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Advance notice for special reequests and needs

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#1 Bux

  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Posted 08 May 2002 - 09:00 AM

From the bit I've read, I've enjoyed your articulate responses and look forward to reading the rest. I was interested in how you responded to the "food substitution requests" post. In general I have little sympathy for a diner who comes to a good restaurant for any rason other than to eat the foods the chef serves, but sometimes there are extenuating circumstances.

You've noted that advance notice is preferable and, for some things, absolutely necessary. How far in advance would you suggest one make a request and how agreeable do you think other chefs are to special requests? I'm thinking of a diet restricted to steamed or boiled food served without fats and a limited choice of foods at that. Someone with this restriction may be hoping to find a chef who can make his meal interesting, or just trying to get by and enjoy the company of others who are eager to fully appreciate the menu. This issue has been raised on the France board in another way and I'm curious to get a chef's reaction.
Robert Buxbaum
Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.
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#2 Shaun Hill

Shaun Hill
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Posted 09 May 2002 - 10:18 AM

A day's notice is good. That way any different ingredients can be bought and there will be time to slot in the different mise en place needed.

Of course some chefs are bloody minded about this sort of thing but then alsosome punters are stupid - assuming a small restaurant carries a vast array of stuff not on the menu is dumb - so it evens out.

I would have no worries over cooking for someone who needed everything boiled - my expertise stretches that far - and think it not too difficult to come up with some relish type sauces to make the meal interesting. Similarly, no worries over vegetarians or those who have been told that pregnant women can only eat pasteurised, well done and very safe food. But I have to tell you that there are a lot of strange diets out there. And only a limited amount of time to cook everyone's dinner.

Here I'm easy with, say, a couple of my seven tables coming up with a list of difficulties especially if there is a large table where diabetic granny is along for the celebration. If it goes  much beyond that I start to wonder if this is a restaurant or a clinic