As fellow Westword writer Tyler Nemkov now has tattooed on his body, (along with a giant carrot) "There's no accounting for taste." He interpreted it an a sappy, emotional way, but also as it relates to food.
Tyler's example was cooking a steak to a perfect medium rare per a guest's request, only to put it under the salamander for an up-temp, also per the same guest's request. Certainly, there is no accounting for guests who don't even know their own tastes. But we can definitely mock them.
Even though diners put a certain amount of trust in chefs to create an appetizing dish, ultimately, their preferences will win out. Paying customers are entitled to have food prepared how they want it to a certain degree, but sometimes I want to save them from themselves. This goes beyond the sick-minded people who put ketchup on everything. These requests are odd, disgusting and might destroy your meal.
Mayonnaise on fries: Knock it off. It's sick. I don't care if that's how they do it in Europe. Slopping mayo on your fries doesn't make you cultured, it makes you fat.
Well done steaks: If you're in a nice steakhouse, ordering a cut that's $20 or more, go medium or below. Substitute the word "ruined" for "well done," because that's what you're doing. Server: "How would you like your steak cooked?" Idiotic customer: "I'll take that ruined."
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Coffee with dinner: Wine has the ability to enhance a dish. Coffee does the opposite. Notice how everything you eat kind of tastes like coffee? That's a bad thing, especially if you paid good money for a subtle fish or vegetable dish. You know why you've never seen a Dover sole with a coffee sauce on the menu at a respectable restaurant? Because no one in their right mind would buy a dish guaranteed to be awful. Sugar for black beans: I've heard this more than once and I have no words to describe how perplexed the request makes me. I probably would make the same face if the guest asked me for a side of live frog. Dirty rum martini: It's not food, but it's equally offensive to taste buds. If this was listed on a drink menu it would be called "Piss in a glass."
Ketchup on everything: It's sugary tomato paste, and it sucks.