Josh Ozersky has written on his carnivorous exploits for Time, Esquire and now Food & Wine; he has authored several books, including The Hamburger: A History; and he is the founder of the Meatopia food festival. Follow him on Twitter @OzerskyTV.
Chefs are not, for the most part, happy people. Let's get that out of the way. They work long hours, they have hardly any home lives to speak of and they spend their whole day being mad at people who hate them right back.
It's a rough job. But it doesn't make it any easier when diners (in their minds, anyway) go out of their way to make them miserable. And while there are many ways diners can make chefs hate them, these five are surely near the top of the list.
Argh! The chef's bowels churn with frustration, and it is all he can do not to burn the thing to a cinder in retribution. Even worse is the lady who orders a steak well-done and then complains that it's dry and chewy.
Now some oaf wants to swap out the pomme puree for carrots, or wants the sauce in a little container on the side, or some other ludicrous request. It might be OK on a slow night, but on a busy one it just makes for pandemonium.
The Bubble Boy
Kenny Shopsin, the famously irascible New York cook, claims that the tipping point came for him some years back when a lady who claimed to be lactose intolerant ordered a burrito and a side of pancakes, despite the fact that the latter is mostly milk. “[H]er need to make her burrito special was not about...being able to drink milk. It was her need for control.” Shopsin kicked out the lady and her whole table; but most chefs don't have that luxury. They can only seethe.
The Inspector General
Encouraged by some health-forum screed, or the idle chatter of their equally annoying peers, this bunch pretends that they aren't going to order whatever the answer is, and - like Kenny Shopsin's burrito lady - are seen by the kitchen as control freaks. To make matters worse, this bunch often overlaps with the food-intolerance crowd.
Of course, this is just the short list. The long list is still being written, and will only end when the last restaurant goes out of business, or the last chef dies of aggravation.
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
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