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Felt sorry for the chef

(55 Posts)
Teacheranne Mon 07-Feb-22 14:13:45

I went out for Sunday lunch yesterday with a group of ten friends. Only three of us did not ask the waitress about dietary needs and when the chef came over to go through some options, he was bombarded with questions.

We had vegan, gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, various allergies and something else which I can’t remember. The chef was very accommodating and took lots of notes but had to amend so many dishes in different ways that it must have taken a lot longer to prepare our order. The hardest was a gluten free vegan but she had taken the trouble to phone the restaurant first to make sure her needs could be met.

I really did feel sorry for the chef who did an amazing job as we all enjoyed our meals.

midgey Mon 07-Feb-22 14:41:56

That is a real recommendation for the establishment! Great to hear the chef was so helpful.

felice Mon 07-Feb-22 15:23:39

I am so glad you felt for the Chef, I am one, now retired but still cooking for groups and events.
I always send an email or message of some kind to any I am catering for asking for allergies and intolerances.
The number of times someone arrives and says 'oh I cannot eat that I am ***** FREE'.
I Keep a record and show them their reply.
One young woman stormed out of my house as I had not catered specifically for her needs, there were 54 guests and different tables for all needs.
Your Chef is a

Callistemon21 Mon 07-Feb-22 15:28:04

This is why I don't do dinner parties any more!

For some people, eg coeliacs, eating the wrong thing could be dangerous but a lot of people seem to have allergies now?

Most establishments offer vegan dishes now too.

SueDonim Mon 07-Feb-22 15:35:31

The chef indeed is a star. It’s an onerous task, providing food for people with allergies.

My daughter’s flatmate is severely nut-allergic and can’t even go into a premises where nuts are served. She can’t visit cafes if they serve almond milk, for example, because the risk of cross-contamination is too great.

I’ve learnt a lot about nut allergies over the past couple of years, it’s an absolute minefield of label-reading and even watching what we eat, if we’re going to be seeing her.

Callistemon21 Mon 07-Feb-22 15:38:52

Our friend's DD has a severe nut allergy too. It's very difficult.

felice Mon 07-Feb-22 15:49:36

I actually have severe shellfish allergy myself, a good friend used to invite a group of friends to a big summer party every year.
Paella, ok if no shellfish. she would serve me a plate and pick out the clams, mussels etc, 'so it would be ok for me,DUH.
She was very offended when I stopped going.

mokryna Mon 07-Feb-22 16:04:41

I took my DGD to an up market fast food place she wanted to go to. She ordered and I mentioned her nut allergy, good job I did as her chips were cooked in nut oil. You can never be too careful.
When I book a place or buy from the patisserie I always mention it.

SueDonim Mon 07-Feb-22 16:07:34

DD’s friend loves living in Yorkshire because she can now have fish and chips from a chippie, which she never had a child. They used nut oil where she’s from. In DD’s area, F&C are cooked in dripping and her friend can have that!

Callistemon21 Mon 07-Feb-22 16:08:04


I actually have severe shellfish allergy myself, a good friend used to invite a group of friends to a big summer party every year.
Paella, ok if no shellfish. she would serve me a plate and pick out the clams, mussels etc, 'so it would be ok for me,DUH.
She was very offended when I stopped going.

Oh dear.
Yes, DD has had the same with lovely home made gf pizza bases touched by non-gf floury hands.

Ali08 Mon 07-Feb-22 20:43:05

So 100+ stars for that chef and restaurant, and for the one person who called ahead!!
I'm so happy you enjoyed your meal, Teacheranne.

Jaxjacky Mon 07-Feb-22 21:35:58

I’m not questioning peoples allergies at all, but I don’t recall these challenges for chefs years ago.
I used to frequently eat out with groups of work colleagues and friends through the 70’s to 90’s, no preferences expressed. Did people just suffer afterwards undiagnosed or not go out?

Nannarose Mon 07-Feb-22 21:43:49

Definitely praise them on Facebook & Trip advisor!
I have been around vegetarians all my life and don't find them too difficult to accommodate.
I do agree that having a lot of people around with allergies can be annoying, but I am not sure what we are supposed to do!
I, like many of my generation was brought up to eat what was put in front of me and 'not make a fuss'. I am not at all a fussy eater, but over the last 30 years or so have gradually developed a few food allergies / sensitivities that do make me unwell - not life-threatening but 2-3 days of discomfort.
I do tell people when I am invited out, and always feel very apologetic. The alternative is to decline invitations which seems ridiculous!
I enjoy cooking, and so does DH so we are happy to cater for various 'food issues' when we invite folk to us, but I do see why it can be a faff.

Kali2 Mon 07-Feb-22 21:47:17

A massive difference between real and life threatening allergy, food intolerances and ... all the nonsensical rest!

Yes, a nightmare for Chefs- but also very dangerous for those with real, life threatening allergies, which are often not taken serioulsy because of ...

Nannarose Mon 07-Feb-22 21:48:51

PS: Jaxjacky - I think it was a bit of a mix, and I think when these things were less well understood, folk sometimes put them down to poor hygiene at the restaurant!
My sensitivities are all connected with seafood, so I can avoid them on a menu, and wouldn't mention them if out in a group. But if invited to eat at someone's home, I have to tell them.

SueDonim Mon 07-Feb-22 22:26:28

Did people just suffer afterwards undiagnosed or not go out?

Perhaps they died from anaphylactic shock, due to their allergies.

Callistemon21 Mon 07-Feb-22 22:47:12

A lot of people claim to be gluten intolerant or prefer not to eat gluten now which has made the choice of food in ordinary supermarkets quite remarkable, so it has had a positive result.

Not that long ago coeliac disease was large unrecognised, undiagnosed and people suffered years of ill health as a result. If diagnosed, the most you could hope for was a prescription for gf flour to bake your own bread and cakes.

pen50 Tue 08-Feb-22 10:49:04

As a coeliac I am deeply grateful for all the gluten-intolerant folk out there whose buying power has made my life much more tolerable.

Saxifrage Tue 08-Feb-22 10:49:13

I am coeliac so have to be gluten free. It’s a shame Callistemon that it is not always taken seriously because of vague claims. The supermarkets usually have a good supply of dry gluten free food but now Vegan food has taken up all the space on the chilled and frozen food areas at the expense of the gluten free.

Peasblossom Tue 08-Feb-22 10:56:17

I was at an event this weekend where all the buffet food was vegan. Unfortunately most of it had some sort of nut in its make up.

I was very hungry🙁

People often think if it’s vegan anyone can eat it.

patrish Tue 08-Feb-22 11:05:18

Why not just eat at home

grannygranby Tue 08-Feb-22 11:15:07

I don't have any allergies, but I don't eat meat for the sake of the animals. it is relatively easy, especially now, but that is SO DIFFERENT from life-threatening can be with nuts and shellfish..and ill-making as with gluten. intolerance. The physical intolerance to different foods seems to be subject to fashion and legislation. It's like if you don't have a food specificity you are not very special... The confusion between prefer and must is more blurred than ever. I think if I were a chef I would centre on dishes with no nuts shellfish or meat ideally gluten anyone?

jocork Tue 08-Feb-22 11:21:27

My sister-in-law is coeliac, though not diagnosed until she was in her 30's. I fed her family pasta on the only occasion they came to us for a meal (we lived 200 miles apart) and she was diagnosed soon after. I felt terrible though I'd had no way of knowing.
My DS's FiL is also coeliac but I've never cooked for him. I find it difficult enough cooking for vegetarians without the menu becoming very boring!
Any chef who can cope with all the numerous allergies and preferences that exist these days should be congratulated!

Grantanow Tue 08-Feb-22 11:27:28

A very patient chef! Some people have real needs determined by real allergies and conditions and they have to be catered for but for others it's a matter of choice to be veg or vegan and in some cases uninformed fadism.

Bignanny2 Tue 08-Feb-22 11:28:58

I hope you posted a five star review on the restaurants page! I can’t understand how/why so many people are allergic to so many things these days 🤷‍♀️?!?!?!?!