The New York Post is claiming that Mario Batali, one of the top chef's in New York City, has a clever way to deal with pesky health inspectors—a hidden alarm. The secret alarm reportedly "alerts kitchen workers that an inspector has arrived so they can quickly trash any meals they’re cooking and scram." It's like the Bat Signal.

It gets worse, or better depending on how you look at it:

A button at the hostess stand triggers a loud buzzer in the kitchen, said a Batali employee, and gives staff a chance to toss out what’s on the stove or in the oven and go on break before the inspector enters. Without meals or chefs, a kitchen is less likely to get nailed, since infractions often involve dishes being held at improper temperatures and food workers not following rules. Fines can top $5,000 per visit and result in a “B” or “C” grade."

Batali refused to comment, but his business partner Joe Bastianich dismissed the story. "You don’t have to throw away food. The rules are not that idiotic... It’s not something I would condone, " Bastianich said. Batali and Bastianich own nine restaurants, including Del Posto and Babbo.

An employee claims that it's policy to fire any manager whose restaurant doesn't earn an "A" from the Department of Health. No pressure, right?

[via Gothamist]