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Dietary Demands Gone Wild

A diner's printed list of demands comes without warning, sparking fear in the kitchen

Inside Scoop and our own Healdsburg blog recently posted this story about a Cyrus diner’s demands from the kitchen (presented on the spot) as well as Chef Douglas Keane’s rather bewildered Tweet: “Is it worth it, for both the restaurant and the guest?

The gist of the story is that Keane received the card in the kitchen as the diner was seated, giving him no time to prepare for the urgent needs of this high-maintenance eater. Citing a “life threatening reaction” to certain foods, Keane was forced to scramble to come up with not only an off-menu dish, but make sure that all the station’s utensils were wiped down, and that he didn’t well, inadvertently send the person to the hospital.

Ever good-natured, Keane made the best of it despite serious concerns of doing grave harm to the customer. Staff said the diner was polite, if (and these are my words) obviously clueless about the clearly stated policy that food restrictions are appreciated in advance.

As a frequent diner-out, I’ve gotta say this would seriously rankle me both as a chef and as a customer who has to wait while the kitchen scrambles to accommodate this person. I get that people have food allergies. And I’m sympathetic to folks who take it all in stride and don’t involve the greater population in their health issues (I get migraines from sulfates, so I don’t eat stuff with sulfates.) I respect that people need to ask for certain things to be eliminated from their food (I’ve seen the results of nut and shellfish allergies gone awry). I truly get that some allergies can be dangerous and its worth asking about ingredients and bringing an Epi-pen with you.

But really? Is it even safe for this individual to eat at a restaurant? I gotta wonder whether someone that concerned with their “life threatening” food issues would even take a chance? I also have to wonder why is butter okay but not other cow’s milk dairy? I’m not a dietician (and would love more information) but as far as I understand, if you have an actual milk allergy, you can’t eat butter, goat or sheep dairy. Lactose intolerance isn’t life threatening. And, if all the utensils have to be wiped down, what if the rag was used to wipe down another counter with one of those items on it? Is the kitchen required to find a cloth that has never touched those items? What if someone from the next table’s food includes these ingredients or like, what if their dining companions want something other than brown rice? Does their dining out repetoire include a hermetically-sealed bubble? And, in the time it took to make the nicely color-coded card with four exclamation points!!!! one would think that the diner could have called in advance and let the restaurant know that they had a laundry list of food issues. I mean, for example.

What should chefs do in this situation? Politely tell the customer they can’t accommodate them or scramble to create a dish that could still potentially harm the diner? Sound off.

 

 

 

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Comments

84 thoughts on “Dietary Demands Gone Wild

  1. Hat’s off to the chefs who cater to these “needs.” Maybe I’m getting old but I don’t remember all this fussing 15-20 years ago. I personally wouldn’t want the liability for producing a meal for some of these patrons.

  2. Hat’s off to the chefs who cater to these “needs.” Maybe I’m getting old but I don’t remember all this fussing 15-20 years ago. I personally wouldn’t want the liability for producing a meal for some of these patrons.

  3. Good grief. While I am blessed not to have food allergies, if I did, I surely would not do what that diner did. Common courtesy should make a person call ahead and speak with the staff. I agree that the chef went way beyond what a reasonable person could expect on short notice.

    Hmm, I have fragrance allergies. Does that mean I should ask that all the diners be told not to wear perfume or aftershave?

  4. Good grief. While I am blessed not to have food allergies, if I did, I surely would not do what that diner did. Common courtesy should make a person call ahead and speak with the staff. I agree that the chef went way beyond what a reasonable person could expect on short notice.

    Hmm, I have fragrance allergies. Does that mean I should ask that all the diners be told not to wear perfume or aftershave?

  5. I think catering to a special client’s dietary needs is good business. Chances are this person might have a network of online friends with similar food issues (my lactose and gluten intolerant wife certainly does) and once the word gets out that a restaurant can cater to these needs successfully, they will get flooded with additional business. In these tough economic times it pays to go this extra mile and this can make the difference between staying open or shutting down.

    My wife devotes energy researching what she can eat while keeping it palatable and enjoyable. Most restaurants she avoids, which curtails our going out to such places together. On the other hand when we find a restaurant with a friendly menu or friendly attitude, we become a repeat customer and tell all of our friends about it.

    The author of this clearly isn’t sympathetic to people with food allergies as he claims and is quite clueless about it. Suggesting they should avoid restaurants entirely reminds me of those who considered providing wheelchair access unnecessary, as if wheelchair-bound people should simply stay home and don’t deserve access.

  6. I think catering to a special client’s dietary needs is good business. Chances are this person might have a network of online friends with similar food issues (my lactose and gluten intolerant wife certainly does) and once the word gets out that a restaurant can cater to these needs successfully, they will get flooded with additional business. In these tough economic times it pays to go this extra mile and this can make the difference between staying open or shutting down.

    My wife devotes energy researching what she can eat while keeping it palatable and enjoyable. Most restaurants she avoids, which curtails our going out to such places together. On the other hand when we find a restaurant with a friendly menu or friendly attitude, we become a repeat customer and tell all of our friends about it.

    The author of this clearly isn’t sympathetic to people with food allergies as he claims and is quite clueless about it. Suggesting they should avoid restaurants entirely reminds me of those who considered providing wheelchair access unnecessary, as if wheelchair-bound people should simply stay home and don’t deserve access.

  7. The tone in which this article is written is lamer than lame. I suggest all of you try ‘walking a mile in someone else’s shoes’. I also suggest doing serious research about Celiac Disease, how many people actually have the disease according to every source, including the NIH (National Institute of Health), and actually see what it’s like to spend at least a week living the way you have to in order to be able to get nutrition from your food(villi in your intestines are destroyed if you eat gluten when you have Celiac Disease making it literally impossible to get nutrition from ANY food you eat).

    I’ll give you a head start on the info— MORE THAN 2 MILLION PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY HAS CELIAC DISEASE AND ONLY 3% KNOW IT, SO MANY OF YOU WHO JUDGE WILL FIND YOURSELF WEARING THOSE OTHER SHOES SOON ENOUGH.

    Why do only 3% know? Because there’s no pharmaceutical for the cure, instead it’s just don’t eat gluten, so there’s no money interest in the medical community, therefor no pharm rep ‘teaching’ doctors about the disease (‘teaching=selling a product).

    Here’s a link for more info and to prove those statistics—http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

    PD— The spirit in which this article is written confirms why I don’t subscribe.

  8. try hospital food, save time and energy, go green. go niners!
    seems as if this particular topic would be better served on craigs list under the “rants and raves” section.
    OMG….I’m shocked as I just found out i’m allergic to water…WTF will I do?

    ……..Try the Animal Style Burger at “In n’ Out”….and BTW was the “diner” wearing a Helmet?

  9. The tone in which this article is written is lamer than lame. I suggest all of you try ‘walking a mile in someone else’s shoes’. I also suggest doing serious research about Celiac Disease, how many people actually have the disease according to every source, including the NIH (National Institute of Health), and actually see what it’s like to spend at least a week living the way you have to in order to be able to get nutrition from your food(villi in your intestines are destroyed if you eat gluten when you have Celiac Disease making it literally impossible to get nutrition from ANY food you eat).

    I’ll give you a head start on the info— MORE THAN 2 MILLION PEOPLE IN OUR COUNTRY HAS CELIAC DISEASE AND ONLY 3% KNOW IT, SO MANY OF YOU WHO JUDGE WILL FIND YOURSELF WEARING THOSE OTHER SHOES SOON ENOUGH.

    Why do only 3% know? Because there’s no pharmaceutical for the cure, instead it’s just don’t eat gluten, so there’s no money interest in the medical community, therefor no pharm rep ‘teaching’ doctors about the disease (‘teaching=selling a product).

    Here’s a link for more info and to prove those statistics—http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

    PD— The spirit in which this article is written confirms why I don’t subscribe.

  10. try hospital food, save time and energy, go green. go niners!
    seems as if this particular topic would be better served on craigs list under the “rants and raves” section.
    OMG….I’m shocked as I just found out i’m allergic to water…WTF will I do?

    ……..Try the Animal Style Burger at “In n’ Out”….and BTW was the “diner” wearing a Helmet?

  11. As a restaurant operator and a husband to a woman with a severe shellfish allergy, I understand the issue from both ends. However my wife has never put someone in a hard place just for a meal. She has an Epi pen and we carry allergy pills. If you call ahead or even alert a hostess/server before seating I will do my very best to ensure your safty. But If you show up with demands in my dining room, and think your grift is original, well you can kick rocks.

  12. As a restaurant operator and a husband to a woman with a severe shellfish allergy, I understand the issue from both ends. However my wife has never put someone in a hard place just for a meal. She has an Epi pen and we carry allergy pills. If you call ahead or even alert a hostess/server before seating I will do my very best to ensure your safty. But If you show up with demands in my dining room, and think your grift is original, well you can kick rocks.

  13. The card is so that if they get sick they can sue the crap out of the restaurant and benefit from the experience. It’s one thing if you let the restaurant know in advance, but this guy is an AH for showing up and then telling them they are this and that. What is the kitchen suppose to do, stop everything and cater to ONE guest? BS. If you are that sensitive find a place that caters to you otherwise don’t foist your crap on people that are trying to make a living and not worry about YOU.

  14. Funny …right now I’m suffering from an allergic reaction to last nights dinner at a well known Healdsburg restaurant. Nowhere on the menu did it describe the “Corn Salad” as having green and seeded jalapeno peppers chopped in it. I was talking;
    and on the second swallow discovered it……ruined my meal, and I was up all night and still suffering aftereffects. I think a good way is to describe EVERYTHING contained in a meal….down to the least iota, and for those with severe allergies confirm with the waiter. I fully acknowledge my lapse of judgment last night doing so myself.

  15. The card is so that if they get sick they can sue the crap out of the restaurant and benefit from the experience. It’s one thing if you let the restaurant know in advance, but this guy is an AH for showing up and then telling them they are this and that. What is the kitchen suppose to do, stop everything and cater to ONE guest? BS. If you are that sensitive find a place that caters to you otherwise don’t foist your crap on people that are trying to make a living and not worry about YOU.

  16. Funny …right now I’m suffering from an allergic reaction to last nights dinner at a well known Healdsburg restaurant. Nowhere on the menu did it describe the “Corn Salad” as having green and seeded jalapeno peppers chopped in it. I was talking;
    and on the second swallow discovered it……ruined my meal, and I was up all night and still suffering aftereffects. I think a good way is to describe EVERYTHING contained in a meal….down to the least iota, and for those with severe allergies confirm with the waiter. I fully acknowledge my lapse of judgment last night doing so myself.

  17. Puleese, if allergies are that bad, hire a personal chef and stay home. I have allergies to foods and many of them. Rather than “attention whore” at a restaurant, I eat at home or choose my restaurant carefully, knowing in advance what I can eat and not ever expecting a chef to create a dish for me on the fly. Asking a busy chef to cater to the special requirements of one patron is rude and over the top.

  18. Puleese, if allergies are that bad, hire a personal chef and stay home. I have allergies to foods and many of them. Rather than “attention whore” at a restaurant, I eat at home or choose my restaurant carefully, knowing in advance what I can eat and not ever expecting a chef to create a dish for me on the fly. Asking a busy chef to cater to the special requirements of one patron is rude and over the top.

  19. I think the important thing to remember is that restaurants and chefs on a busy night have to deal with so many issues. In this particular situation, the diner must remember that it is a business and not a personal chef situation. I can not emphasize enough (from years in the restaurant business perspective) how accommodating most establishments are (when they can be) and how important a call-ahead is for these types of special requests.

    Think about what you are asking and treat the restaurant and its employees with the same respect you would like to see in return.

    Jodi a/k/a tampawinewoman

  20. I think the important thing to remember is that restaurants and chefs on a busy night have to deal with so many issues. In this particular situation, the diner must remember that it is a business and not a personal chef situation. I can not emphasize enough (from years in the restaurant business perspective) how accommodating most establishments are (when they can be) and how important a call-ahead is for these types of special requests.

    Think about what you are asking and treat the restaurant and its employees with the same respect you would like to see in return.

    Jodi a/k/a tampawinewoman

  21. I have a food allergy. I politely ask the server to help me navigate the menu to something I can eat with out getting sick. I am clear with the server what I need to avoid and I order off the menu. I will ask them to omit a sauce that contains my problem allergen (peppers) but that is it. If it is an integral part of the recipe I eat something else. This person has issues beyond food allergies………

  22. I have a food allergy. I politely ask the server to help me navigate the menu to something I can eat with out getting sick. I am clear with the server what I need to avoid and I order off the menu. I will ask them to omit a sauce that contains my problem allergen (peppers) but that is it. If it is an integral part of the recipe I eat something else. This person has issues beyond food allergies………

  23. It is extremely annoying when individuals feeling so “entitled”. I think this person is just waiting to sue a restaurant and retire. Restaurants should have customers sign a document(drawn up by a lawyer) that indicates that the chef will not be held responsible if the customer’s dish is inadvertently tainted. If people do not call in advance, they should be charged extra for inconvenience to the kitchen, chef,etc. What an accomodating chef, and what an inconsiderate person!

    1. I was thinking the same thing! I was wondering if this was another version of that guy that used to go around suing restaurants and wineries for supposed ADA violations- generally settling out of court for $10-$30k a piece. You do this in a couple restaurants a week- that’s a nice little income you’ve got there! Doug Keane was TOO nice to accommodate this d-bag.

  24. It is extremely annoying when individuals feeling so “entitled”. I think this person is just waiting to sue a restaurant and retire. Restaurants should have customers sign a document(drawn up by a lawyer) that indicates that the chef will not be held responsible if the customer’s dish is inadvertently tainted. If people do not call in advance, they should be charged extra for inconvenience to the kitchen, chef,etc. What an accomodating chef, and what an inconsiderate person!

    1. I was thinking the same thing! I was wondering if this was another version of that guy that used to go around suing restaurants and wineries for supposed ADA violations- generally settling out of court for $10-$30k a piece. You do this in a couple restaurants a week- that’s a nice little income you’ve got there! Doug Keane was TOO nice to accommodate this d-bag.

  25. I can see being reasonably accomodating but this? Unbelievable how some people EXPECT to be catered to – put a sign on the door: “If you don’t like or can’t eat the food the way we make it here, take a hike!”
    Maybe someone should open up a restaurant devoted to people who truly have problems or cater to people who just have their heads up their rear!

  26. I can see being reasonably accomodating but this? Unbelievable how some people EXPECT to be catered to – put a sign on the door: “If you don’t like or can’t eat the food the way we make it here, take a hike!”
    Maybe someone should open up a restaurant devoted to people who truly have problems or cater to people who just have their heads up their rear!

  27. Horrah to Chef Doug for accommodating a selfish customer. It speaks volumes about him as a chef and leader.

    Having been a chef for many years, I have come across this all too often. I completely understand and respect food allergies, but to just suddenly appear and then THREATEN the restaurant has gone too far. You have life threatening allergies but you aren’t concerned enough to give me ANY notice? Really? Chef Doug did the right thing here, but not all chefs will, nor are all them them even capable of enough understanding to prepare the meal correctly. And this affects the other customers. The kitchen has to STOP and put all of it’s focus into one meal. On a busy night this means that tickets can back up to the point that it may take two or three times longer than normal to get meals out, and depending on the timing, it can set back your entire night. Is it really worth it (or even fair) to make an entire dining room wait while you feed ONE customer?

  28. I think at some point, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and not eat/order what we don’t like (?!?!) or are allergic to. Yes, that may limit our choices (of restaurants and dishes) – as it does when cooking at home – but to expect a restaurant to kowtow to these types of what seems like “demands” is rude – period!

    Asking if any of the offending ingredients are included in a dish is not. I am sorry that people have these issues but everything isn’t available to everyone. For instance, I can’t sing on key no matter how hard I try, so that life experience will just pass me by, unless I am in the shower. And I don’t drink red wine because of the sulfites.

  29. Truly unbelievable!
    As a cheese shop, we get many requests that are truly amazing, no cheese, no dairy, no wheat, no nuts and then I have to kindly suggest something to serve? Interesting times!
    Thanks for writing this and thanks Doug for sharing~

  30. What a nightmare. And what an accomodating chef! Just because of the butter issue, i can’t help but cynically wonder if this person is just being ‘high maintenance’. Even if accomadating requests, I would maybe deliver something from the kitchen in writing that disclaims responsibility of any allergic reaction.

  31. Horrah to Chef Doug for accommodating a selfish customer. It speaks volumes about him as a chef and leader.

    Having been a chef for many years, I have come across this all too often. I completely understand and respect food allergies, but to just suddenly appear and then THREATEN the restaurant has gone too far. You have life threatening allergies but you aren’t concerned enough to give me ANY notice? Really? Chef Doug did the right thing here, but not all chefs will, nor are all them them even capable of enough understanding to prepare the meal correctly. And this affects the other customers. The kitchen has to STOP and put all of it’s focus into one meal. On a busy night this means that tickets can back up to the point that it may take two or three times longer than normal to get meals out, and depending on the timing, it can set back your entire night. Is it really worth it (or even fair) to make an entire dining room wait while you feed ONE customer?

  32. I think at some point, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and not eat/order what we don’t like (?!?!) or are allergic to. Yes, that may limit our choices (of restaurants and dishes) – as it does when cooking at home – but to expect a restaurant to kowtow to these types of what seems like “demands” is rude – period!

    Asking if any of the offending ingredients are included in a dish is not. I am sorry that people have these issues but everything isn’t available to everyone. For instance, I can’t sing on key no matter how hard I try, so that life experience will just pass me by, unless I am in the shower. And I don’t drink red wine because of the sulfites.

  33. Truly unbelievable!
    As a cheese shop, we get many requests that are truly amazing, no cheese, no dairy, no wheat, no nuts and then I have to kindly suggest something to serve? Interesting times!
    Thanks for writing this and thanks Doug for sharing~

  34. What a nightmare. And what an accomodating chef! Just because of the butter issue, i can’t help but cynically wonder if this person is just being ‘high maintenance’. Even if accomadating requests, I would maybe deliver something from the kitchen in writing that disclaims responsibility of any allergic reaction.

  35. Just looked a few things up, out of curiosity.

    Milk allergy is a true, real, and potentially serious condition. It is different from lactose intolerance, which is usually only a problem if you consume a large quantity of milk or milk product. Lactose intolerance is actually a normal condition for much of the world’s population. It is not considered life-threatening, nor even a disease.

    But for someone with a true milk allergy, butter is definitely on the list of products NOT to be consumed. This makes me think this diner is a bit of a drama queen.

    Someone with a true and severe allergies to milk/shellfish/wheat, etc., should carry antihistamines and/or an Epinephrine pen with them, in case of accidental exposure.

    I would suggest that the next time someone presents this sort of card at entry, staff could politely ask to see the guest’s Ep[ pen and or antihistamines, while gently explaining that they will do their best but cannot guarantee that the premises are entirely free of these dangerous molecules, and that the guest is entering at their own risk. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the restaurateur to require the guest to carry this simple, life-saving medication if they state that they have severe, life-threatening allergies to common restaurant products.

  36. I was once a part of a large group that was going to a vegan restaurant. Not being a fan of fungi, and being fairly certain it would be a big part of the menu, I called the restaurant to ask about the menu. Yes, I was right, each course included mushrooms. So I told them, I don’t like them. They asked if I was allergic. I said no. They omitted them from dishes when able, but did not change the dish. When they couldn’t omit, i got something different. But the server still would serve it saying “this doesn’t have mushrooms because we understand you are allergic”…not allergic, just don’t like them. But the important part is that you do call in advance and let them know about your food likes and dislikes. And butter, sorry, that has milk in it so if you have an allergy to milk products, I think butter would be on the outs. This person sounds like they just wanted to “make themselves special”…and get away with it.

  37. Just looked a few things up, out of curiosity.

    Milk allergy is a true, real, and potentially serious condition. It is different from lactose intolerance, which is usually only a problem if you consume a large quantity of milk or milk product. Lactose intolerance is actually a normal condition for much of the world’s population. It is not considered life-threatening, nor even a disease.

    But for someone with a true milk allergy, butter is definitely on the list of products NOT to be consumed. This makes me think this diner is a bit of a drama queen.

    Someone with a true and severe allergies to milk/shellfish/wheat, etc., should carry antihistamines and/or an Epinephrine pen with them, in case of accidental exposure.

    I would suggest that the next time someone presents this sort of card at entry, staff could politely ask to see the guest’s Ep[ pen and or antihistamines, while gently explaining that they will do their best but cannot guarantee that the premises are entirely free of these dangerous molecules, and that the guest is entering at their own risk. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the restaurateur to require the guest to carry this simple, life-saving medication if they state that they have severe, life-threatening allergies to common restaurant products.

  38. Here at Farmhouse Inn we do find ways to accommodate almost any allergies and special diets but the chef absolutely must have advance notice. We actually had a guest one time who had such a severe shellfish allergy she did not want to eat from any plate or kitchen utensil that had ever touched shellfish? How to tackle that one??
    And a lot of people are allergic to cats and we have a resident mouser outdoor cat…a guest wanted a guarantee that the cat or any animal had NEVER been in the house. The house is over 100 years old…we had to tell her that we were fairly sure the house had an animal in it sometime during the last 100 years.
    Sometimes you just have to un-invite the guest…sadly.

  39. I was once a part of a large group that was going to a vegan restaurant. Not being a fan of fungi, and being fairly certain it would be a big part of the menu, I called the restaurant to ask about the menu. Yes, I was right, each course included mushrooms. So I told them, I don’t like them. They asked if I was allergic. I said no. They omitted them from dishes when able, but did not change the dish. When they couldn’t omit, i got something different. But the server still would serve it saying “this doesn’t have mushrooms because we understand you are allergic”…not allergic, just don’t like them. But the important part is that you do call in advance and let them know about your food likes and dislikes. And butter, sorry, that has milk in it so if you have an allergy to milk products, I think butter would be on the outs. This person sounds like they just wanted to “make themselves special”…and get away with it.

  40. my opinion is that restaurants should not create “special” meals for customers.
    if the customer wants a private chef then they should hire one.
    chefs are artists. to request that they change their recipe or menu is an insult.
    the restaurant could simply offer the customer a list of ingredients when asked.

  41. 1. If your allergies were truly life threatening, why would you put your life in the hands of a stranger just for a meal?

    2. This card screams, “….and if you don’t comply or even just mess up on accident, I will sue your pants off!” in which case why would a restauranteur want that kind of potential liability?

  42. I was on a Southwest flight recently where the flight attendant announced there would be no peanuts served because someone on the plane had a severe nut allergy. My dad leaned over and joked that he had a severe pretzel allergy, but it turns out we didn’t even get those. The passenger hadn’t let the airline know until s/he boarded, so ended up flying on a plane full of peanuts (with no alternative stocked for the rest of us). Moral of the story: don’t expect everyone to be considerate of your needs if you can’t be considerate of theirs. Call first!

    1. ITA – you have to be considerate of those who do not suffer from the same as you…or choose to eat in a different fashion. Unfortunately, most afflicted have now, through the ADA, feel that they are privileged in some way that those of us who are not, are not.

      1. The ADA has nothing to do with it. I know disabled people who go out of their way to not be a problem and I also know some who are total witches about it. Generalizing is always a bad idea

  43. In my previous life as a server, I saw quite a few of these cards. As annoying as they may be, they are preferable to writing down a list and taking it to the kitchen — too much danger of mistakes. It’s also good that the allergies listed are (for the most part – I’ve never heard of anybody being allergic to chocolate — maybe it’s not that they’re allergic to cocoa but just avoid it due to the risk of nut contact) real. Any server, chef, or other restaurant pro should know that nut allergies are among those that are legit and quite serious. However, there a lots of people who tell servers “I’m allergic to butter” which means they’re on a diet, or “I’m allergic to onions” or “I’m allergic to garlic” which means that they think they might get heartburn from it and so they want everything to be cooked from scratch, since stocks, sauces, etc, all have at least trace amounts of those. I once had an MD at a party ask for chicken to replace the fish that was ordered for him by the host. He said he was allergic to fish, so I said, really, there is such a thing as a fish allergy? Shellfish, yes, but I have never heard that about fish with fins. He smiled and admitted that he just didn’t feel like eating it that night.

    1. There is most definitely such a thing as a fish allergy. My husband will go into anaphylaxis if he has any kind of fin fish, but can eat shellfish all day long.

  44. I have a shellfish allergy. You know what, I go out of my way to make sure I don’t inconvenience people who eat shellfish. Luckily, it’s not hard to avoid.

    I am a firm believer that the onus is on the allergy sufferer, not the rest of the world. This person is somewhat out of control. And don’t restaurants have the right to refuse service? I have also witnessed people tell servers they have a life-threatening allergy in order to avoid foods they merely dislike. This gives real food allergy sufferers a bad rep. I don’t care how much you hate the taste of garlic or whatever. Don’t lie and say it will kill you. Just be honest. And rethink your restaurant choices.

  45. Wow, are you kidding me? If you’ve got that kind of serious allergy, why on earth would you make a reservation ANYWHERE without talking to the restaurant management first – as a courtesy to the restaurant, the restaurant’s customers, and your fellow diners? Unless, of course, you’re a) unbelievably self-centered or b) playing some sort of prank.

    I use the wipes too. I’ve seen way too many people nose-pick while pushing a shopping cart. I’m not interested in stranger-boogers (or worse).

  46. Here at Farmhouse Inn we do find ways to accommodate almost any allergies and special diets but the chef absolutely must have advance notice. We actually had a guest one time who had such a severe shellfish allergy she did not want to eat from any plate or kitchen utensil that had ever touched shellfish? How to tackle that one??
    And a lot of people are allergic to cats and we have a resident mouser outdoor cat…a guest wanted a guarantee that the cat or any animal had NEVER been in the house. The house is over 100 years old…we had to tell her that we were fairly sure the house had an animal in it sometime during the last 100 years.
    Sometimes you just have to un-invite the guest…sadly.

  47. I have been in the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. I work with food in many ways for many folks. I have personal relationships with many folks who have true and serious food allergies. I have almost put a friend into anaphylactic shock because I was not giving a meal my full attention one dinner gathering! I have worked in places where folks I know would come to eat specifically because they would not have to not only not “explain” things, but trusted me to assure they would have a wonderful experience and leave in comfort. This story is good for folks to think about because I think it is utterly ridiculous that someone should just show up and expect a restaurant to bow down to their personal needs without at the very least a polite conversation before hand, with the chef, or a manager at the very least!
    This behavior is selfish and disrespectful. This guest is quite fortunate that Cyrus is such a wonderfully hospitable place to accept such “conditions” of business and many kudos should be give to the entire staff and management of Cyrus for stepping up. I might not have accepted this person as a client without notice and even with my experience would have had a tough time adjusting things for just one person’s need when I needed to serve dozens at the same time.
    Personal responsibility and common courtesy should be one’s guide in such situations. Many clients/guests that I have worked with and other chefs I know deal with special dietary needs often, these days it is very trendy to have at least some, and with proper notice are usually easily accommodated! I am not trying to make light of serious allergies, or a person’s choice to consume only what they feel they need, but we as individuals do not have the right to negatively impact other’s experience just to enhance our own when in a public environment. Informing folks ahead of time about your needs and/or requirements is an entirely different situation.
    I am impressed, but not entirely surprised that Chef Keane and company not only accepted such a challenge, but seem to have met it (did the guest enjoy their meal?). I wonder if the guest truly appreciated, or understood what it took to provide them with such a meal!

  48. I’m sympathetic to the obvious dietary issues this person has, but this is a little over the top.

    A person I know who works for the Giants told me, they’ve received requests that the Giants clear and disinfect an entire section of the stadium for one person who has a peanut allergy.

    Sheesh!

  49. First of all, who carries around a card like that?

    One can only imagine. Probably similar to the small people who use those wipes on the grocery cart handles.

    Second, he should of grilled it a steak and served it with a glass of water and special request up-charge of $300.

    1. Um… I do use those wipes on the grocery handles. Are you kidding me? That is just nasty. And I also enjoy hand sanitizer on a pretty frequent basis after people in public places. At the same time, my refrigerator is often a petri-dish for odd things. I mean, as long as its my own filth…

      1. No, I am not kidding.

        It’s amazing that people survived prior to sanitizing wipes and Purell. The dumbest product ever created.

        Furthermore, if people fully understood cleanliness, they would starve to death.

        1. Remind me not to shake your hand. 🙂

          So when i had the pig poo covering my hands and couldn’t get to a sink, was it wrong to squirt a little sanitizer on them before eating a bag of almonds? I’m not a germphobe, but i do try to avoid ecoli when possible.

          1. Gross, yes, but there is serious wisdom to the old adage of “What does not kill you will make you stronger” especially with respect to your immune system. People don’t seem to understand the incredible danger we have created/are creating for future generations with the overuse of antibiotic type cleaners (chemical actions like cleaning with bleach do not have the same tendency to create resistant microbes). Some of the info about drug resistant microbes in India and other parts of the world (gyms, pedicure shops, hospitals..) are terrifying to me as I have survived a lower spine MRSA infection. Cleanliness is good, but antibiotics should be reserved for medical emergencies and not hand washing.

  50. my opinion is that restaurants should not create “special” meals for customers.
    if the customer wants a private chef then they should hire one.
    chefs are artists. to request that they change their recipe or menu is an insult.
    the restaurant could simply offer the customer a list of ingredients when asked.

  51. 1. If your allergies were truly life threatening, why would you put your life in the hands of a stranger just for a meal?

    2. This card screams, “….and if you don’t comply or even just mess up on accident, I will sue your pants off!” in which case why would a restauranteur want that kind of potential liability?

  52. I was on a Southwest flight recently where the flight attendant announced there would be no peanuts served because someone on the plane had a severe nut allergy. My dad leaned over and joked that he had a severe pretzel allergy, but it turns out we didn’t even get those. The passenger hadn’t let the airline know until s/he boarded, so ended up flying on a plane full of peanuts (with no alternative stocked for the rest of us). Moral of the story: don’t expect everyone to be considerate of your needs if you can’t be considerate of theirs. Call first!

    1. ITA – you have to be considerate of those who do not suffer from the same as you…or choose to eat in a different fashion. Unfortunately, most afflicted have now, through the ADA, feel that they are privileged in some way that those of us who are not, are not.

      1. The ADA has nothing to do with it. I know disabled people who go out of their way to not be a problem and I also know some who are total witches about it. Generalizing is always a bad idea

  53. In my previous life as a server, I saw quite a few of these cards. As annoying as they may be, they are preferable to writing down a list and taking it to the kitchen — too much danger of mistakes. It’s also good that the allergies listed are (for the most part – I’ve never heard of anybody being allergic to chocolate — maybe it’s not that they’re allergic to cocoa but just avoid it due to the risk of nut contact) real. Any server, chef, or other restaurant pro should know that nut allergies are among those that are legit and quite serious. However, there a lots of people who tell servers “I’m allergic to butter” which means they’re on a diet, or “I’m allergic to onions” or “I’m allergic to garlic” which means that they think they might get heartburn from it and so they want everything to be cooked from scratch, since stocks, sauces, etc, all have at least trace amounts of those. I once had an MD at a party ask for chicken to replace the fish that was ordered for him by the host. He said he was allergic to fish, so I said, really, there is such a thing as a fish allergy? Shellfish, yes, but I have never heard that about fish with fins. He smiled and admitted that he just didn’t feel like eating it that night.

    1. There is most definitely such a thing as a fish allergy. My husband will go into anaphylaxis if he has any kind of fin fish, but can eat shellfish all day long.

  54. I have a shellfish allergy. You know what, I go out of my way to make sure I don’t inconvenience people who eat shellfish. Luckily, it’s not hard to avoid.

    I am a firm believer that the onus is on the allergy sufferer, not the rest of the world. This person is somewhat out of control. And don’t restaurants have the right to refuse service? I have also witnessed people tell servers they have a life-threatening allergy in order to avoid foods they merely dislike. This gives real food allergy sufferers a bad rep. I don’t care how much you hate the taste of garlic or whatever. Don’t lie and say it will kill you. Just be honest. And rethink your restaurant choices.

  55. Wow, are you kidding me? If you’ve got that kind of serious allergy, why on earth would you make a reservation ANYWHERE without talking to the restaurant management first – as a courtesy to the restaurant, the restaurant’s customers, and your fellow diners? Unless, of course, you’re a) unbelievably self-centered or b) playing some sort of prank.

    I use the wipes too. I’ve seen way too many people nose-pick while pushing a shopping cart. I’m not interested in stranger-boogers (or worse).

  56. I have been in the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. I work with food in many ways for many folks. I have personal relationships with many folks who have true and serious food allergies. I have almost put a friend into anaphylactic shock because I was not giving a meal my full attention one dinner gathering! I have worked in places where folks I know would come to eat specifically because they would not have to not only not “explain” things, but trusted me to assure they would have a wonderful experience and leave in comfort. This story is good for folks to think about because I think it is utterly ridiculous that someone should just show up and expect a restaurant to bow down to their personal needs without at the very least a polite conversation before hand, with the chef, or a manager at the very least!
    This behavior is selfish and disrespectful. This guest is quite fortunate that Cyrus is such a wonderfully hospitable place to accept such “conditions” of business and many kudos should be give to the entire staff and management of Cyrus for stepping up. I might not have accepted this person as a client without notice and even with my experience would have had a tough time adjusting things for just one person’s need when I needed to serve dozens at the same time.
    Personal responsibility and common courtesy should be one’s guide in such situations. Many clients/guests that I have worked with and other chefs I know deal with special dietary needs often, these days it is very trendy to have at least some, and with proper notice are usually easily accommodated! I am not trying to make light of serious allergies, or a person’s choice to consume only what they feel they need, but we as individuals do not have the right to negatively impact other’s experience just to enhance our own when in a public environment. Informing folks ahead of time about your needs and/or requirements is an entirely different situation.
    I am impressed, but not entirely surprised that Chef Keane and company not only accepted such a challenge, but seem to have met it (did the guest enjoy their meal?). I wonder if the guest truly appreciated, or understood what it took to provide them with such a meal!

  57. I’m sympathetic to the obvious dietary issues this person has, but this is a little over the top.

    A person I know who works for the Giants told me, they’ve received requests that the Giants clear and disinfect an entire section of the stadium for one person who has a peanut allergy.

    Sheesh!

  58. First of all, who carries around a card like that?

    One can only imagine. Probably similar to the small people who use those wipes on the grocery cart handles.

    Second, he should of grilled it a steak and served it with a glass of water and special request up-charge of $300.

    1. Um… I do use those wipes on the grocery handles. Are you kidding me? That is just nasty. And I also enjoy hand sanitizer on a pretty frequent basis after people in public places. At the same time, my refrigerator is often a petri-dish for odd things. I mean, as long as its my own filth…

      1. No, I am not kidding.

        It’s amazing that people survived prior to sanitizing wipes and Purell. The dumbest product ever created.

        Furthermore, if people fully understood cleanliness, they would starve to death.

        1. Remind me not to shake your hand. 🙂

          So when i had the pig poo covering my hands and couldn’t get to a sink, was it wrong to squirt a little sanitizer on them before eating a bag of almonds? I’m not a germphobe, but i do try to avoid ecoli when possible.

          1. Gross, yes, but there is serious wisdom to the old adage of “What does not kill you will make you stronger” especially with respect to your immune system. People don’t seem to understand the incredible danger we have created/are creating for future generations with the overuse of antibiotic type cleaners (chemical actions like cleaning with bleach do not have the same tendency to create resistant microbes). Some of the info about drug resistant microbes in India and other parts of the world (gyms, pedicure shops, hospitals..) are terrifying to me as I have survived a lower spine MRSA infection. Cleanliness is good, but antibiotics should be reserved for medical emergencies and not hand washing.

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