough temperature to kill bacteria. But maybe it has anti-bacterial properties, like bamboo.

                      2. re: miss_bennet

                        on another side note, HK also (knowingly??? ) kept someone on for quite a while who had fished spaghetti out of the garbage...but that's another issue !!!

                        1. re: miss_bennet

                          miss bennet,

                          proper technique with the plastic spoon: take the large metal spoon that's used to stir the dish and use it to ladle a small portion into your plastic spoon. you taste from this spoon and it never enters the pot. you can use it again and again this way. you see this all through culinary school, and in hotel kitchens, but you sure don't see it everywhere. Fingers are used all the time, ALL the time.

                        2. like he didn't know he would taste and thus had no spoon? sometimes he does tacky things. but i do like him better than i used to. i think he is less impressed with himself, and making better dishes.

                          1. i guess another question i'd have here, is not necessarily along the lines of the cootie factor .......but what could potentially ruin a vat of chocolate....i'm not sure how sensitive a large quantity like that would be, perhaps others know. water can ruin chocolate after all.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: im_nomad

                              yeah, if he'd slobbered on his finger! ;-D

                              1. re: im_nomad

                                You can't seize a vat of chocolate by dipping one's finger on it... I've done it. Perhaps if you were inspector gadget and your finger was also the nozzle of a high power hose... then perhaps.

                                1. re: Blueicus

                                  blueicus is right. there's no way the moisture from a solitary finger - even a soaking wet one - would cause an entire vat of chocolate to seize up...you'd need to pour an appreciable amount of water into it.

                                  go, go gadget finger!

                                  great, now i'm going to have that theme song stuck in my head all day ;)

                              2. I have a funny feeling that no one cares what goesinta the chocolate as long as it meets the predesigned squares in the gift box.

                                I shudder to think what else we don't know regarding what goes where in fooddom.

                                1. I took a semester long cake decorating class from a bakery owner who told us the best way to frost a cake was with your hands and he proceeded to dip his hands, unwashed, into the vat of frosting. I'm sure there are things that happen behind the scenes that most of us just don't want to know about and Tyler's fingers are probably the least of it.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: chowser

                                    did he sell this in his bakery? how disgusting!

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      This was in a community college kitchen where there was a huge vat of frosting (and he did sell the little cakes that he made to students...wondering if he was pocketing the money) but the feeling I got was this is how he did it in the bakery. I dropped that class.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        maybe he should come to the attention of the health department.

                                        eeeuuuwwww! ---

                                        sarah moulton mixing a salad with her impeccably washed hands is one thing -- or even ina garten mixing something with her just cleaned hands --- but this teacher --- without washing (or telling you he just had! -- even THEN) it is so gross. i just think of the junk under his fingernails....going IN to the frosting!

                                        (relax hounds, i will make meatball mixture with my own clean hands)

                                  2. When I trained as a chef, we always used a monkey dish for tasting -- like the above noted plastic spoon. But I've seen more than my share of fginger dippers.

                                    That being said, Tyler's infraction doesn't hold a candle to Paula Deen's -- does anyone else here remember an FN commercial with her *sticking her tongue into a chocolate fountain*!? I'm not sure what was worse -- that she did it or that the FN actuallly *put it in a commercial*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Richard 16

                                      thanks for reminding us. now i certainly won't sleep!

                                      1. re: Richard 16

                                        The tongue in the chocolate fountain is featured in the opening of her 'party show. Trying to show how she is this wild and wacky party girl. YUMMO...Y'ALL!!

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          "dude, pimp my paula" -- the new name fn is considering.......

                                      2. Wow some people need to lighten up! I laugh at all the people using paper towels to open the door at the 7-11.

                                        you guys better never eat out again, anywhere. ever.

                                        and never order dessert....did you hear....they use RAW EGGS in some desserts.....EWWW gross. coodies.

                                        Don't come for a dinner party at my house...I dip my finger in everything!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: RPMcMurphy

                                          RPMcMurphy is right on the money. I've worked in plenty of places run by "finger tasting" chefs. In fact, as a general rule, you can expect that the fancier the restaurant, the more people that have touched your food with their bare hands before it reaches your table. I shudder to think what some of you might do if you saw what really goes on behind the scenes in a professional, even high-end kitchen.

                                          Just because Hubert Keller has a spoon tasting rule doesn't mean everybody does. ;-)

                                          R. Jason Coulston

                                        2. to paraphrase julia child: "if the presentation on your plate is beautiful, you know someone's hands have been ALL over it!"

                                          but seriously, people, finger-tasting is out. yesterday. chefs use monkey-bowls. if they're french trained and environmentally irresponsible they use plastic spoons. if you walk into my kitchen and i'm cutting up raw chickens, i'll hold out my hand and expect you to shake it, guts & all, then we'll *both* go wash our hands. i certainly won't wash the guts off my hands to shake your hand & go back to touching the food. . . that would be gross, i don't know where your hands have been. and since my building is mixed-use, i know that office workers often don't wash their hands after using the ladies'. they certainly don't wash the way kitchen staff are trained to do. paula deen and her ilk on food network, with their bling rings, long fingernails, and nail polish? and no aprons or head coverings touching the food with their dirty mitts and licking it off? guess what? they'd flunk a health inspection. i personally can't even watch.

                                          i have no idea if tyler f. has ever had the british version of a food handlers' certification or not. he lost all his cred anyway when he endorsed applebees. touching food with clean, bare hands is how great food is created. touching food with bare dirty hands, or gloved dirty hands, or cross-contaminating, isn't cool no matter how famous you are.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                            Good point about the gloves. People act like gloves are like Superman's cape. Some think gloves make everything safe. 'Well he was clearing the sink right before he made my sandwich...but he had on gloves so it's okay.'

                                          2. And here is another thought! People shed skin and hair continuously. I, myself, have hair (like most human mammals do) on my arms. I can't tell you how many times I have seen food preparation on TV shows that show handlers sticking their arms deep into some sort of food mixture. Doughs, batters, candies.....haaaa.

                                            1 Reply