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Mar 5, 2013 08:40 PM

Interesting, short interview with Chef Katie Grebow of (board favorite) Cafe Chloe

I found her take on substitutions and allergies esp. poignant.

And she likes K Sandwiches. I think I have a chef-crush!

It's a good read ...

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  1. "I found her take on substitutions and allergies esp. poignant."


    1. I am more into Shook/Dotolo approach (absolutely no substitutions - the customer is not always right). AndI don't think it is the best approach if Katie thinks that "We're happy to tell you if there's garlic in a sauce and use something else instead if you just don't like the taste of garlic" - if somebody doesn't like garlic than order something without garlic in the dish but don't ask it to be left out.

      3 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        Agreed, Herr Honkman. Never understood the idea of ordering something from a menu, but then completely perverting it.

        Order something different, Sally.

        {film reference to When Harry Met Sally}

        1. re: honkman

          Generally when a good chef puts a menu together with very specific ingredients, they put them together because they complement each other or give a intended contrast. When someone changes the ingredients aside from allergies, they aren't getting the foodie experience intended by the chef and it's almost pointless at that point to even go to a chef menu place. If I were a chef I'd personally feel insulted.

          1. re: honkman

            "Can I have the Salmon with lemon dill sauce but with Halibut instead and no lemon but extra dill on the side, please?"

            Totally concur with you Honkman ...

          2. It's very easy to have a strong opinion about food intolerances if you don't suffer from one. If you don't think restaurants should accomodate them you're basically telling people who suffer from them to stay at home and not eat out, which is a ridiculous expectation.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Josh

              No I'm not.

              I'm saying those with food allergies must realize an allergy will limit their choices. I think that's reasonable.

              It's not the duty of a restaurant to accommodate all palates and all preferences at all times in all ways. Some may offer selections that will work with allergies, but it is up to the diner to choose a restaurant that works within their requirements.

              Most restaurants publish their menu on their website. Those establishments offering the widest range of accommodations will enjoy the widest range of clientele. Those that choose to offer fewer accommodations will limit the number of diners available as customers.

              It's their choice.

              It would be silly of me to choose a restaurant who's speciality is coffee and grapefruit (vile foods) and feel entitled to demand a carne asada burrito.

              1. re: Fake Name

                Obviously it's a restaurant's right to refuse to make modifications or substitutions just as it's my right as a customer to inquire about them. I guess what bothers me about the tone here is the idea that there's something wrong with asking in the first place.

                1. re: Josh

                  It's nothing wrong to ask about it if you have severe allergies (but people should understand that they don't have a right to get modified dishes at any restaurants). But I have seen often enough that people ask for modifications just because they pretend to have an allergy (which if you ask them they tell you are not even sure if they really have) or just because they don't like a component of the dish. I read recently that there are estimations that only about 5% of all cases in restaurants where people ask for substitutions are most likely justified based on allergies everything else is just convenience based.

                  1. re: honkman

                    I think it happens because people feel that unless they say it's an allergy their request won't be honored.

                    1. re: Josh


                      So lying would be OK in that circumstance.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        I'm not saying it's OK. I'm explaining why it likely happens.

                        1. re: Josh

                          Thus the point. It shouldn't and I believe it is what Grebow was saying.

            2. I still remember having a meal with someone who requested omissions/substitutions on a dish and then spent the entire time eating the meal complaining about how it tasted. If you omit the anchovies or the bacon maybe that will change the taste in a bad way. After all, that's why they are in the dish to start with.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ed Dibble

                My first use of the recommend feature :p