Photos: @patrickfriesen, Instagram
Chefs and many food service employees are growing increasingly frustrated as more and more picky customers are claiming to suffer life-threatening allergies so they can order customized meals.
Chef Patrick Friesen, an award-winning chef from the Sydney Asian eatery Queen Chow, believes chefs are often being lied to by people who are simply on a trendy diet.
Friesen vented on social media about the new fad, sharing a photo of the food demands that his kitchen is flooded with on a daily basis.
“Can people with dietary requirements start knowing what you can and can’t eat?” the post begins.
Can people with dietary requirements start knowing what you can and can’t eat? Shellfish allergy but loves oyster sauce. Gluten free but loves gluten as long as it’s not a piece of bread. Vegetarians that love a chicken wing. Pescatarians who eat chicken. Sort your shit out and let your waiter know. You make it really damn hard for people with actual allergies and dietaries to go out to eat.
Friesen elaborates on the reasons for his frustration about some customers, stating “Shellfish allergy but loves oyster sauce. Gluten free but loves gluten as long as it’s not a piece of bread. Vegetarians that love a chicken wing. Pescatarians who eat chicken. Sort your sh*t out and let your waiter know. You make it really damn hard for people with actual allergies and dietaries to go out to eat.”
With kitchens being bombarded with so many “fake” allergy claims, genuine food allergy sufferers’ have reasons to fear that their requests for special dietary meals won’t be taken seriously.
According to Maria Said of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, the large spike in customized meal requests has led to a kitchen culture in which chefs can become complacent to genuine allergies. This is dangerous because any slip-up could kill a person that suffers from anaphylaxis, but she agrees that chefs are in a no win situation.
Friesen’s rant received many responses, with many people siding with the disgruntled chef and people with true food allergies.
One person wrote, “Many people I know claim to be allergic to something when all it is, is that they don’t want to eat specific things. Like this gluten free thing going on right now. I don’t mean the people who are actually ALLERGIC to gluten, I mean the people who say they are because they have jumped on to the gluten free band wagon. I was out dining with a friend and she told the waiter she was allergic to gluten. After he left with our order I asked her, “Since when are you allergic to gluten? It’s news to me.” She replied, “Oh, I’m not. I just started this new gluten free eating thing.” Then, don’t say you’re allergic. Simply say that you are trying to cut gluten out of your diet. Don’t lie about something serious.”
Another person commented, “I won’t lie: I have no food allergies, and that does annoy me. However, you can’t just disregard a patron’s request. If you’re willing to risk killing a person with actual allergies because of a bunch of attention-seeking a**holes, then you’re no better than those a**holes.”
And one response sums it up our sentiments clearly. “As a parent of kids with real food allergies Thank You! And my chef sister thanks you too.”