30 June 2010

Friendly restaurants for difficult eaters

| local-loner
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Hi,

I know restaurant recommendations have been asked for in the past but I’m looking for something specific. I’m planning a birthday dinner for a group with a wide range of dietary requirements, including a few of my own. I’m after suggestions for restaurants that are good at catering to a wide range of dietary requirements. This doesn’t just meant ones that have vegetarian and gluten free options on the menu (although that is definitely important) but also restaurants that are flexible at adapting menu items for specific requests.

I’m particularly keen on finding places where the wait staff are knowledgable about what is in the food or willing to go and ask the chef. I’ve had some wait staff tell me something cannot be done in the past and when I’ve asked if they could perhaps ask the chef to suggest an alternative that meets requirements then they have come back and suggested exactly what I asked for in the first place. I got a yummy meal in the end but the attitude of the wait staff and the restaurant in general to be accommodating is what I’m really after.

Thank you for your help.

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Hi, I recommend Wagamama in Civic. They serve vegan asian foods and many of the dishes are based around rice so there’s no gluten. I also highly recommend Satis in Watson. They serve some great vegan meals only their opening hours are kind of limited. There’s also a great Sri Chinmoy cafe in Dickson that serves vegan meals, many with rice so they’re also gluten free. For dinner though, I think Wagamama would be the way to go.

Can I just say that I support your cause completely and I’m really disgusted by the amount of completely intolerant (excuse the pun) people on this forum. Have some compassion for goodness sake! For your fellow human beings and the animals that suffered in order for you to stuff your overweight body (more than 50% of the population by the way) with completely unnecessary foods for your own gustatory gratification.

pajs said :

I can recommend Rubicon as very good at handling food issues. I have had them adapt dishes to suit several different sets of issues in a mixed group, including the tricky combination of someone who cannot eat dairy and gluten.

Last time I went to Rubicon they “adapted” the salad to vegan by sending out a bowl of lettuce.

The best service I’ve ever had for a large group with complex requirements was at Ottoman. They take a great deal of pride in their work.

To those of you hospitality workers who are willing to be abusive to a customer with special requirements, bear in mind that vilification on the basis of religion or disability can be a serious crime and your employer may be liable.

I have to say I am VERY impressed with your creative responses! As a vegetarian, and a waitress I should be able to see both sides of the argument. However, people like me, are a pain in the butt. Do the research yourself, and don’t be lazy. Don’t ever offend a chef by trying to change what they have put on the menu- so much work goes into creating those meals and they actually know what “works” better than you! Maybe allergies are a “survival of the fittest” thing, we didn’t evolve into these wonderful creatures by accident! I say, try cooking your own meal. People will be far more impressed with cullinary skills, than your choice in restaurant.

grumpmachine said :

The reality is the human genome is rapidly evolving in relation to food

grumpmachine said :

Furthermore, Darwin’s term ‘survival of the fittest’ is generally miquoted by numerous bigots. It actually means, have you reproduced? Has your genetic map been passed on? If so, you are the fittest. It’s nothing to do with your actual health

How is the human genome “rapidly evolving” when any two bozos can (and often do) mate and reproduce without any of the selective pressures of a more difficult time.

Or, to put it another way, how are we rapidly evolving when 95% of us live well and truly past the time after which we reproduce successfully?

These seem to be two fairly conflicting statements.

If food or poor food choices are strong selective pressures (strong enough to change the genome of large human populations) then people who chose to utilise these foods will not be around, not live long enough, to reproduce and will not pass on their genes to the next generation.

This is clearly not the case. Things like lactose intolerance may make life very uncomfortable for someone, it does not, however, stop people from living to an age where they are able to reproduce successfully.

Anaphylactic shock and things requiring an epi-pen are something different. But the mere fact that we as a society have provided these sorts of people with epi-pens means that we as a population will not “evolve” to adapt to anaphylaxis – it may end up quite the contrary – we may, through a process called random genetic drift, actually promote more the existance of more people prone to anaphylaxic reactions (it’s just as likely to not do this but it may happen nonetheless)

just my two cents…

(at 11pm on a wednesday…)

And here is the nutshell (sorry) of what the NSW Gov says:

“If the staff can’t answer your questions or don’t seem certain, it’s better to order something else or eat elsewhere.”

If you going to die eating a nut, would you really place your life in the hands of a snotty nosed part time staffress?

grumpmachine6:48 pm 07 Jul 10

What the irate respondents have revealed is a total lack of scientific knowledge. The lactase gene evolved in specific population groups as recently as 10,000 years ago, and further research is investigating the possibility of genetic therapy via diet. The reality is the human genome is rapidly evolving in relation to food (this is not surprising given the roaming ways of humanity). Why some people develop allergies is probably related to complex genetic evolution.

Furthermore, Darwin’s term ‘survival of the fittest’ is generally miquoted by numerous bigots. It actually means, have you reproduced? Has your genetic map been passed on? If so, you are the fittest. It’s nothing to do with your actual health.

It’s been fascinating to see how abusive people become about food. I’m sure most people with food allergies would rather not have them.

OK. In relation to food allergens it is a requirement of food law in the ACT (and all over Australia) for information to be available to the customer on request. Check out http://www.foodstandards.gov.au – which will give info on what the obligations are in relation to allergens etc.

Also, this is a good enough run down on the ins and outs of allergens and the law and how it relates to eateries – and some commonsense tips:

http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers/problems-with-food/allergy-and-intolerance/

Yes, I know this is about NSW but the Food Standards Code in relation to allergen declarations is Australia wide and the regulatory points on allergens are good for the ACT.

In terms of picky eaters – well, there is no obligation for a restaurant to cater for what is in effect a lifestyle/philosophical choice. Nor do I believe there is an automatic entitlement or expectation that a restaurant should cater for every exigency. A restaurant is a business and menus and so forth are reflective of the business needs to which it caters. If there was good money in catering for fussy eaters I guess we’d see Yellow Pages ads for such places. Best advice would be to ring around.

One issue I’ve had is where you THINK a restaurant has listed all the ingredients say in a salad (because what they’ve written is mighty long) and it comes out covered in cheese or sauce or extras like croutons/bread that play havoc with people with allergies and intolerances.

Wow. I can’t believe I actually agree with the trolls.

It’s not that I don’t understand the allergy issue or the embarrassment of having to ask for modifications to a meal (why doesn’t anyone understand ‘over hard’ when everyone knows what ‘over easy’ means when it comes to fried eggs?!? It’s not difficult; I just don’t want runny yolks!) but to round up a bunch of people all with different allergies and then hope to find somewhere to accommodate them all at once just sounds retarded! Surely this would be a perfect opportunity to show off your culinary skills in a bake-off instead?

It’s not about a chef’s ego; it’s about managing a business efficiently. They spend all of their non-service time prepping ingredients and portioning out …. well… portions so that come service time they can make meals identically and as fast as they can so that even though it would take a patron an hour and a half to make it at home that same patron doesn’t complain when it takes the restaurant more than 20mins to bring it to them.

Don’t be afraid of the telephone Local-Loner; calling them to discuss your needs well in advance is the only way you won’t piss off the restaurant’s kitchen

Mr Evil said :

So what happens if little Magenta or Tristan walks out of the school grounds and touches a railing that just happens to have a slight trace of peanut butter on it – all because some selfish, uncaring, free-ranging peanut butter sandwich eating monster happened to wipe their face with their bare hand????

Actually, in extreme cases, their parents carry epi-pens everywhere. In extreme cases, the kids are banned from touching anything like handrails. If they try eating at a public place like a food court, the parents get out the baby wipes and wipe down the tables and chairs before letting the child sit down and eat. They have to take their own food (for the child) anyway because of the danger of cross-contaminatin. They try to do all this quietly, so the likes of you won’t start screaming abuse.

At school you can’t rely on baby wipes and the teachers all knowing how to use an epi-pen or having on one hand all the time. They should, but they don’t. Then if they use it, they might accidentally stab themselves and waste the shot altogether.

Unless you have a TV show

johnny_the_knife6:17 pm 03 Jul 10

forgoodnessake said :

Basically yes. Allergies that are life thereatening are completely different to people who are just fussy and annoying eaters. You go to a restaurant to try new things and the chef goes to a lot of trouble to plan a dish. Eat what is there, or if you don’t like something in the dish, pick something else.

I don’t always go to a restaurant to try new things – often I go to a restaurant to conduct business, or to socialise. As a matter a course, I generally don’t eat grains, and minimise my instake of starch and added sugar (by choice). When eating out, I’ll usually ask that the mashed potato/rice/other food I don’t want to eat be replaced with some extra vegies or salad. Never once has this been an issue at any establishment I have visited both in the ACT and interstate.

The chef may have gone to a lot of trouble to plan a dish, but that doesn’t mean it will suit everyone, and doesn’t mean it’s set in stone.

The restaurant is there to serve it’s customers, not it’s chefs ego.

Pandy said :

In my day going to primary school, children did not have allergies. Or else they had died off. shrug

I’ve often wondered about this myself. When I went to school you could buy a honey sandwich or a chocolate with nuts from the tuckshop and on occasion myself and other kids brought nutella type spreads to school for lunch.

I don’t recall seeing piles of dead and dieing students cluttering up the playground.

What has happened to make this so common?

Is it that kids today are just soft and pathetic?

I think you’ll find high allergy kids are different from the past in still being alive.

urchin said :

i think that some issues people obviously don’t understand regarding (esp nut) allergies at school are:

some kids can have a severe reaction even if they don’t ingest the substance. so if a kid, as a kid does, gets peanut butter all over his face, wipes his face with his hand and touches the railing of the ladder going up the slide, touching that remainder of peanut butter can be enough to set off a reaction in a child with a severe nut allergy.

That has to be the most retarded thing that I have read on this site!

So what happens if little Magenta or Tristan walks out of the school grounds and touches a railing that just happens to have a slight trace of peanut butter on it – all because some selfish, uncaring, free-ranging peanut butter sandwich eating monster happened to wipe their face with their bare hand????

Quick, lets ban Peanut Butter from being eaten anywhere!

Hey Golden Shower, thou shalst not take JB name in vain. If this were Thailand, you would be jailed.

Back off topic:

In my day going to primary school, children did not have allergies. Or else they had died off. shrug

His Golden Peeness1:10 am 03 Jul 10

Hope this new govt doesnt introduce any anti-whinging legislation…then most of you might have to keep talking to yourselves without posting it here.
Hey, why dont you gutless wonders go after johnboy for going with this thread, if its so bloody damn frivolous?!

Clown Killer said :

The ‘policy’ will last as long as the 1st law suit, where one of the questions will be ‘why is your school so different that you don’t ban these food types’?

It’s a policy that’s been around a while (well over a decade) and one developed with the input of all manner of folk so much smarter than you or I. My instinct says it would be a robust defence against litigation simply because it is a well articulated policy as opposed to the norm which isn’t a policy at all simply an unenforceable ban.

The reality is that bans simply don’t work, and if things went pear shaped for a kid with food allergies in a school with bans – you’d have buckley’s pinning liability on anyone but the Education Department or the school board (in the case of private schools) and what would their defence be “We had a ban on peanut butter …” which is tantamount to saying “We did fu@k all” and we’re exposed as hell …

Get the school to run with that line and see how they go when the inevitable happens and every other school bar them has a policy to the contrary.

Because something is ‘well articulated’ means eff all

i think that some issues people obviously don’t understand regarding (esp nut) allergies at school are:

some kids can have a severe reaction even if they don’t ingest the substance. so if a kid, as a kid does, gets peanut butter all over his face, wipes his face with his hand and touches the railing of the ladder going up the slide, touching that remainder of peanut butter can be enough to set off a reaction in a child with a severe nut allergy.

so let’s separate the restaurant issue from the school issue. unless you advocate keeping kids with food allergies locked up at home so little jimmy can have pb&j for lunch (perhaps the parents should expand their culinary repertoire).

as far as restaurants go… where was the OP demanding that all restaurants meet his/her dietary needs? as i recall the OP was asking for places that are good at handling those requests. if they are good at handling them, presumably they aren’t mortally offended when someone says “hey i’m allergic to xyz, could you avoid sprinking my dish with those things please?”

nor are all food allergies mortal. sometimes it means an unpleasant night on the toilet or a rash.

if you don’t have any recommendations, why are you pissing on people’s heads? are you a footballer? b/c last time i checked only footballers were allowed to do that…

someone asked for a restaurant recommendation that could handle their specific needs. what, specifically, do you find so offensive about that?

now i’m back to the mines.

Woody Mann-Caruso6:46 pm 02 Jul 10

respect a chef’s menu

What’s to respect?

“Does this have egg in it?”
“WHO ARE YOU TO QUESTION MIGHTY CHEF? It’s not like anybody with a year 10 certificate can learn to do what I do!”

the integrity of his art

*snort*

Oh, and nice circle jerk, by the way. Nobody could ever call any of you insecure. You sure showed that hippy who’s in charge with your macho posturing. Remember – it’s not gay if you have a beer in your other hand.

la mente torbida said :

Loner,
if you want the ultimate in vitriol, admit you ride a bike as well.

A recumbent bicycle even … while wearing lycra … in a brigade … and the lycra-clad brigade spend all their time riding over pedestrian crossings WITHOUT DISMOUNTING (the horror … the horror).

Back OT – Rock Salt would be worth a look. They advertise that they have options for vegetarians, gluten-free, blah blah, and they’re expensive enough to go to the trouble of catering for difficult groups.

la mente torbida2:04 pm 02 Jul 10

Loner,
if you want the ultimate in vitriol, admit you ride a bike as well.

I think you should cook at home.

Actually, we’ve managed to do large, difficult groups at quite a few places around town. The trick is to avoid Thursday-Sunday and be ever-so-nice to the staff when you phone.

I come from a family of weaklings, we would be on a food free diet if you put all our allergies into one person. No, hold that, that sucker would be dead. But we still manage a good night out at the pub. No one is allergic to steak.

Clown Killer11:01 am 02 Jul 10

The ‘policy’ will last as long as the 1st law suit, where one of the questions will be ‘why is your school so different that you don’t ban these food types’?

It’s a policy that’s been around a while (well over a decade) and one developed with the input of all manner of folk so much smarter than you or I. My instinct says it would be a robust defence against litigation simply because it is a well articulated policy as opposed to the norm which isn’t a policy at all simply an unenforceable ban.

The reality is that bans simply don’t work, and if things went pear shaped for a kid with food allergies in a school with bans – you’d have buckley’s pinning liability on anyone but the Education Department or the school board (in the case of private schools) and what would their defence be “We had a ban on peanut butter …” which is tantamount to saying “We did fu@k all” and we’re exposed as hell …

Loner, if it was just you that had a problem fine. But a whole group? And in Canberra?

If you expect a chef to really understand, let me tell you a story when I went to dinner with a vegetarian. She (usually a she right?) asked for fryed vegies and the friendly chef said sure no problem. “But do you cook in the same oil that meat has been fried in?”; “It has no meat pieces, so OK”.

Good luck on your search.

I can recommend Rubicon as very good at handling food issues. I have had them adapt dishes to suit several different sets of issues in a mixed group, including the tricky combination of someone who cannot eat dairy and gluten.

I’m amazed at how one mention of allergies and a simple request for recommendations of restaurants that are happy to be accommodating can end with so much hate for people with medical conditions. Maybe it was my use of the term ‘friendly’ which was not intended to mean that some restaurants are unfriendly, I am quite respectful of the fact that it is well within a restaurants rights to say no alterations and refuse to serve people at risk of anaphylaxis (I’m not but if you read the online blogs this is becoming more common). The word ‘friendly’ came to me from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Friendly Food Cookbook which is a great book and was also recommended to me by a fully qualified dietitian as well as an immunologist who has helped me a lot – no I am not self diagnosed!

I don’t understand the hate that I’m seeing, all I wanted was to hear about people’s good experiences just like people ask when they want other recommendations for good dumplings or something like that. For example, Pulp Kitchen in Ainslie I know is very accommodating if you call them in advance and explain the situation. I’ve had mixed experiences with La Scala depending on the wait staff – some very good others need you to suggest that maybe they could check with the chef.

I eat out so rarely that I’m looking for where to start calling. It is also useful to have other recommendations on hand for when things like work lunches come up and people are discussing restaurant options. If I can have a few ideas of where may be good then I’m less likely to have to embarass myself by going somewhere and not eating or just having bread. This tends to make people feel uncomfortable about the fact that I’m not really eating with them.

For those of you out there resentful to people like me, please don’t be, if you look at the online blogs you will see plenty of ranting about where not to eat and bad experiences, I’m trying to come at this from a positive angle. You will also see that there are many books explaining pointers on how to eat out when social obligations arise and they all tend towards an understanding that being the difficult customer who has to ask lots of questions is actually embarrassing not something that comes out of a superior attitude.

local-loner said :

Finally in response to all of you that think that I should stay at home because I have food allergies… do you understand that this is not a choice! My name isn’t ‘local-loner’ for no reason, it is because I find social outings often diffucult where food is involved and sometimes have to decline invitations if they are to restaurants where I would not be able to eat.

As one of the initial posters in this thread, Id like to clarify a thought. I have no issue with customers asking for special changes to their meals in one-off situations. The problem I see here is that youre not just looking for a restaurant to cater to one or two minor changes, but that you appear to be looking for a restaurant where every dish will need to be changed, to cater for your party. As others have said, if you want this flexibility in changing your food order, goto maccas or dominos.

local-loner said :

And, for the record, one of my vegetarian friends is that way for religious reasons, for a hindu she is actually quite flexible in her beliefs – do you think she should be declined the option of eating out?

Very few restaurants these days dont cater for more common dietary requests, such as vegetarian/vegan meals, but if your Hindu friend decides to goto the ‘cook your own steak’ night at the pub, she cant really claim shes being denied the option of eatting out, due to her choice. Maybe what you should be looking for is a restaurant with a wide/extensive menu, rather than one which will let you make numerous changes, you might have more luck.

Bah! Urchins should be working in the mines and not heard.

Clown Killer said :

OMG what school !?

Canberra Girls Grammar.

The ‘policy’ will last as long as the 1st law suit, where one of the questions will be ‘why is your school so different that you don’t ban these food types’?

Holden Caulfield – DIX POINTS! Well done, that was awesome.

Jim Jones – Wrong. The fussy idiots were rife in the mid-eighties when I worked in a kitchen.

PostalGeek – I completeley disagree! In my opinion, thease cooking shows are teaching people to respect a chef’s menu. Or at least giving them an awareness of what it’s all about.

Thoroughly Smashed – He was a good, creative chef who actually gave a shit about the integrity of his art. The fussy idiots were quite clearly the philistinic arseholes in the story.

Clown Killer – Thanks, you’ve given me yet another reason for regretting the fact I cannot afford to send my children to CGS. As it is, one of my daughters who out of school lives on peanut-butter sandwiches is constrained by fussy idiots with imaginary allergies from taking her food of choice to school for lunch. Fascist control-freakery at work.

Clown Killer8:17 pm 01 Jul 10

it is admirable how calmly and coolly ck and others are able to dismiss the discomfort of others. it takes a brave soul to be so self-centred.
as far as chef’s putting so much energy into their menu that they ought not be bothered by their customer’s requests… erm… who is paying who at these restaurants? “stfu and eat what you are given” is probably not going to be a real winner when it comes to building a loyal group of regular customers.
grats to you guys for showing the world just how rude and self-centred canberrans can be. keep up the good work!

Urchin, I don’t at all believe that this is about being self-centred or rude. I will admit to be speaking form the luxury of having only two allergies: hard work and taxes … but that doesn’t detract from the points that I raise – and that is, if you suffer from a potentially fatal condition it is madness to leave decisions about how you take responsibility for managing that in the hands of complete strangers. Why should you expect to be able to move responsibility (and potentially liability) for that from yourself (who has complete control, is informed of the risks and aware of the potential outcomes) to someone who has no knowledge of those things. It’s simply nonsensical.

We live in a free world. Nobody is forced to give patronage to an establishment that they are not completely comfortable with … on the other side of the equation, no business should be forced to try and accommodate all the possible permutations of need and desire that the market will throw up. If a restaurant want’s to strive to meet the needs of the nut averse or the gluten intolerant then all power to them, but if they don’t they don’t and that’s their choice. Sure the customer pays, but the restaurant is the one putting its wares on offer – it is up to the customer to decide whether or not those wares are suitable, they are the ones with absolute discretion as to whether or not they pay for those services. So you will have to accept my apologies for turning your derision back upon you – I cant actually believe how selfish and rude some Canberran’s can be – expecting restaurateurs to bend over backwards to meet their special needs and desires.

Pommy bastard7:04 pm 01 Jul 10

Local-Loner, would you like some dairy free, organic, cholesterol free, non gluten cheese to go with that whine?

You gather a bunch of people together by the common bond of being “intolerant to” or “allergic to” a random collection of foods, garnish with vegans and vegetarians and other fussy eaters, and then ask for restaurant options?

Wait no, you ask for restaurant options which are prepared to alter their menu to suit your multi-faceted needs, and also ask that they have staff who will, in a nice way, put up with your buggering them about…

You then wonder why people take the mickey, sorry, give you a never ending torrent of abuse, (which you just prolonged by whining).

By the way, why did not “not want to make too many phone calls” are your “poor genetics” hypersensitive to phones or have you been diagnosed as phone call intolerant?

it is admirable how calmly and coolly ck and others are able to dismiss the discomfort of others. it takes a brave soul to be so self-centred.

as far as chef’s putting so much energy into their menu that they ought not be bothered by their customer’s requests… erm… who is paying who at these restaurants? “stfu and eat what you are given” is probably not going to be a real winner when it comes to building a loyal group of regular customers.

grats to you guys for showing the world just how rude and self-centred canberrans can be. keep up the good work!

Clown Killer3:56 pm 01 Jul 10

OMG what school !?

Canberra Girls Grammar.

Holden Caulfield3:53 pm 01 Jul 10

Genie said :

I cant send Nutella, Peanut Butter OR Honey to school.

And here I was thinking the names Frank Zappa gave his kids were odd.

Thoroughly Smashed said :

Okay, but what does it have to do with that TBL blog post?

If you run a restaurant you have no clue if your customer is a hypochondriac bogan or someone with a genuine medical condition.

In addition, I have encountered more than one person who has told me that allergies aren’t real, and if people would just suck it up and try the shellfish they’d be OK, really. There can’t be many people here quite that idiotic, but you never know.

I posted it more in response to our self-diagnosed coeliac above.

Clown Killer said :

As an aside, one of the things I like most about my daughters school is that they have no restrictions whatsoever on what your children can bring to school in their lunches. Put simply, if your kids got a life threatening food allergy, then they need to take responsibility for managing that.

OMG what school !?

I cant send Nutella, Peanut Butter OR Honey to school.

Thoroughly Smashed1:59 pm 01 Jul 10

random said :

johnboy said :

Spurious Allergies

If I come into your restaurant and tell you that I am eating with someone who will suffer a fatal anaphylactic reaction if their food has an egg in it, I am not making it up.

Okay, but what does it have to do with that TBL blog post?

Clown Killer1:34 pm 01 Jul 10

If I come into your restaurant and tell you that I am eating with someone who will suffer a fatal anaphylactic reaction if their food has an egg in it, I am not making it up.

If people are going to die if they eat egg (or anything else for that matter), then the only people who should be responsible for what they eat is themselves. Hell, if I had a condition like that there is no way that I would trust some stranger with my life.

As an aside, one of the things I like most about my daughters school is that they have no restrictions whatsoever on what your children can bring to school in their lunches. Put simply, if your kids got a life threatening food allergy, then they need to take responsibility for managing that.

Why does everyone want recommendations now because they are too lazy to make a few phone calls ??

Most restaurants these days cater for most allergies and fussy eaters.
Ive always managed to find something on a menu to cater my allergies

Perhaps if you specified your level of fussiness people would be more helpful !

First of all I would like to thank the one person who actually answered my question and recommended Augbergine. Secondly, thanks to the others for the advice in the calling first etc, I’ve done that but I was really hoping to avoid having to make too many phone calls by getting the recommendations.

Finally in response to all of you that think that I should stay at home because I have food allergies… do you understand that this is not a choice! My name isn’t ‘local-loner’ for no reason, it is because I find social outings often diffucult where food is involved and sometimes have to decline invitations if they are to restaurants where I would not be able to eat. Lots of people like to eat out as a social thing and restaurants have the option of simply saying no changes to their menu which I respect and simply do not eat there. What I was really hoping was not to receive a never ending torrent of abuse about my poor genetics but to get some useful recommendations of flexible restaurants. The reason I have so many friends with dietary issues is that we tend to group together because we are understanding of other people’s medical conditions etc.

And, for the record, one of my vegetarian friends is that way for religious reasons, for a hindu she is actually quite flexible in her beliefs – do you think she should be declined the option of eating out? I personally am not picky, I will eat anything and everything that does not make me sick. The only truely picky adults I’ve ever met are the ones that will not touch a meal if there is a green vegetable in it… but somehow they are catered for in lots of menus.

johnboy said :

Spurious Allergies

If I come into your restaurant and tell you that I am eating with someone who will suffer a fatal anaphylactic reaction if their food has an egg in it, I am not making it up.

Too much trouble is not having any customers at all.

Thoroughly Smashed11:46 am 01 Jul 10

CraigT said :

I worked in a Restaurant many years ago and the chef used to deal with fussy idiots in one of two ways, depending on his mood:

Method#1: “Chef is happy” – comply with fussy idiot request and then ad an extra special ingredient.

Method#2: “Chef is cranky” – grab biggest knife in kitchen then stomp up to the floor and berate the fussy idiot in no uncertain terms over their ignorance, philistinism, stupidity, and also for being ugly and stupid.

I have never understood why some people visit a restaurant when they don’t actually want what’s on the menu. I figure it’s some kind of psychological power-game or control freakery.

Were these major alterations to the dishes, or was he simply a terrible chef in addition to being an arsehole?

In all honesty, groups like yours are a restaurant’s nightmare.

Die Lefty Scum11:34 am 01 Jul 10

If I were you Local-loner I wouldn’t bother, unless of course you like having your meal spat in by the chef.

I blame the rise of wanky cooking shows. Pedantry is promoted and food is apparently a ‘journey’ now. We need a jolly good famine to bring a lot of people back to earth.

SolarPowered said :

When did everyone get so darned fussy?

mid 1990s

la mente torbida10:10 am 01 Jul 10

@cleo

If you are one of them, do yourself a favour… educate yourself about your conditions and, as a by-product, you’ll learn to spell the conditions correctly.

forgoodnessake9:34 am 01 Jul 10

johnny_the_knife said :

forgoodnessake said :

having said that, if there are picky eaters they can get stuffed. They make it harder for people who enjoy eating out and have genuine allergies that can be fatal.

So your ‘special need’ should be catered for and mine shouldn’t just because mine is by choice?

Basically yes. Allergies that are life thereatening are completely different to people who are just fussy and annoying eaters. You go to a restaurant to try new things and the chef goes to a lot of trouble to plan a dish. Eat what is there, or if you don’t like something in the dish, pick something else.

colourful sydney racing identity9:06 am 01 Jul 10

Pandy said :

Darwins Theory at work Dazzlar. Get over it.

Even for an appalling troll like yourself that is going too far.

Book in advance, speak to the owner about a specific menu and aim to do the meal outside of peak times and you will be ok.

I worked in a Restaurant many years ago and the chef used to deal with fussy idiots in one of two ways, depending on his mood:

Method#1: “Chef is happy” – comply with fussy idiot request and then ad an extra special ingredient.

Method#2: “Chef is cranky” – grab biggest knife in kitchen then stomp up to the floor and berate the fussy idiot in no uncertain terms over their ignorance, philistinism, stupidity, and also for being ugly and stupid.

I have never understood why some people visit a restaurant when they don’t actually want what’s on the menu. I figure it’s some kind of psychological power-game or control freakery.

Eyeball In A Quart Jar Of Snot1:17 am 01 Jul 10

I believe this thread clearly supports the the typical Canberra attitudes brought up elsewhere on this site in response as to why Canberrans are such terrible drivers.

Maybe the strings are being pulled from Mt Ainslie?

I can understand people who have problems with certain foods, as I’m one of them, eg: all shellfish, am lactose intolerance, I also suspect that I have cecilac desease, I not a vegan or vegiterian, it’s really annoying when someone decides not to eat certain foods when there is nothing wrong with them, and won’t eat food cooked in a microwavem, I know some people don’t eat meat as it makes them feel ill, thinking about eating an animal, far enough!

Darwins Theory at work Dazzlar. Get over it.

Pandy I take offense to what you’ve written. If you had such conditions then you wouldn’t be so quick to write your *witty* comments.

We’re part way through investigating our 18 month old son’s medical conditions and believe me it is no laughing matter to watch him endure blood test after blood test and watch him lose weight when his peers are thriving! These conditions are not a “choice” but often what genetics have dealt you!

McDonalds.
They have meat, fish and vegetarian options.
The chef will even modify dishes for you, such as removing the pickle from your meal.

georgesgenitals7:00 pm 30 Jun 10

Cater it at home. The results will be much better.

Feed the vegetarians and glutenphobic people to the meat lovers. Problem solved!!!

And oh serve the peanut intolerant (succulent) youngsters as an entree. [Licks lips]

Clown Killer6:44 pm 30 Jun 10

We’d also like a plate of raw snails, not to eat, but to race.

Pommy, tears were rolling down my cheeks by the time I got that far … pure gold.

troll-sniffer5:53 pm 30 Jun 10

All I can say is praise be the lord that my folks made me eat what was on my plate and gave me a good clip over the ear and a lecture on Biafrans if I turned my nose up at anything Mum had spent the time to cook.

This post is entirely symptomatic of the me generation’s attitude brought about by well-meaning but ultimately misguided parents who are too afraid to say no to their little darlings.

SolarPowered5:40 pm 30 Jun 10

When did everyone get so darned fussy?

Pommy bastard5:30 pm 30 Jun 10

“Good evening, my name’s Local-Loner, is that the Good Dinner Restaurant? I’m trying to book a dinner party for 17 people, or possibly 23 or maybe 7. What do you have on your menu?

Well we don’t want that we want something else. Oh, we have one vegetarian, one vegan, one breatharian, one person who eats fish but no meat, one who eats meat but no fish, one who doesn’t eat at all. We have one who is cheese intolerant, one allergic to lettuce, one who is allergic to china plates, and a person who can only boiled wheat while facing Mecca.

Which direction do the fans in your restaurant revolve? Can they be reversed?

We’d also like a plate of raw snails, not to eat, but to race.

Is your wait staff trained in Senegalese? We don’t have any Senegalese people in our party, I was just asking.

Do they know how to grovel on their bellies while serving, and can we have a complementary boot lick off the Maitre D?

We will have no children in our party, apart from the seven we’re not inviting who may turn up.

Did I tell you that none of the dishes should be cooked any more than medium rare, apart from the lobster which we want flambéed and the vindaloo goose which should be stuffed with fruitarian omelettes.

Can we agree on 10 bucks a head ?

Hello? Hello? Hello!!!”

johnny_the_knife5:23 pm 30 Jun 10

forgoodnessake said :

having said that, if there are picky eaters they can get stuffed. They make it harder for people who enjoy eating out and have genuine allergies that can be fatal.

So your ‘special need’ should be catered for and mine shouldn’t just because mine is by choice?

johnny_the_knife5:22 pm 30 Jun 10

Clown Killer said :

Any half-decent establishment will have gone to a bit of trouble to develop their menu. The last thing that a chef should have to deal with is customers with a self-inflated sense of entitlement coming in and telling them they want something taken out, or something else cooked differently or the ingredients fiddled with.

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

And some people have dietry requirements/preferences that are outside the norm. In my experiance, most resteraunts have no problem modifying what goes on the plate to suit (I’m yet to come across one that isn’t).

sepi said :

The italian restaurant in Kaleen has the owner serving food also.

…and making oh-so-classy torn cardboard signs promoting his specials.

A Noisy Noise Annoys An Oyster5:16 pm 30 Jun 10

I would suggest you and your buddies stay home and not bother staff at eateries with your silly and annoying peccadilloes. People like you are an embuggerence resulting in higher prices and slower service for the rest of us. If you want to eat certain foods prepared in a particular way then I suggest you cook it yourself at home.

Clown Killer, totally agree

I’d also hope that the restaurant would charge extra for any changes that they make as it is a distraction from their set menu, especially so where most food these days is at the least in part prepared before hand.

I guess that it is a bit like someone ordering a skinny decafe latte, WTF!!

It also depends on your preferences – what type of restaurant you’re looking for? Casual or classy? What type of food eg Thai, Indian, Modern Australian, Vegetarian etc…?

My partner has some very specific dietary requirements, so often we will call a restaurant beforehand and talked directly to the chef before making a booking. More often than not, chefs can be pleasant enough and obliging. I’ve done this at Aubergine in Griffith on occasion.

Bottom line is, if you choose a decent restaurant early enough and advise them of your requirements, you should be able to find someone willing to create a menu to suit the fussiest people.

Clown Killer said :

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

+1 totally agree!

forgoodnessake3:58 pm 30 Jun 10

I have annoying food allergies and have never had a problem with any restaurant I have been to, even asian ones that always have things I can’t eat. Just ask and be polite about it, and always call in advance to make sure it won’t be a problem. Especially with a bunch of people who have issues.

No restaurant wants people keeling over from allergies. having said that, if there are picky eaters they can get stuffed. They make it harder for people who enjoy eating out and have genuine allergies that can be fatal.

And Dvay – why the hell shouldn’t people be allowed to enjoy an nice night out being catered for? Just because you have allergies doesn’t mean you should not be able to enjoy an night out.

dvaey said :

I remember in the old days, when if you wanted to have a party, especially a birthday party, youd find out what people liked, grabbed some recipes and put some effort in to cooking up something that everyone liked. Why does everyone have to go out to restaurants these days, is home-made food really that far gone in the ‘old days’?

If you want to know whats in the food, or want to make sure some item isnt in the food, then youre better off asking the chef, or as mentioned above (heaven forbid), cook foods yourself and dont add the unwanted ingredients.

+1

We’ve often done the Gluten free pizas and dairy free options with salads and suitable deserts.
Easy to prepare ahead of time, cook and plate up!

Clown Killer3:49 pm 30 Jun 10

Any half-decent establishment will have gone to a bit of trouble to develop their menu. The last thing that a chef should have to deal with is customers with a self-inflated sense of entitlement coming in and telling them they want something taken out, or something else cooked differently or the ingredients fiddled with.

It would be helpful if you could update us on how you went with finding a place – I’d be particularly interested in knowing who told you to get stuffed – establishments like that need to be encouraged and deserve patronage.

I guess a restaurant run by a family will be your best bet. Mee Sing in Lyneham used to have the owner serving the food, but that may have changed since she had a baby or two.

The italian restaurant in Kaleen has the owner serving food also.

Somewhere like that will be more likely to know the menu back to front than a bigger place where the teenage waiter is struggling to learn the menu, and wont’ deal with changes and additions.

I’m guessing if you want to mess with a kitchen’s menu, timing is everything. Disrupting their established work flow at peak periods probably won’t get you a good attitude anywhere.

I remember in the old days, when if you wanted to have a party, especially a birthday party, youd find out what people liked, grabbed some recipes and put some effort in to cooking up something that everyone liked. Why does everyone have to go out to restaurants these days, is home-made food really that far gone in the ‘old days’?

If you want to know whats in the food, or want to make sure some item isnt in the food, then youre better off asking the chef, or as mentioned above (heaven forbid), cook foods yourself and dont add the unwanted ingredients.

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