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Zwiefel
08-27-2014, 07:12 PM
One of our esteemed members shared this article elsewhere and I thought it would be good conversation fodder:

http://onmilwaukee.com/dining/articles/trustthechef.html

I'm definitely sympathetic to this perspective with the **** I see some people doing at restaurants. My former FiL was a prime culprit. He didn't want to pay $1 more for the a la carte prices to get what he actually wanted, so he would order a combo special and request 6 different changes to it. embarrassed the **** out of me every single time and I needled him for it...usually in front of the waiter.

But, we also all have our own peccadillos. To give only 1 example, I cannot stand to mix sweet and savory...I've tried quite a few versions of it and I find it rather unpleasant..not unlike how unpleasant 95% of people find my level of chile preference! So I will request to have any honey/apple/pear/whatever glaze left off of my pork/fish...I will get a separate pizza if someone wants pineapple...etc.

I examine the menu carefully to see what appeals and what I could be happy with, while keeping any changes to 1 (very rarely, 2). In probably 20% of cases, my alternative would be to leave as every single menu item has something I find....whatever the opposite of appealing is, disappealing maybe. In the other cases, I would just have an experience that was sub-par and probably would end up not coming back. This also happens 2-3 times a year as I can't find anything that I'm comfortable with requesting the number of changes I would need to enjoy it.

I also see there being a difference between fine dining and a taco truck/burger joint/etc. on this question. I have generally found that fine dining restaurants tend offer something that I don't want to make changes to, or that it's done in a way that I can just ignore the part I find objectionable (sweet glaze served on the side, perhaps).

How do you guys feel? I put this in BOH, but I'm interested in everyone's thoughts.

jared08
08-27-2014, 09:24 PM
I have to disagree, as long as the chef composes in the proper way. I do enjoy peach or Apple with my pork, or sour cherry or raspberry with duck, aslong as the chef knows how to compose the flavors properly. Granted, a lot prolly cannot. Not to knock them, but it's a matter of maturing and understanding how to cook with the product you have. Not "going off" a concept or theory one has that sounds right, but truely understanding.

My 2*˘

panda
08-28-2014, 02:26 PM
kitchens HATE HATE HATE modifiers. order as it comes, or get something else!

Zwiefel
08-28-2014, 02:33 PM
kitchens HATE HATE HATE modifiers. order as it comes, or get something else!

Even if that means dining somewhere else?

panda
08-28-2014, 02:44 PM
yes, cant please everybody. rather have people who are going to really enjoy my food than try to cater to every palette out there.

Chuckles
08-28-2014, 04:29 PM
I find much easier to say no or get mad when the restaurant is a busy one. When the restaurant is half full it is very hard to play the 'my way or the highway' routine.

Additionally, my restaurant has a ton of business groups. Many of these diners are traveling. (This should sound familiar to you Danny!) When I get an order for three scallops and some grilled asparagus I try to picture someone that is forced to eat out 5 nights in a row and can sympathize with them not wanting to become obese. I figure they would order a protein shake if they could.

And I can picture what the owners of my company would say if they knew I was denying special requests. 'So they asked for a substitution. And you Could do it but you Didn't do it. And this is the HOSPITALITY business.'

It's not rocket surgery. Honor the special request but make them $$PAY$$ for it.

I like Panda's post about not catering to every palette out there. I just don't have control over the concept of my restaurant and catering to every palette definitely seems to be part of the scheme of my spot.

Lizzardborn
08-28-2014, 06:39 PM
On the question of trusting someone to do their job - one of my professors in engineering school once said to us:

"When I know what kind of engineers you will be, I am terrified to go to the doctor"

On the other hand, I also work in an industry where requirements change daily (the joys of IT) with management saying - "I know its not huge, can you replace "core functionality" with "3 months of programming for new stuff" by tomorrow. We already promised the customer", so I make my best to eat the dish as is. It is rare to find menu where every item is incompatible with my taste.

Just tell your FOH staff what kinds of requests are unacceptable. ******* up other customers orders and wasting everyone's time just to please a special snowflake is not good for business too.

rami_m
08-28-2014, 07:31 PM
I was tempted to troll this thread with some silly remarks around customers being always right or I know my taste buds better than the chef or some such rubbish. But on a serious note, I am an eastern Christian orthodox, that mean that for some times of the year I am either
A) vegan
B) vegan but allowed some fish.

I try to go for the vegan option but sometimes it's not possible. What do I do then. I can't walk to the back and explain to chef. I know people have an entitlement mentality these days but it's either change the dish or walk off.

JDA_NC
08-28-2014, 07:34 PM
I think there's a balance to strike.

If you're running a destination, chef-driven restaurant with accolades then sure, you can get away with saying that this is the menu you're going to receive and that's how it is (although many/most will be accommodating).

For 99% of the other restaurants that are out there, it's an on-going dialogue between guests and house. No one like it's when someone builds their own menu items (like your FiL - subbing 6 things etc), especially when it's busy, but part of our job/goal is to make people happy. Sometimes that involves dumb sh*t we don't agree with.

A lot of the cooks/chefs you'll see throwing hissy fits & declining simple things (butter pasta for kids - in an Italian restaurant - for example) just on 'principle alone', are simply sissy, egotistical pricks. And this profession/field has no shortage of those.

I've seen chefs put out absolutely horrible vegan/veg dishes just because the restaurant's food is fat/dairy & protein centric and it would take a bit of effort to throw together something decent. I think that's weak.

CoqaVin
08-28-2014, 10:06 PM
I think there's a balance to strike.

If you're running a destination, chef-driven restaurant with accolades then sure, you can get away with saying that this is the menu you're going to receive and that's how it is (although many/most will be accommodating).

For 99% of the other restaurants that are out there, it's an on-going dialogue between guests and house. No one like it's when someone builds their own menu items (like your FiL - subbing 6 things etc), especially when it's busy, but part of our job/goal is to make people happy. Sometimes that involves dumb sh*t we don't agree with.

A lot of the cooks/chefs you'll see throwing hissy fits & declining simple things (butter pasta for kids - in an Italian restaurant - for example) just on 'principle alone', are simply sissy, egotistical pricks. And this profession/field has no shortage of those.

I've seen chefs put out absolutely horrible vegan/veg dishes just because the restaurant's food is fat/dairy & protein centric and it would take a bit of effort to throw together something decent. I think that's weak.

Wow couldn't have said it better myself, everything you said was on point, especially when you said the egotistical sissy prick comment Right On brother right on

Chuckles
08-28-2014, 11:14 PM
Doing something well even when you don't want to do it.

A mark of professionalism in any field.

Salty dog
08-29-2014, 06:59 AM
I worked with Marty 20 years ago. He's still Chefing to.

Our mentor wouldn't do substitutions.

marc4pt0
08-29-2014, 07:18 AM
Read: well done steak. It's a terrible crime, but in the end the guy with the money paying for something he wants is usually correct.
And that's all it is to me. Hard to argue with a guest wanting to change up a couple things. There's a limit obviously, but it still bills down to the guest's stand point of "here's my money, which I want to give to YOU tonight in exchange for foods that I want. I chose you tonight, and clearly I have many choices but still chose you. You are a talented chef, right? You can make this vegan/well done steak/dairy free/gluten free dish, right? I'm trusting you. And by the way, did I mention that my money is just as green as everybody else's?"

I just suck it up and make it. Make it well. If my cooks or under chefs complain about it, I make a very quick point to share with the rest of the team that this cook/chef has a weeping vagina and can't cut the "stress". Sure, I don't mind the joking about special requests, some are just simply and stupidly outrageous, and deserve the jabbing. But I will for the most part make sure the request happens, and that the guest pays well for the extra service provided.

One exception-

To that lady out there who ordered the vegan omelet and explained to us (stupid us) that vegan just means healthy, duh- F*ck you.

Adirondack
08-29-2014, 09:14 AM
To that lady out there who ordered the vegan omelet and explained to us (stupid us) that vegan just means healthy, duh- F*ck you.

Vegan omelet? ***? Is that an egg dish made with parts of free range vegans?

From a non-chef:
I might ask for an ingredient to be left off (ie., hate avocados) but don't do substitutions unless I am asked if I want one.
I think part if it is education. I usually know enough to realize when an ingredient is integral or integrated into the dish. (Most NE clam chowder has bacon in it and they're not going to make me a separate serving without it. I'm not going to get paella that has no chicken unless there is also a seafood only version.)

I think serial substituters need to be educated (gently but firmly) about what is and isn't possible/realistic or they will feel free to keep doing it. Then again, some people don't want to be or feel they don't need to be educated.

Geo87
08-29-2014, 10:53 AM
I agree that it really depends on the restaurant. From a cooks perspective In a busy restaurant mods would be an absolute nightmare... They could actually screw up your entire night. Here's an example:
Saturday nights at a previous job we did 200 every week. all high end fine dining stuff. Wait time for mains during peak time is about 30-40 mins. If even one big table was allowed mods that would slow us down and we would start getting behind... Soon it would snowball and wait times would go past 40 mins and **** would hit the fan. It would be a horrible night. That's why that restaurant never allowed ANY mods.
Dietary requirements like Ramis are different and as long as they are mentioned at the booking completely fine.
On the contrary I love looking after people and making then happy if there's time. But sometimes in some restaurants there really isn't time!

labor of love
08-29-2014, 03:27 PM
Line cooks can be real babies sometimes. It literally takes 2 seconds to serve an item S.O.S. yet everytime we see that modifier someone complains about it. If youre a manager/chef, surely you realize you can sell some a vegan pasta dish for $20 that probably cost $1-3 to make, so why worry?

Exactly. At the end of the day, your paycheck isn't backed by the kitchen staff, but by the patrons.

CutFingers
08-29-2014, 05:55 PM
Leave the gallery if you don't like the art. People think substitutions are no big deal but it really holds up service. Last week we had a table of six come in....they were mentally handicapped. We had to puree the meals. This is something I can forgive. The woman who was working as a caregiver got to sit down for a good meal, and her patients drank every drop.

I think splitting entrees is annoying as all hell. I think asking for a dish without even trying it is downright rude. Sure we can suck it up to customers and do what they ask. But isn't part of being a culinary artist not selling out? Sure I'll do this, sure I'll do that...but at some point the special requests do detract from the other diners having to wait longer.

Our business is friendly to special requests. Most clients are not out of town tourists. But just down the street is a restaurant that does not do special requests. The menu is as it stands and for the most part they are booked solid for months.

Sure some arrogant chefs won't do butter noodles for kids...but the parents didn't have to bring junior if they weren't going to let him explore and discover what he does and does not like on his own.

Somebody told me that they ate at the famous French Laundry in wine country. They thought the food was not seasoned enough and asked for salt. They were hesitant to bring it, but they finally caved in.

On the bill was 14$ for salt...now that is pretty shallow.

Lizzardborn
08-29-2014, 07:38 PM
I think asking for a dish without even trying it is downright rude.

Can you explain what kind of situation is that? I really don't get it (English is second language, and I am not well versed in US dining etiquette).

Vesteroid
08-29-2014, 10:44 PM
From a very well traveled man...I live on the road, often 3 weeks at a time.

I manage my calories by portions and selections, not substitutions. I have asked for sauces or dressings on the side before, and if suppose every now and again just asked for a plate of veggies...whatever they had....but that's about the extent of it.

I personally can't stand sitting with someone who has to ask for a series of accommodations at each meal.

Of course I can't stand hearing people take 5 minutes to order a cup of coffee at Starbucks either lol....so maybe it's me.

panda
08-30-2014, 12:42 AM
combining components from 3 or more different dishes to create your own dish is a god **** Insult and flat out annoying. not to mention how the hell are you supposed to know what to charge?
what really irks me are the cheap asses that try to undermine the menu just to get stuff for less or free even. for example, asking to substitute a garnish for an entire side item. ok, but you're paying the full side upcharge. then there are people who complain and make things difficult just to try to get their meal comped (order well done everything, ***** that it's taking too long when its only been 15 minutes). to those people, i say i don't want your business.

modifiers are fine so long as they are reasonable and not slowing down service.

dough
08-30-2014, 12:22 PM
interesting topic. i think it depends what kind of restaurant and as has been mentioned how packed is the place. i certainly think we all think like panda... hell i sit down with my cooks/owners and menu plan... most dishes are run through some trail and error process... we come in early to prep said menu and sure some prep items that take a day, days or longer. so in that sense yes its a little disconcerting to have someone just sit down and pretend they are a chef or feel they are entitled to be the chef just because they spend x about of money at your place or any place or even dumber i just dont like how that sounds. plus im a firm believer you cant please all the people all the time and trying to in many ways diminishes your whole effort.

however got a soft spot for pleasing people and making them happy bc i know so well going out to eat with someone who is super picky or actually has an issue with what they can and cant eat but i cant tell you how nice it was to have a kitchen take care of us and ensure we had a nice time out. having a nice time out in those types of situations is not always easy to come by so sometimes their extra care makes all the difference in the world. btw i dont think the picky person really got the benefit... it was always me saying thank god this wasnt a fight and the food tastier because of it.

so with that said i definitely take the stance that if its possible we will do it. what annoys me most is when someone custom creates some dish and then they are disappointed. mind you i have zero problem with someone taking a chance on a dish and not liking it... well that happens thanks for trying and can we get you anything else on the fly but the alternative you asked me to put those things together that way. im gonna make you pay to fix your mistake and usually those types of people can afford to pay for their mistakes. i have also made people one off dishes had them come back in and not be able to do it in timely fashion or at all and had the customer tell me how infuriating it was to them. company reply to those types of people was to simply tell them to call ahead and let us know so we can assure you get what you want.

obviously we get our fair share of customers that like to pick and choose but we also serve 5 course dinners paired with wine and in those situations a lot of the same customers dont change a thing. i always think this goes into why is a person even going out to eat in the first place. obviously it serves different purposes.
i tend to go to places because i want to try what the chef is cooking. i want the chef to cook the food he planned on cooking not create some ridiculous chopped tv show type situation. to each their own though and gotta pay the bills.

marc4pt0
08-30-2014, 03:55 PM
I would never consider accommodating guests "selling out". I got a good chuckle reading that.
Working in the kitchen is hard. Some days harder than others. If something comes down the shoot making it more difficult, congrats- you're a cook. This is what you signed up for. Making the impossible possible.

TurdMuffin
11-20-2014, 02:42 PM
I think it's okay to ask for X to be left out if possible. I really, really don't enjoy tomatoes in most cases (on burgers, tacos, salads stuff like that) and I order items without them if i can, but I also understand when they can't reasonably be removed (chili with tomato chunks, marinara with chunks)

On the other hand, I don't think I've ever asked for X to be replaced with Y. Even before I wanted to get into this industry I always took the stance of "this is your restaurant, I chose to come here, if I don't want to play by your rules then that's my own fault"

Pensacola Tiger
11-22-2014, 12:29 PM
http://assets.amuniversal.com/1ebbc42050bb0132ae8d005056a9545d

Zwiefel
11-22-2014, 07:33 PM
Ha! Well-played Rick!


http://assets.amuniversal.com/1ebbc42050bb0132ae8d005056a9545d

Bonertyme
04-20-2015, 06:07 PM
modifier sucks… but as a chef, you do what your customer request. But i recommend trying everything first or ask for "very little"

bogeybrown
05-19-2015, 06:02 PM
I used to do the best I could under the circumstances (how swamped we were) without totally crashing a kitchen to please one person. However, if they made a sub that I KNEW was going to suck, I made sure that the server conveyed that to them. Classic example was a chick who wanted the whole-wheat pasta with a very delicate cream sauce. I explained that I'd gladly do it, but that we did not make that pairing ourselves because the wheat pasta could not "grab" the sauce, and the the bitterness of the pasta would overpower the sauce itself. She was insistent so we did it for her. We got it back after one bite and she wanted the menu version instead. I positively insisted that she be charged (a portion of) her experiment.

One of the biggest pains we ever had to pull off was an entree consisting of an entire speckled trout that was deep fried. The menu clearly stated "Whole fried fish". We send one out and FoH comes back with: "The customer didn't want bones in it." We are totally weeded but the caliber of that place demanded that we attempt to make the guest happy, so the Exec himself (the only set of free hands) de-boned the entire trout and sent the new dish out. We get it back again with "he thinks it looked better the way it was served before". No amount of common sense was going to get that guy to understand that we couldn't make it look like all the bones were still in it after he had us de-bone it.


I'd get pissed at some of the goofy crap, like "can you do the marinara without garlic?" or something along those lines, but where I would absolutely lose it was when I'd find out that a server was pimping our asses, as in: "If for some reason you don't see anything you like on the menu, I can have the chef do something special for you, no problem".

keithsaltydog
05-21-2015, 03:32 AM
Being told ahead of time about mods helps. At Kahala we would get return guests. Actually know ahead of time likes & dislikes. I like certain foods and spices. Some people cannot stand any spicy food at all. As a cook you know your tastes, however customers come in all kinds. As one of the posters said does not care for tomato's. I love tomato's. Was eating with one of my nephews he was pulling the tomatoes out of his sandwich.

We would get mods during in ala carte. Some of the banquet sheets border on :dazed: with the special requests

Adrian
05-21-2015, 05:07 AM
Most of us will see this from both sides. I own a fairly high end restaurant with limited covers, and I work the line when it suits me, but my real job is in the finance business. I can actually work as hard and fast as any of the other guys there and working with them teaches me a lot about how they react to customers. I am of course also a customer.

In the restaurant we serve a limited seasonal menu. We have no issues with simple substitutions - the pre-requisite being that the sub must be on the menu anyway. For example, my own hang up is I dislike mashed potato. I will ask for that to be substituted for any other form of starch that they have elsewhere on the menu (fries, saute, roast, whatever) and we will accommodate that kind of request gladly in the restaurant. We also respect that certain customers have bona fide allergies, and we will do our best to advise on alternative dishes that eliminate the risk. Our ethos is we are providing excellent customer service, and we will be as flexible as we can to accommodate customer desires as long as we have the ingredients and as long as the customer accepts that it may take us a while. Staff usually :happymug:see this as a constructive challenge and sometimes will go out and discuss the altered dish with the client. I guarantee you that client will be back and will recommend the restaurant to others.

I also think there is no harm in saying "no" to customers; what matters really is the way in which front of house staff do this. It needs to be reasoned, helpful and constructive. We train ours to understand the menu properly and be aware of the ingredients and what we can and cannot do to modify. There is almost never a time when we cannot at least offer one alternative.

However, it can be disruptive and I respect that when I am out. Hence for business or social, I tend only to go to places where I know they have stuff on the menu that I will like and will be happy to order unmodified. That said, I like almost every type of food and enjoy seeing combinations that others come up with! . The internet can help here in unfamiliar places. Chef's can be prima donnas and that is probably a media creation arising from the phenomenon of cheffy superstardom. I don't have much truck with that: as someone said earlier in this thread, we are in the hospitality business and should seek to achieve a sensible balance.

JohnnyChance
05-21-2015, 12:52 PM
It's easy to say, it's just a simple request, why would you get bent out of shape over a simple request? The problem is not your request, it's allllllll the ones before it. Sure, some are simple and straight forward. Some are weird, or difficult or downright gross. Some of them are traps or scams. For every simple and reasonable request there is a complicated and unreasonable one. Just be reasonable. Don't go crazy. Don't throw a temper tantrum when I can't make you an entire side out of a component of a different dish. Maybe I *gasp* need that for the dish it was designed to go on. Maybe you are a grown ass man and it's time start eating tomatoes, avocados and pears.

I believe this all stems from restaurants having too large of menus and trying to have something for everyone all the time. You just end up with too many items, lots of mediocrity and the things you do really well get lost in the chaos. Then starts the musical chairs of components. Just pick 8 dishes you make really fcking well and put those on your menu. I have gotten a lot less requests on smaller, more "restrictive" menus than on giant "please-all" menus. When people see a 45 item menu, I think they give up, say "I want this with x, y and z." Have a handful of items, make them approachable but interesting, people are more willing to be trusting.

keithsaltydog
05-22-2015, 06:39 PM
Keep the best selling items, ditch the ones that don't sell no matter how you feel about them. Seen too often Chefs or Food & Beverage managers that want to change everything on the menu, getting a lot of request for the best sellers that have been taken off. Not against trying new items you have to do that some will sell others will not.

panda
05-22-2015, 06:59 PM
well said JC. and might i add, you let one person get away with ridiculousness many more will follow suit. for example someone wants an entire side order of a GARNISH in which you get 3 more right after it and all of a sudden you are out of mise..

what really gets me are the people who do it because they are cheap. dont Fking go out to eat if you are a cheapskate and trying to get free shT! you don't deserve good food.

420layersofdank
12-05-2015, 03:46 PM
It's all about balance. Acidity, sweetness, saltiness, and fat balance is what separates a great dish from an amazing one. It shouldn't matter what you don't like bcuz at the end of the day you probably just had a really bad interpretation of whatever sweet and savory combination you tried. But to each his own

alwayssharp
12-13-2015, 02:26 AM
I don't mind modifiers, and they don't mind me upcharging...

But usually, a customer who knows me, will say, 'make me YOUR special'.

Chef_
04-23-2016, 10:08 PM
from my personal experience as a cook, modifiers are annoying because i have to run and grab things that arent on my mise en place, which can result in late checks if we're busy, so I wouldnt consider customers writing their own menu as harmless. It affects customers around them who are paying money just like they are to enjoy a great meal that comes out on time. Customers need to understand that they are a guest in the restaurants house, and Chefs need to look at the bigger picture and not just the quick buck they can make from pleasing a picky customer.

ecchef
04-24-2016, 03:27 AM
Customers need to understand that they are a guest in the restaurants house, and Chefs need to look at the bigger picture and not just the quick buck they can make from pleasing a picky customer.

:whistling: That's kind if hard core there, Chef. In this day of instant exposure, scrutiny and self-aggrandizement, you'd better be damn sure that the customer you're about to disappoint isn't going to be tweeting (or whatever) about it to 300 of his/her friends.

Yeah, sometimes mods suck and do f up service, but those 'quick bucks' add up at the end of the year.

malexthekid
04-24-2016, 07:04 AM
from my personal experience as a cook, modifiers are annoying because i have to run and grab things that arent on my mise en place, which can result in late checks if we're busy, so I wouldnt consider customers writing their own menu as harmless. It affects customers around them who are paying money just like they are to enjoy a great meal that comes out on time. Customers need to understand that they are a guest in the restaurants house, and Chefs need to look at the bigger picture and not just the quick buck they can make from pleasing a picky customer.

Gonna strongly disagree with you here. Not being a chef but a customer, I will, make a damn long consideration about requesting a change, but if I do it will be because I either can't eat some part of the menu, or it is something which I know will ruin what otherwise sounds like a delicious meal to me.

Now if the chef feels it is an integral item to the dish and lets me know that, then i will pick something else, but the we are a guest bullsh!t don't stand. I am the one dishing out the money to be there, now if you take the paying customer for granted, then that is at your own peril.

If you are cooking food like the Fat Duck, then sure I can agree, but then again, people go there for the specific menu with no changes. If you are a traditional ala carte menu, then it is just part and parcel of the deal sorry.

Do you then us enigneers enjoy having a client make changes halfway through a design, of course not, but it is par for the course, and we have to suck it up, where the cost and get the job done (most of the time).

Chef_
04-24-2016, 02:31 PM
Well if you have allergies, its understandable. Youre just trying to enjoy a meal without dying . Or if you want a certain side switched out with another side like mashed potatoes instead of fries, sure why not. When you go to a restaurant, you are paying for an experience, and it is the chefs responsibility to deliver. But i feel like the customer has a responsibility to have some respect for the house. If you dont like the menu so much that you have to start custom creating your own menu at the table, you probably should have picked a different restaurant .

Chef_
04-24-2016, 02:32 PM
If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one

jessf
04-24-2016, 04:18 PM
Philosophy aside, why not just put on your menu "no substitutions" and let the wait staff turn down the requests before they even get to the kitchen?

As far as trusting the chef goes, I see adding salt to your own plate as a greater form of disrespect than a substitution. I dine with many people who habitually grab at the salt and liberally shake it all over the plate before even tasting a thing. And these are people who've eaten more than enough salt for one life time.

Chef_
04-24-2016, 04:45 PM
Philosophy aside, why not just put on your menu "no substitutions" and let the wait staff turn down the requests before they even get to the kitchen?

As far as trusting the chef goes, I see adding salt to your own plate as a greater form of disrespect than a substitution. I dine with many people who habitually grab at the salt and liberally shake it all over the plate before even tasting a thing. And these are people who've eaten more than enough salt for one life time.

At the hotel brand i work for, were all about bending over backwards for the guests needs, no matter how much sense their request doesnt make. A couple days ago a customer wanted their Caesar salad tossed in the orange reduction vinaigrette we use for the roasted beet salad. I just tossed some plain romaine in the vinaigrette and sent it out. But no, the waiter said they wanted the full Caesar salad complete with parm and anchovies tossed in the orange vinaigrette. I tried to explain how that was going to taste like complete and utter s***, but they insisted. I think some customers really dont realize that restaurants know more about food than they do.

ecchef
04-24-2016, 07:37 PM
At the hotel brand i work for, were all about bending over backwards for the guests needs, no matter how much sense their request doesnt make. A couple days ago a customer wanted their Caesar salad tossed in the orange reduction vinaigrette we use for the roasted beet salad. I just tossed some plain romaine in the vinaigrette and sent it out. But no, the waiter said they wanted the full Caesar salad complete with parm and anchovies tossed in the orange vinaigrette. I tried to explain how that was going to taste like complete and utter s***, but they insisted. I think some customers really dont realize that restaurants know more about food than they do.

Well, let me ask you this; did you send the salad as requested? Did the customer eat it or was it a come back?

Oh, and I've eaten in some 'destination' restaurants where food sucked. They certainly didn't know more about food than me.

Chef_
04-24-2016, 07:46 PM
yeah i sent it out, and it never came back, no complaints. so to each their own i guess.

Chef_
04-24-2016, 07:49 PM
Oh, and I've eaten in some 'destination' restaurants where food sucked. They certainly didn't know more about food than me.

Yeah im sure that happens, but you did choose to eat there and order from that chefs menu

miyabi
04-24-2016, 09:55 PM
It's not that I don't trust the chef; I don't trust line cooks. There's simply too many idiots working in kitchens. If food is dropped on the floor, throw it in the compost. If you use the wrong sauce in a pasta, start it over. Don't be that guy who tries to save one dollar worth of product with some borderline 'my ass is gonna get fired' moves. The customer is paying for this food, serve it to the highest possible standards you can. I don't believe in wasting food, but I don't believe in serving sub par dishes either.

That's another story though. If you're not a victim of celiac disease, don't ******* order gluten free meals on a busy Friday because you read some trendy article. If you're vegan, please look at the menu online before coming to the restaurant. I think I speak for all cooks when I say we don't care if you substitute mashed potatoes for french fries. We don't care if you don't want cheese on your vegetarian burger, but if you're lactose intolerant don't expect me to list every ingredient in the ranch dressing. Just order a different dressing, I'm busy!


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d6/8a/82/d68a82aa9ffd407785f91d091e636468.jpg

ecchef
04-25-2016, 04:05 AM
Yeah im sure that happens, but you did choose to eat there and order from that chefs menu

True. Now the question is, as Miyabi pointed out, was the guy that created the menu at fault, or was it the people he left in charge to execute it?

malexthekid
04-25-2016, 11:06 PM
I think some customers really dont realize that restaurants know more about food than they do.

Bit of an arrogant statement given most of the time you have nfi about who is ordering the food and what their personal palate is.

Not to mention i have eaten at many nice restaurants which served me a meal i could have easily done better. May not have looked as good as there but sure as hell would have tasted better. And i am by no stretch a great cook.

Smurfmacaw
04-26-2016, 12:14 AM
How true. I'm only a home cook but I judge a restaurant on whether or not I can equal or exceed what they gave me. If I can exceed I'll probably not be back, if I can equal I might give them another chance but the ones I go back to over and over are the ones that turn out dishes that really impress me and make me wish I could have came up with that.


Bit of an arrogant statement given most of the time you have nfi about who is ordering the food and what their personal palate is.

Not to mention i have eaten at many nice restaurants which served me a meal i could have easily done better. May not have looked as good as there but sure as hell would have tasted better. And i am by no stretch a great cook.

DamageInc
04-26-2016, 07:14 AM
I always order my burgers without cheese. That's the only modification I ever make. It's not hard to not add cheese.

Iggy
04-26-2016, 08:45 AM
Bit of an arrogant statement given most of the time you have nfi about who is ordering the food and what their personal palate is.

Not to mention i have eaten at many nice restaurants which served me a meal i could have easily done better. May not have looked as good as there but sure as hell would have tasted better. And i am by no stretch a great cook.

Can't agree more. I'm no pro cook by any means but I do have my expert areas, and I've eaten in a lot of (some quite or really good, famous, michelin-starred whatever...) restaurants and it does not happen often but of course sometimes I get a meal that dissappoints me and I think I could do (much) better, especially when it comes to some areas of cooking, that I build up some knowledge over the years.

Just to be a professional doesn't make anyone automatically better or better knowing about food then a hobby cook, who maybe has another job but invests maybe even more time learning about food or cooking then some pro's.

Regarding mods... when I carefully select a new restaurant, then I do trust the chef and I would never order any big mods (switched side dish maybe, but just maybe) and if I doesn't like a dish as is (or I'm allergic to something), then I select something else or go somewhere else. I don't like it either if a customer messes up my work, so...

jessf
04-26-2016, 09:24 AM
I've always associated none substitution restaurants with chain restaurants where the cook staff don't know food beyond what the chain requires for consistency within the brand. Welcomed substitutions meant you were in the hands of someone making real food with a knowledge of what's in it. This may be true until the restaurant reaches the uncanny valley of culinary professionalism where the chef has a mastery over their menu but the establishment still attracts people unwilling to hand over their experience to the chef. The food either gentrifies the consumer or yields to it. Once you cross that threshold though I imagine your workload and need to keep things evolving increases exponentially.

Chef_
04-26-2016, 08:53 PM
How true. I'm only a home cook but I judge a restaurant on whether or not I can equal or exceed what they gave me. If I can exceed I'll probably not be back, if I can equal I might give them another chance but the ones I go back to over and over are the ones that turn out dishes that really impress me and make me wish I could have came up with that.

At my restaurant our ingredients are so expensive that i doubt you could recreate it from cooking ingredients bought at your local supermarket, if you could even find them there. And no offense, but unless you had professional experience i doubt you would have the knowledge to be able to cook some of our dishes.

Chef_
04-26-2016, 08:55 PM
Can't agree more. I'm no pro cook by any means but I do have my expert areas, and I've eaten in a lot of (some quite or really good, famous, michelin-starred whatever...) restaurants and it does not happen often but of course sometimes I get a meal that dissappoints me and I think I could do (much) better, especially when it comes to some areas of cooking, that I build up some knowledge over the years.

Just to be a professional doesn't make anyone automatically better or better knowing about food then a hobby cook, who maybe has another job but invests maybe even more time learning about food or cooking then some pro's.

Regarding mods... when I carefully select a new restaurant, then I do trust the chef and I would never order any big mods (switched side dish maybe, but just maybe) and if I doesn't like a dish as is (or I'm allergic to something), then I select something else or go somewhere else. I don't like it either if a customer messes up my work, so...

A hobby cook will never beat a pro cook

tjangula
04-26-2016, 08:57 PM
:popcorn:

Dardeau
04-26-2016, 09:32 PM
I'm going with black pepper and grated cheese. or maybe the soy protein stuff that tastes like fake cheddar. about half the times where popcorn is needed here I actually make some because I genuinely love it.

panda
04-26-2016, 09:41 PM
http://cdn-jpg.si.com/sites/default/files/styles/si_gallery_slide/public/2015/01/13/terrell-owens-popcorn-celebration.jpg

i'm still upset TO was not a first ballot enshrinement, what a sham.

daveb
04-26-2016, 09:42 PM
Andre, Any chance you sending me some of that? But instead of black pepper and parm could I get basil and sea salt?

panda
04-26-2016, 09:42 PM
i'll take white cheddar powder and fresh dill plz

Smurfmacaw
04-26-2016, 09:46 PM
I don't know. My wife and I went to a well respected restaurant in Las Vegas, (ok on the strip so suspect), but once we got there they menu stated "My Way, My Recipe, My Cooking - No Substitutions, No Changes, No Choice, No Way!" We walked out. Should have said that in their advertising. There are certain foods my wife can't eat and some she chooses not to eat...leaving out mushrooms or cooking beyond medium rare is not so hard. They were totally inflexible...maybe part of their schtick....the left a nice food charge and wine bill on the table because they were so head up the ass.

Minor accommodations should be allowable....if not then.....

Smurfmacaw
04-26-2016, 09:47 PM
A hobby cook will never beat a pro cook

Presentation....maybe (probably in my case.) Flavor....I'd take that bet.

Furminati
04-26-2016, 10:46 PM
Presentation....maybe (probably in my case.) Flavor....I'd take that bet.

I've been a "pro cook" for 14 years. I've seen my fair share of overconfident " pro cooks". I've also had my socks knocked off by people's mothers. Food is subjective.

Furminati
04-26-2016, 10:47 PM
Not the right quote I was going for there !!! Lol

WildBoar
04-26-2016, 11:23 PM
Not the right quote I was going for there !!! Lolhey, what's wrong with some, uh, experienced groupies :wink:

chiffonodd
04-26-2016, 11:36 PM
A hobby cook will never beat a pro cook

That is a safe bet in the vast majority cases. But i gotta assume that every now and then there's at least a possibility of an upset? Just the nature of the beast. Some people have treasured family recipes that have been passed down, real authentic stuff. The kind of things that some fancy kitchens try to emulate. Why could such a dish not "beat out" restaurant food when push comes to shove?

Godslayer
04-26-2016, 11:43 PM
A pro chef is not axiomatically better than a hobby cook. In most cases a pro cook should beat a home cook. But there exist some ****** chefs and some excellent home cooks. I think a home cook can defiantly beat a pro chef in an area that pro chef isn't familliar with. If I'm up against a little old French lady making pate a la je ne sais quoi. There is a good chance I would lose. But if its iron chef style she's most likely going down. On the topic of alterations removing stuff is generally ok with me. It's adding things and changing stuff that gets annoying. If you say you want your steak without compound butter that's ok. If you say you want a special butter made just for you, I'm gonna be upset. The worst though are the not really gluten free people who half way through their meal say glutens fine after I just sanitized a new station for you and made sure everything was on point. Once that happens that table is getting all the gluten.

Furminati
04-26-2016, 11:59 PM
^^ I agree with that. I had the privilege of working at a struggling restaurant where many of the return customers habitually ordered things that weren't on the menu . And of course they were great tippers, so there was always increased pressure from waitstaff. I would literally have to go shopping if I saw certain people's names on the reso.

Quasi allergies/aversions are the most frustrating thing ever. Many people say they're allergic to ensure the ingredient doesn't end up on their plate. They have no idea how much it slows service. It's like a weight is lifted getting that chit stabbed so you can return to full steam

wbusby1
04-27-2016, 10:34 AM
A lot of great things said here that I am glad to read.

I, like most of us, do not take an ABSOLUTE stance on the issue, it is complicated as f**k. Whenever I hear of some chef though complaining about customers wanting their meat "overcooked" it really makes me disgusted with chefs and their arrogance. And on the other side of the fence, one of the places I work at has a lot of customers who are regulars and when we make them hot tea (we do not serve ANY hot drinks and do not have tea and sometimes don't have extra mint or lemons sitting in our walk-in.... so I am sometimes running to the grocery store down the block in order to fulfill these requests) they expect it again the next time they come. In fact, most of the really time-soul-killing changes customers make are repeated at least once (if not by them the next time they come, then by the customer who heard them order it decides they want it too). Another thing that is I strongly feel is bull is the distinction between fine-dining and casual places and hyped or poorly reviewed places. And finally I always get annoyed with this idea that customers SHOULD be able to eat out, and anywhere. But this is mainly coming from an idealistic/antiquated notion that people should know how to cook for themselves. I think dining out should be considered a luxury, but our(my) society has definitely moved past that idea. And if we accept that meals should be eaten out because people can't be expected to know how or have time to cook for themselves then this means that (all) restaurants are essentially cafeterias. Rant rant rant! I love it.

wbusby1
04-27-2016, 10:40 AM
A) want to apologize, didn't see the second page of this thread and essentially just repeated Furminati. and
B) it's a rough spot to be in when you are seeing the customers as ignorant or deceitful or oblivious etc. This can take form in many ways: quasi allergies (especially gluten). Or customers who order the fattiest/heaviest/saltiest items on the menu and say they want a substitution on a relatively healthy dish because they think one component in it is "unhealthy." This also goes back to my problem with people not knowing how to cook, i.e. being ignorant (clearly a personal bent).

spoiledbroth
04-27-2016, 04:36 PM
Or maybe the food is perpetually under seasoned :P

Chef_
04-29-2016, 09:07 PM
I guess we all have different experiences. Ive had great food from house cooks, but nothing that tops the freshness of the food at my job.

Johnny.B.Good
04-29-2016, 09:33 PM
I avoid making special requests at all costs when eating in a restaurant.


A hobby cook will never beat a pro cook

What an absurd thing to say.

brainsausage
04-29-2016, 10:31 PM
A hobby cook will never beat a pro cook

I've met more sh*tty so called 'pro cooks' in my career than I care to remember. And your comment about expensive ingredients is trollish at best. Have you seen what some of our home cooks spend on knives and kitchen equipment alone?

brainsausage
04-29-2016, 10:32 PM
Whoa Johnny! Where've you been hiding?

Smurfmacaw
04-30-2016, 12:52 AM
Ok, I'll bite...what ingredients can't I afford to buy? I agree that the local supermarket doesn't have white truffles but do you seriously think the average home cook who is serious is too stupid to find out where restaurants get their ingredients? Seriously? I"m sure you made a A in the ITT Technical Institute school of culinary whatever but come on.....I agree with the brain man....you are trolling us aren't you?

tjangula
04-30-2016, 02:37 PM
I agree with Smurfmacaw and the others. Home cooks don't have to worry about the bottom line so can take anything to the N-th degree. And the comment of a home/hobby cook is preposterous, I believe even knyfeknerd gave the nod to Mucho Bocho in terms of culinary ability and equipment. One thing I'd definitely slant towards the side of the pros is the volume (and generally presentation/plating). I doubt I could do a service for (insert number here) and but smaller scale at home is different.

miyabi
04-30-2016, 02:50 PM
Anybody watch NBC's Food Fighters?

It's essentially chefs vs home cooks for 5 dishes, I think Chef_ might be surprised.

Smurfmacaw
04-30-2016, 03:43 PM
I agree with TJ. Professional cooks have the big advantage in processes. I believe they are really good at getting things to the point of being almost ready to go and then holding...when I make risotto it do it from start to finish...I was always a bit puzzled how a restaurant could turn out a perfectly done risotto in just 15-18 minutes...of course they parboil it and then hold...same with other dishes I'm sure. Mine is just as good, it just takes me 25 minutes....of course I am willing to time everything to come out at the right time but if it takes 40 minutes my family isn't going to get pissed and walk out.

The ingredient thing is just plain silly, in San Diego the restaurants get they produce either at Specialty Produce (5 different varieties of baby beets, morels, other interesting ingredients) or one of the local growers, most notably Chino Farms. Even the farmers market in Hillcrest or the one in Poway both have excellent produce. Meats, yes, Siesels or their associates have or will get whatever you want....45 day dry aged prime ribeye...no problem. Heritage pork - no problem, game, again no problem.

Where I'm really lacking is plating....I just don't have that artistic eye that some really talented chef's have...don't get me wrong, I can make an attractive plate but it's usually not to the level of some of the really great chefs here.

I cook for fun and as mentioned, I don't make my living doing this so I don't have to worry about yield or cost or anything like that. Sometimes I go all out and do everything from scratch, sometimes I use Ragu as a quick base for a tomato sauce.

Godslayer
04-30-2016, 03:54 PM
Off topic but for new plating ideas I like to draw on graph paper, 1:1 ratio. That way you can fool around with things without wasting ingredients and visualize the end result.

Chef_
04-30-2016, 06:46 PM
think whatever you guys want, i dont really care.

rami_m
04-30-2016, 07:30 PM
think whatever you guys want, i dont really care.

At least let us know the mystery ingredient that home cooks can't get. No disrespect, but I am curious.

tjangula
04-30-2016, 08:39 PM
At least let us know the mystery ingredient that home cooks can't get. No disrespect, but I am curious.

I know what it is… its something intangible… called an ATTITUDE

daveb
04-30-2016, 08:43 PM
I was thinking seasoned corn starch.

tjangula
04-30-2016, 08:53 PM
Back on topic… id hope/expect that reasonable requests could be accommodated such as "dressing on the side" (eg some find salads come overdressed), or "no sliced onion in the salad" (eg don't like onions), but if you don't like onions don't expect accommodation on something that would require starting from scratch (eg no onions in a recipe where it was used early on such as in a mirepoix.

brainsausage
04-30-2016, 09:31 PM
think whatever you guys want, i dont really care.

Says the guy responding to criticism.

panda
04-30-2016, 10:39 PM
I was thinking seasoned corn starch.

lmao

Chuckles
05-01-2016, 12:51 AM
I believe what has happened here is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Smurfmacaw
05-01-2016, 12:56 AM
I believe what has happened here is referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect.

Somebody paid attention in their psychology class lol.

ecchef
05-01-2016, 01:19 AM
Which results in the Banyerassforaweek Effect

Lucretia
05-01-2016, 01:35 PM
Which results in the Banyerassforaweek Effect


https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRAvagEmVOoEQuVx58YWp6fgM7jA_ruG j49mzioMipNKCbNInK65_vFGeT_

malexthekid
05-01-2016, 05:54 PM
Back on topic… id hope/expect that reasonable requests could be accommodated such as "dressing on the side" (eg some find salads come overdressed), or "no sliced onion in the salad" (eg don't like onions), but if you don't like onions don't expect accommodation on something that would require starting from scratch (eg no onions in a recipe where it was used early on such as in a mirepoix.

Speaking of that was watching a doco about Heston moving The Fat Duck to Melbourne for 6 months last year. At some point a request for no onions (allergy i think) came in. They accomodated but they thought they were f*cked for a long time trying to recreate the menu without it.

preizzo
05-02-2016, 10:17 AM
Having Passion for the food make you a chef.
Someone who it s able to get out flavors from ingredients can be home chef or pro chef.
I don't see so much differents

Smurfmacaw
05-02-2016, 10:39 AM
Speaking of that was watching a doco about Heston moving The Fat Duck to Melbourne for 6 months last year. At some point a request for no onions (allergy i think) came in. They accomodated but they thought they were f*cked for a long time trying to recreate the menu without it.

I'm kind of torn on this topic. I agree that a restaurant shouldn't have to recreate their menu from scratch to accommodate a request but should be understanding for simple requests. The one the irritates me the most is when the waiter asks my wife how she wants her steak cooked and then refuses her request for well done. Seriously, a waiter told her, "The chef will not cook your steak well done because it will be tough". She has been eating her meat well done for 50 years (personally I like mine barely dead and have been unsuccessfully trying to convert her) so she knows very well how well done steak is not as tender as medium rare masterpiece......made me want to slap the supercilious little prick and ask him why the hell he even bothers since he obviously knows everything. I also hate the ones that ask how the meat should be cooked and then bring it out medium rare anyway...either the cook is underskilled or just doesn't give a ****....not sure if that is worse or not.

What I don't mind is if it's a specific preparation and they can't accommodate something that would take a lot of time or effort....at least be polite about it though.

ok, rant mode off.

Personally I don't usually ask for any changes, I even like to let a truly skilled chef prepare something I don't necessarily care for so much and make me like it....I've had sweetbreads several times and even liked them...(several times not so much also lol)...even had a dish once that incorporated watermelon (I loathe watermelon) and liked it. Bottom line, if a request is reasonable and can be accommodated easily why the heck not and make a customer into a regular customer.

malexthekid
05-02-2016, 10:52 AM
I'm kind of torn on this topic. I agree that a restaurant shouldn't have to recreate their menu from scratch to accommodate a request but should be understanding for simple requests. The one the irritates me the most is when the waiter asks my wife how she wants her steak cooked and then refuses her request for well done. Seriously, a waiter told her, "The chef will not cook your steak well done because it will be tough". She has been eating her meat well done for 50 years (personally I like mine barely dead and have been unsuccessfully trying to convert her) so she knows very well how well done steak is not as tender as medium rare masterpiece......made me want to slap the supercilious little prick and ask him why the hell he even bothers since he obviously knows everything. I also hate the ones that ask how the meat should be cooked and then bring it out medium rare anyway...either the cook is underskilled or just doesn't give a ****....not sure if that is worse or not.

What I don't mind is if it's a specific preparation and they can't accommodate something that would take a lot of time or effort....at least be polite about it though.

ok, rant mode off.

Personally I don't usually ask for any changes, I even like to let a truly skilled chef prepare something I don't necessarily care for so much and make me like it....I've had sweetbreads several times and even liked them...(several times not so much also lol)...even had a dish once that incorporated watermelon (I loathe watermelon) and liked it. Bottom line, if a request is reasonable and can be accommodated easily why the heck not and make a customer into a regular customer.

I am with you one that, typically I will not order something if I see it has something in it I don't like, otherwise I will just pick it out. My wife is quite a picky eater and she adopts the same approach, or if she really likes the sound of a dish except for one ingredient, she will as the waiter if it can be done without that ingredient, it is then up to the chef to decide if he wants to do it or not.

In regards to the steak, I totally agree. While I like mine inbetween blue to medium rare (can have it anywhere on that spectrum if it is a nice cut), if you ask how a person wants it cooked, then you cook it how they want. If you only want to do medium rare or rare, then you tell them that is how it comes, and they chose if they want to eat it or not.

WildBoar
05-02-2016, 01:12 PM
Interesting. I thought most places with steaks would be happy to cook one well-done, as it lets them use up the mediums that got sent back to the kitchen because they were supposed to be medium-rare. :-)

I think a large part of the debate here (with the exception of one certain poster) is some people interpreting the OP as "leave out the raw onions, please" vs other interpreting it as the new dawn of entitlement: "I do not like a certain ingredient that is in all of your pre-prepared sauces, so make me something else totally from scratch!" or "yeah, I know this is a steak house, but I want a pizza and don't want to go to a pizza shop, so tell the people in the kitchen to make me one or I will post bad things about this place on Yelp!"

panda
05-02-2016, 02:12 PM
my favorite are vegans that go to steak house. ive thought about returning the favor and asking for a steak at a vegan place.

WildBoar
05-02-2016, 02:47 PM
my favorite are vegans that go to steak house. ive thought about returning the favor and asking for a steak at a vegan place.I have a friend who is a vegetarian and he went with a bunch of us to a $$$ steakhouse a few years ago. He enjoyed the cocktails, and just went with a salad for dinner. We all felt bad for him, but he did not want to miss out on the outing just because he would not eat meat. Poor guy dropped about $100 for a couple drinks and a salad :-)

LucasFur
05-02-2016, 04:38 PM
My wife is vegan. And I love steak, when we go to steak houses (for me) is she just supposed to watch me?

The worst was when we were at the bull and bear in NY. We had just had a long flight in, decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. I mentioned that my wife is vegan, no worries waiter said. and brought her 3 heads of boiled broccoli and 3 large boiled carrots for the main. :dontknow:

Smurfmacaw
05-02-2016, 05:34 PM
Vegan means no animal products at all so I guess it would be a real challenge in a kitchen depending on how militant the vegan is...like strict kosher where you have to have separate implements and storage area for meat and milk products or a just do your best to accommodate me and no chunks of quivering flesh on the plate. I doubt many restaurants can really accommodate a strict vegan easily (or at all). I'll sometimes order a vegetarian meal if it's on the menu and one of my favorites was at FIG in Charleston....he always has family style sides of veggies....if you ask he has no problems plating it up (reasonable portions of the vegetables on the menu) and it's excellent....if I demanded strict vegan though I think it would be a different story.