Sep 28, 2013

What really happened at Barbecue Nation?

Do you like to eat? I bet you do. Food is fuel and food is fun. We all eat. There is not one person living on this planet who does not eat something.

I presently live in Chandigarh, Punjab and more than rest of India, food is serious business here. Extremely serious. The only thing people of Chandigarh take more seriously than food is drinks. Hard drinks. The liquor is cheap here. And people here like loud cars. They spend more on buying a VIP number for a car that costs half the amount they pay for that number. But back to the food. We love food. There are whole markets devoted to food. For a city that is as small as Chandigarh, there are at least 4-5 McDonalds, 4 KFC restaurants and a number of other food specific establishments. There are two Barbecue Nation restaurants here, one in Chandigarh, and one in Mohali.

A friend gave me the link to this news today.----

MOHALI/CHANDIGARH: As many as 27 persons, including four children, fell ill after consuming food at a swanky restaurant in phase-V on Thursday night. Three of the seriously ill have been admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in sector-32 in Chandigarh.

According to the police, 23 employees of an IT company in phase-VIII of Industrial Area went to Barbecue Nation restaurant in phase-V for snacks. Immediately after consuming the food, they started vomiting and a few of them lost consciousness.

Health officials also reached the spot and took samples of the food. They said that it appeared to be a case of food poisoning.

Back in 2009, I went with a colleague to BBQ Nation, Chandigarh and being out first visit there, we ate like normal Punjabis do. Which means, we ate like it was the last meal on earth and the whole planet was going to be swamped by zombies in the coming hour and we'll never see a shred of meat in our life ever again. Which means we ate a lot. And there was beer.

After a few hours of food-panthi, when we were sure that in case of an impending zombie apocalypse, we'd be able to survive on basis of the food we'd eaten that evening, we left the restaurant. My colleague stepped outside the restaurant, stumbled, and balanced himself by putting a hand on a parked car.

Then, he started to puke.

You might wanna skip the next few lines. Don't say I didn't warn you.

There is nothing beautiful about puking. It's gross. It should not happen to anyone. But this dude, he took puking to an extreme level. It was like a torrent (not the kind that we download) of all the meats that he had eaten. It was a multi-colored offering that stank like fuck and made people in his immediate vicinity shrink away in disgusted horror. A stray dog near him fainted and died instantly.

I think about that now and I can feel my bile rising. It was horrible. But then he stopped. Took another step and started to puke again. I was too drunk on food to notice that this was food poisoning, plain and simple. He puked four more times after that and looked noticeably weaker. Somehow, he reached home, and so did I. That was that. BBQ Nation has not changed in all those years it seems.

The problem with Barbecue Nation lies with the meat and the open fireplaces/roasting place/whatever the fuck they're called. Fine, the meat is prepared by the staff, but you can never tell the conditions in which it was prepared. The restaurant might have all the health certifications and inspections in order, but slip-ups happen. And when slip-ups happen, people fall sick. People who are your customers, and that's never a good thing for a business.

Conclusion: Food is as dangerous a business as war. And in the food business, the casualty is always the customer. Rarely, the establishment. I am not going to eat at BBQ Nation again, because thank you, I like my food to come out of the designated end only and I'd very much prefer it follows a one way path through my body.