Taking a quick break from the Maslow series to get my (writer’s block) thoughts straight so I grabbed this gem for you from the archives of Kitchen Wisdom
While I am now considerably less pissed off, there is a lot of truth to what was written. Everyone needs to take a look at themselves and take responsibility for their own selves (that applies to more than just eating at restaurants but that’s a whole different bag of worms). Stop trying to blame everyone around you.
This one goes out to all my homies with gluten intolerances, gluten allergies and other various dietary problems which require you to not eat wheat products. Also to my homies with general food allergies, though the gluten is the thing that set me off today…
I’m currently in a ranting mood, so here it is (although rest assured, I don’t hate you as much as I’m sure it’s going to sound like I do)
If you have a dietary restriction, you have to assume some responsibility for what you put in your body. Don’t immediately blame the person cooking your food. Some don’t know any better, and some cooks you are (hate to break it to you) asking too much of.
First things first: stop trying to eat at TGIFriday’s or whatever chain restaurant is in the center of your town. The people that work there most likely are not chefs, and odds are they don’t give a flying fuck what your dietary restriction is. New flash: most of those places don’t have executive chefs; they have kitchen managers and supervisors. There is probably one person serv safe certified in the building and it’s probably the FOH manager. Also, a lot of the people working in those kitchens are opening packages and putting things in the micro or the oven, and don’t really know what is inside there. Eat in reputable, established restaurants that list an Executive chef on their menu. Odds are, these places DO have trained cooks in their kitchens who know how to prepare the food properly, how to prevent contamination, and what exactly is in every one of their dishes. This reduces risk before you even walk in the door.
Second, your server is your best friend. Be very nice to them. As if you are inconveniencing them. They are the liaison between you and the kitchen, and this process can be very easy if you work together.
Third, ask what is gluten free on the menu. If there is something accompanied by bread that you think is interesting, be sure to ask if the rest of the dish is gluten free. There is flour in many places on a menu that you probably didn’t even think of.
Fourth, if that item with the bread is gluten free (besides the obvious bread), go for it. If not, STOP RIGHT THERE.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try to order something on the menu that has gluten in its normal preparation. Get off of your high horse and stop asking chefs to change their food to suit your dietary needs. All this does is piss people off. As chefs, we work hard, every day, to bring you a edible, nay, delicious representation of who we are, of our souls. For you to walk into my restaurant and think that you can just change shit around at your own whim… shit, GET OUT. I’d rather you not spend your 50 bucks here. GO HOME AND COOK IT YOURSELF if you want to create it yourself. I am more than willing to leave the bread off, and I generally go to pretty great lengths to include at least one vegetarian and gluten free option on my menu. But no, I will not change that whole dish (that I spent a week creating, testing, tasting, laboring over) around just so that you can eat it. It is an insult to my work.
I do sympathize with people with allergies and intolerances. I have a pretty severe lactose intolerance, and this keeps me from eating many things that I loved as a kid (even as an adult, before I realized what I was doing to myself). So I get it. Sometimes, I want to eat icecream. But I don’t ask the chef to make me that icecream flavor with lactose-free milk just so I can eat it in his or her dining room.