Being a chef is a pretty tough gig. You work long hours in a roasting hot kitchen only for people to moan at you that the steak isn’t cooked right, or that they think there’s too much salt in the sauce. It’s a pretty thankless task, and it only gets more difficult when allergies come into the equation.
Chefs often have to cater to allergies, and one chef has taken to social media to vent at the amount of orders he receives from people with “fake allergies”. Head chef Patrick Friesen, who works at Queen Chow in Sydney, Australia, posted a photo on Instagram of a number of tickets from customers who said they had allergies to certain foods but still ordered items with those ingredients in.
In his rant, Patrick particularly calls out those customers who have a “shellfish allergy but love oyster sauce” and those who are “gluten-free but love gluten as long as it’s not a piece of bread”. The rant is pretty explicit, and the full post reads:
“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.”
The post has attracted a lot of attention, with many people agreeing with the chef, while others criticise his stance on the issue. A variety of commenters said that they have legitimate allergies to certain foods but get treated as a pain by waiting staff due to the fact that it has become “trendy” to be allergic to things. Other commenters said that the chef was wrong for taking his standpoint and said that he needs to get clued up on allergies a little bit more, with one writing: “I’m allergic to seafood and shellfish but love oyster sauce. Take a look at the manufacturing process at how many of the compounds are destroyed. Get educated!”
Speaking to the local press, Fiesel said that he felt he needed to share the photo because his mum has coeliac disease and is genuinely allergic to several ingredients, unlike the people he is calling out in the post.
“You have these people who come in on a first date and they say ‘I’m allergic to onions’ because they just don’t want to have onion breath.
“And we say ‘well, it’s an Asian restaurant, you know there are onions in pretty much everything’ … or eschalots or onion powder or whatever. And then they say ‘oh OK it’s fine. I’ll just eat everything’. So clearly it’s not an allergy at all.
“And for the kitchen it can be torture. Especially when we have real allergies to be concerned about.”
Is Fiesel right for taking this stance? There’s no doubt that there does seem to be a growing trend of people saying they’re allergic to things when they’re not, and that this must be insanely annoying for those who do have severe allergies… but maybe he could’ve been a little less savage with his post.