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Customer requests


chef koo
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I've worked in restaurants for about 12 years now. I've seen special requests of all sorts. Of course there's the common "sauce on the side". Is this a cultural thing? I haven't traveled abroad much but I have this prejudice in my head that it's North American thing. Reason I say is because when I go for Chinese they're alot less accommodating. Which is cool. Anyone from anywhere else in the world have any insight into this?

bork bork bork

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I have a cousin in Japan who has either IB or celiac. Food allergies by definition are a first world problem. Lacking either medical care or food choices, people die of the issue rather than surviving to suffer and complain.

That said, I do think that a neurotic attention to cleanliness & an overuse of cleaning chemicals can lead to body dysfunction.

I ask for salad dressing on the side because many places drown the salad.

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Of course there's the common "sauce on the side". Is this a cultural thing?

I think it's a reaction to what other restaurants have done in the past. As Kat said, it can be a good idea with salad dressing because some places put too much dressing on a salad. Sometimes with a main, a place will slop on gobs of sauce and turn what should have been a pleasant dish into an over-sauced mess. Then there are the sauces that don't quite work-- I hate having to scrape off the sauce when it turns out to be something less that it should have been. (It would be interesting to see how much of the "sauce on the side" comes back versus how much patrons actually use.) And then there are all the dieters who are avoiding the extra calories in sauces, which often are high in calories.

Still another reason for "sauce on the side" is that most restaurants serve huge portions, and many of us expect to either waste a lot of food or (more likely) take home the extra beyond what would have been a reasonable portion. In the latter case, some things rewarm better when unsauced, and some sauces don't survive take-home very well.

Perhaps it's cultural in that here in North America we don't feel it's discourteous to request the sauce on the side when we're paying for the meal.

Dick in Northbrook, IL

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  • 3 weeks later...

Doesn't it have something to do with the way the food is cooked? You can't ask for a casserole with the sauce on the side and expect to get it because it's cooked IN the sauce. If you make a stir-fry, the sauce is added into the pan during cooking - you can't exactly take it out again. But if you're having something grilled or broiled or roasted it's generally cooked dry and sauced after it's done, so it's no real loss to put the sauce on the table seperately - what else is a gravy boat for?

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Not to mention that after the dressing is added to a salad, it begins immediately to wilt.

For the most part, I like my cold salads to be crunchy.

When I get the dressing on the side, I can dress it a small portion at a time.

And dressings are almost always loaded with salt and calories. I see absolutely no problem whatsoever in requesting that it be served on the side.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Doesn't it have something to do with the way the food is cooked? You can't ask for a casserole with the sauce on the side and expect to get it because it's cooked IN the sauce.

No, but if you know that the casserole portion will then be drowned in sauce, you can ask for it not to be so. Case in point, a local place serves lasagna (which I consider casserole-esque). Unfortunately, after the portion has been heated and plated, it is drowned in more of the marinara. I would have no problem asking them to either hold the marinara or serve it on the side.

And for me, salad dressing on the side is always more about controlling the amount of dressing applied for taste purposes, not for controlling salt or fat content. But I can see that as a bonus. If I am eating at a restaurant where I think they will dress the salad properly, then I don't bother asking for it on the side.

Finally, let me turn the tables slightly. Does every other culture that eats salads dress them without drowning them in dressing? Are Americans the only ones that have to deal with soggy greens swimming in a bowl of Ranch?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Two and a half years in South Africa catering for the 'colonnial' ladies, some of the pickiest people with the weirdest orders ever.

Example: One order of scones = 2 scones, Ladies wanted 1 scone each and to pay half price for the half order, so I recommended that the 4 ladies should order 2 portions and then split them. This simply would not do, every lady wanted an individual scone paid separately. POS system wouldn't let me do that, so in the end the GM told me to comp one portion.

Same group of ladies always wanted to order lamb burgers, but just the patties for their dogs, done medium-rare.

What I have been wondering is condiments, how are they in your respective countries? In Finland it has come to pass that people order a pizza and then empty about two tablespoons of dried oregano and half a bottle of tabasco on top. Atleast where I come from.

The south africans who dined at the restaurant would order a rossini with black currant jus, and ask for ketchup, hehe this used to get the sous chef's veins throbbing... :D

The perfect vichyssoise is served hot and made with equal parts of butter to potato.

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