Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kitchen Tales- what the general public get up too when they eat out.

I feel like I need a regular little segment here at chunky chooky. Most days Chef comes home from work and tells me all these great stories about working in hospitality and I want to share them with you, because they are so good! So I have decided to start writing the ridiculous and bizarre requests asked of my Mr, a Chef in a lovely cafe/ gallery in a little town in Australia. In will be called Kitchen Tales and here is the first installment.
NOT the kitchen where Chef works I just always like to have a picture...

The usual decaf- skim- latte does annoy him as he is fond of mocking this saying you may as well have water hardy har har- this is often what I drink I can get a wee bit anxious if I have more than one coffee a day- I am so hardcore but here are some real doozies:

A woman asked for her coffee to be served at exactly 60 degrees celcius. Her mouth is special.
Someone wanted to bring in their own coffee they got in Indonesia and have it made there as they didn't have a coffee machine at home.

Fussy eaters:
A guy comes in and he is allergic to tomato, potato, eggplant, he is vegetarian, gluten free, no salt or pepper, no olive oil, no butter, no dairy at all, no herbs, no spices, no garlic, no chilli etc etc etc etc Chef offers him a green salad he kind of screws his nose up and Chef says if you come back tomorrow I will have something special for you. So the next day he comes in. Chef, always up for the challenge,  makes him a vegie stack on polenta without any butter or cheese which is, apparently crucial to a good polenta ( and incidently I have seen many a person say they don't like polenta until they eat Chefs polenta then they are converted) and a green leaf salad with lemon juice. He even made a special stock with just the vegies he could eat etc...Chef is pretty happy with himself and the amount of effort he went to to accommodate this guy so when he finishes  he asks the guy how his meal was, the reply: "it was a bit bland."

have you worked in hospitality? Do you remember any bizarre requests? What use to make you go crazy?


  1. A friend of mine owns a cafe in Brisbane and she has very similar stories to tell. One theme of her stories is about the folks that will eat most of their meal before sending it back to the kitchen saying they don't like it and then not paying! What's that all about?!?

  2. Oh man, I would have punched him!!!

    I used to work in a cafe and some parents used to always come in and order their small daughter a bowl of strawberries with a side of mayonnaise.. I still think that is weird.

  3. The hospitality industry is my worst nightmare. I worked in restaurants, cafes, pubs, cafeterias, nightclubs, motels and reception centres part time from the age of 13 through to 22. Dealing with silly customers is the absolute pits - I'd rather be the dishwasher out the back!
    When I go out, I'm always sure to be especially nice to the waiting staff, and I never make a fuss. Even if the food is horrible, I just pay and leave. I've copped far too much abuse over the years and I just feel sorry for them being picked on.

  4. A foodie friend of mine has recently been diagnosed with fructose and lactose malabsorption, and what he can now eat would be a shorter list than what he can't. It completely sucks, because wheat, onions and milk products are now on the banned list. Matt would be so very happy if a chef went completely out of their way to make him something yummy that he could actually eat! Because he knows how difficult it is to come up with good stuff! Thanks for trying, chef, even if it was pathetically underappreciated :-)

  5. ohh, how funny!
    I know the scenario all too well.
    well done on chef for making him a fab meal. i know chefs thrive on pleasing someone & like to win the challenge. i would have loved the "bland" meal.
    i think I'm gonna like your KT's

  6. Great stories...although slightly depressing :( I feel so bad for Chef! haha...

    When I worked in retail I got some weird customers, but I've never worked in a cafe. I look forward to hearing more stories!

  7. Let's see...
    Too many stories of crazy customers to count.
    A lady orders a cappuccino, wants it a certain temp. then asks that I put the espresso in one cup and the steamed milk in another cup. When I tell her I will have to charge her for an espresso and a steamed milk, she loses it and starts screaming.
    Or the guy who insisted that there was dill in a dish (there wasn't) and he couldn't eat dill. So I bring him something else which he also insists has dill in it. When I try to assure him that there is no dill in the restaurant, he throws his plate of food on the floor and tells me to eat it. perfect.

    Looking forward to more kitchen tales. Some people just can't be pleased.

  8. How about the mum who asked for a babyccino to be made for her daughter from her own breastmilk.....true. story.

  9. Ohhh, I now love Chef too! I'm vegan and I know it can be hard for some places to accommodate that, if anyone put that much effort in I would be completely blown away! Go Chef!

    I've never worked in hospitality but I do work in retail...I always find it hilarious when someone comes up to the counter with two books and says, "Do I get a discount for buying in bulk?"

  10. a breastmilk babycino, oh my goodness!! how funny.

    i love the new segment...chef stories sound v.amusing

    i briefly worked in hospitality when i travelled overseas, it was very brief, after a few days working in a bar/cafe on an island in scotland i was told that i was good with the customers but somewhat lacking in my actual bar duties...so i quit and moved to london :-)

  11. ...and then there are the really fun stories...

    like the Masturbating Marauder or, the man who screamed in the middle of the cafe, "There will be no more graffiti in the bathroom, or you will all die!!!", or the woman who had to 'bless' me and the espresso machine before I made her coffee (which would have been ok but for the fact that she had Tourettes Syndrome and as she blessed me, she also cursed uncontrollably).
    I guess you could say that I've worked at a lot of "colorful" places or, people are strange.

  12. Oh, great segment! There are some very unhappy people in the world, that's all I can say! I have too many to remember, really, spent a while working in the high roller's room at Star City in Sydney- you can imagine the wierd requests!

  13. What a lovely Mr Chef ... and aaaah hospitality ... so many stories, so little time ... like when I worked in a restaurant in edinburgh and a man whilst abusing me said 'Do you know who I am??? I'm Lord Fothington Smythe (or whatever!)... he thought the chef had deliberately added chilli to his dish because he supposedly knew he was allergic to it ....hmmmmmm....

  14. My husband is a chef - I understand!


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