Chefs are sensitive beasts, as tough and steamy as their profession may first suggest, they are very easily upset.
Working in a high stress, high heat environment makes you more prone to outbursts and chefs are famous for this – but what is it that really upsets them? What is it that really makes a chef want to come out to your table and smash the plate you’re currently eating from?
Below we’ve created a small list, six things that customers do that really upset chefs, from smoking after the first course to not bothering to cancel a reservation.
In the world of restaurants, especially fine dining, margins are tight. A no-show from a table of four can have a lasting impact on business and is one of the things that chefs hate the most. If you’re not showing up for your reservation call and tell the restaurant - even if you’re less than 24 hours from the booking, they still have a better chance of filling your spot than when they realise you’re not arriving 20 minutes after you're supposed to be there. No shows really are the worst.
Arriving Just Before Close
This is really going to upset the kitchen – do not think that a meal made at 11.30pm is the same as one prepared at the start of service – it’s just not. The kitchen is tired, the best ingredients have been fired and they have already turned on ‘go home’ mode. An order made at this time will arrive looking fine, but you won’t taste the love.
Smoking Between Courses
This is sure to upset the kitchen for a few simple reasons. First: they have probably had to slow down their work flow so your course is served while you’re sitting down – this has a knock on effect on all their other tables. Second: smoking totally messes up your taste – you’ll never pick up on those subtle notes the kitchen spent many hours refining.
There’s a reason diners are advised to order menus for the whole table – it’s the only way the kitchen can serve a large tasting menu with perfect precision. You deciding you want to eat three courses off the classic menu and six off the innovation menu, while your dining companion wants one classic and eight innovations – minus the fish – is sure to upset the kitchen. You’re just making a hard job even harder.
Making Up an Allergy
Chefs hate this, but mainly because customers these days like to say they have an allergy to avoid certain ingredients. If you have a serious allergy then tell the chef, if you don’t like eggs, don’t pretend they’ll kill you – just order something without eggs. Nothing worse than the customer who stresses their terrible gluten allergy only to forget all about it when the cake stand is wheeled in front of them.
Asking Stupid Questions
Chefs now field all sorts of different questions from customers who are keen to know more about the food they’re eating. A well placed question allows a chef to share more about their idea or particular dish and also shows a customer to be a well travelled diner. A bad one, well, a stupid question like, is the vanilla in this soufflé from Madagascar? When the sponge cake in question doesn’t even contain vanilla – is sure to send an already stressed chef over the edge.