Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Customers that make your 'top ten worst'


Sukie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm not much a story teller, but there are a few things I would like to share as I find them all rather funny.

I once had a customer walk upto the open kitchen and ask me if I could make a Paella without rice and seafood - I explained exactly what goes into and declined her request stating "I just can't make paella the way you want it, sorry". She sat back down with her table and ordered something else. After she left, the boss came into the kitchen and told me this lady had complained we wouldn't make the food the way the table wanted it. My boss (even though he knows exactly what paella is) suggested I should be more accomodating!

Another one, is this lady who ALWAYS order her steak MR with no pink. When I sent the filet just a hair over MW, she complained it was underdone. When the server tried to explain the differences, she just got very defensive and said that is how she always gets it, and every other restaurant cooks it correctly.

There is lots of humour in this thread as customers always want it their way - I've see people screw with flavour so much I don't really care if they want to change the dish - as any discerning palate would know, some flavours simply don't combine. One regular customer wanted melted cheddar on his grilled teriyaki salmon burger. Or the customer who always wanted a side of strawberry coulis for their prawn & scallop ceviche :-)

One of the latest "crazes" is the invented food allergy! I can remember lots of examples - one of the most common real allergy is shellfish. And it is important to act as if they are always real, but the lady who said she was allergic to shrimp, so please add some prawns is NOT one of those examples.

I personally blame Burger-King for all these customer re-inventing/changing menu items with their "have it your way" add campaign!

I have always explained to the FOH to please inform the customer that by making asignificant changes to a menu item, they are dramatically slowing down the speed they will get their food.

I would love to hear more of these humorous adecdotes.

Cheers

GB

I get the "MR, but no pink" thing almost every night too, but as bad as my customers can get my wife's' customers can almost always top them.

While I run a restaurant kitchen, she's a Deli Manager for a large grocery chain and she recently had to deal with an unhappy customer who decided to get even by coming back to her store repeatedly and being a difficult as possible.

She (the customer) would order pounds of the most expensive meat in the display case (prosciutto, speck, whatever was most expensive) sliced very thin and then make sure to reject the first order as being too thick or too fatty or some other equally transparent excuse (Company policy dictates NO arguing with customers about that kind of thing), then after my wife had sliced another two or three pounds of $18.00 per pound meat she would walk away and abandon it a few aisles over and then leave the store.

After pulling this stunt several times, they finally caught her on camera and the Store Manager asked her to find someplace else to shop or they would call the cops.

Customers like that make mine look like amateurs by comparison.

I'm so awesome I don't even need a sig...Oh wait...SON OF A...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

From the catering world...

I just got back from catering a gallery opening. Nothing fancy, 60 people, 6 foods. Our prep area was in the center of the gallery where they have a work sink. I instructed the servers to lift the tray and duck their eyes if anyone put down roots at the doorway. Someone did. No matter how high the tray or how low the eyes, the mooch would stop them, grab more than one item and leave a near empty tray. After an hour of this, and me hearing his comments joking about what he was doing, I set the trap. I instructed my first server to take a tray of empty dishes, walk up to him and say, "courtesy of the kitchen." And one step behind was to be the other server who was going to make a dash for it. The plan worked perfectly! Distraction worked, server escaped! Food for the other 59 guests! The bad part...and the reason I could pull the caper...it was my pastor! I'll have to drop more into the offering plate this Sunday so he can eat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
One more quick ketchup story. I've held it all summer and need a place to vent.

We're strolling down Via Veneto in Roma, kind of a fancy neighborhood, nice shops, sidewalk restaurants (the glass enclosed kind), and sitting at a restaurant are two young Americans who have covered their proscuitto and melone in ketchup. The waiter's face was made of stone. A true professional.

My fiancee likes ketchup on just any egg you can imagine.

You can imagine my horror when she doused perfectly poached eggs atop lightly toasted sour dough all drizzled with a good olive oil in, you guessed it, ketchup. She giggled, I nearly wept.

However, if she dumped ketchup on fine proscuitto and melon I'd be hard pressed to control myself.

Luckily, she loves the proscuitto enough just as it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Here are three of my worst catering stories:

1. Young couple hires me for kid's baptism lunch. They specify that guests will eat standing up, so something in a bowl is in order. They suggest a fish soup, I reply with a bouillabaisse. We agree. I e-mail them a list of china (i.e. soup bowls) they will need to rent, they agree. Midway through finishing the bouillabaisse and portioning the fish, the very drunk husband stumbles into the kitchen and demands everyone eats now. He looks at the fish and screams about how its not even cooked yet. (Apparently he has no clue how long it takes to cook cubes of fish in a warm liquid).

So, after tactfully dealing with the incapacitated client, the food is nearly ready. I make my umpteenth request for the (client-hired) waiters to get my bowls ready for plating. To which I'm finally told, what bowls? There are no bowls. You'll have to serve the soup on plates.

2. Hired by an event planner to do hors d'oeuvre for a 100 at a wedding reception. We agree on a menu (with plenty of cooked items: grilled shrimp wrapped in serrano ham, shots of warm pumpkin soup, skewers for slow-roasted leg of pork that need to be warmed, etc.) and I'm given a floor plan of the venue (its a house. Houses usually have kitchens). There is a kitchen on this floor plan. And then I wait, and wait, and wait.

The event planner disappears until two days before the event. So I don't have a chance to actually look at the venue (not usually a problem). I arrive on the day of the event only to find there is no kitchen. A bar with a tiny sink, but no kitchen. No stove, no oven, no refrigerators. So I race to the nearest hardware store and buy portable electrical burners (they didn't have gas burners). And cook for 100 guests while sitting on the floor.

3. Posh guests ask for the most expensive item on my menu. We agree on lobster. Midway through the event, their gas is cut off. They hadn't paid their gas bill! I finish the meal on a beat up old grill they had laying around in their garage, cooking outdoors at night in the dark (old flashlight between the teeth bit).

Needless to say I'm ridiculously thorough about prepping my clients now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not everyone is a foodie (someone who appreciate's the skills of a Chef) and wants to smother it with ketchup (which 3 out of 4 chef's I know will not even keep it in the house, ours included)

while no cook appreciates people dumping ketchup (or any sauce) all over their food, is there really no place for the condiment at all?

i find it incredibly useful when making a quick cocktail sauce, or easy meatloaf, not to mention on the usual fries, hot dogs, burgers, etc.

p.s. i've see jacques pepin use it to make everything from a reduced pomegranate glaze to salsa.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

not everyone is a foodie (someone who appreciate's the skills of a Chef) and wants to smother it with ketchup (which 3 out of 4 chef's I know will not even keep it in the house, ours included)

while no cook appreciates people dumping ketchup (or any sauce) all over their food, is there really no place for the condiment at all?

i find it incredibly useful when making a quick cocktail sauce, or easy meatloaf, not to mention on the usual fries, hot dogs, burgers, etc.

p.s. i've see jacques pepin use it to make everything from a reduced pomegranate glaze to salsa.

Saveur has a nice writeup and recipe in the current issue:Ketchup in Saveur

I notice a lot of Asian condiments in pantries and frigidaires. A lot of salsas being made and mustards as well. Ketchup used in moderation is no better or worse than other condiments. Condiments don't ruin food. People misusing condiments do.

A little dollop next to your frittes or burger is a good thing.

Edited by Hard H2O (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hamburgers and french fries call out for ketchup!

The Savuer "Best 100" list at the end of last year included not just a reference to eGullet but also recipes for ketchup, mustard and Worcester sauce. I have been avoiding all three since I developed an intolerance for chili - the ingredient "spices" often includes it, and even a little bit has unfortunate consequences for me now. I had not thought about making my own, and leaving out the cayenne. Now I just need to do so. After I get my vinegar experiment under control.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hamburgers and french fries call out for ketchup!

The Savuer "Best 100" list at the end of last year included not just a reference to eGullet but also recipes for ketchup, mustard and Worcester sauce. I have been avoiding all three since I developed an intolerance for chili - the ingredient "spices" often includes it, and even a little bit has unfortunate consequences for me now.  I had not thought about making my own, and leaving out the cayenne. Now I just need to do so. After I get my vinegar experiment under control.

If you're going to make your own, the eGCI had a condiment class:

Condiments, Andie Paysinger and Mary Baker

To get back on topic, I don't think customers abusing condiments would even come close to making the Top 10 for this discussion. It's annoying, perhaps even rude, but certainly not egregious enough to merit any ranking.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I kinda started this up near the top when I complained about a customer slathering ketchup on a Halibut Piccata.

I wasn't attacking ketchup. I personally have little use for condiments on my food, but I use ketchup in many recipes as an ingredient. I must admit I am using things like Srirachi and Lingham's more lately, but I'm not a 'hater'.

I was really just defending the integrity of Piccata. It is simply a perfect dish. It looks good, smells wonderful, and naturally balances it own flavors. Catching the aroma of a perfect Piccata when you put it up on the slide is very satisfying.

Seeing ketchup all over that dish truly was one of my worst restaurant experiences.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...