For most of us, our knowledge of what goes on in a restaurant health inspection comes from reality TV shows like "Kitchen Nightmares." We sit watching in horror when Chef Ramsay goes through the refrigerator pulling out rotten food from the shelves, running his finger through thick gobs of black goo at the bottom of filthy equipment, and gagging at the realization that he was just served spoiled garbage that was sure to result in food poisoning.

But is this really a reality?

The dining public puts a lot of trust in restaurants to serve us quality food that isn't going to make us sick - or worse - kill us. Some of us don't pay attention to health code ratings and fly blind, hoping for the best because we trust that the kitchen is doing their job right. Others check out the latest rating and refuse to patronize restaurants that fail to do well in their health inspections.

So, what do we as diners need to know about the details of the kitchen? And what do we really need to pay attention to in the published health inspection reports? I had the chance to meet with local restaurateur and sponsor Paul Michaelsen , co-owner from Matador Mexican Grill to get the owners side of the story and do a walk-through of their kitchen. I also had the chance to sit with Jim Devore, Environmental Health Specialist from the Larimer County Department of Health & Environment and Program Supervisor of the food safety specialists (aka - local health inspector) to get some answers on the science side of the topic...

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