Chefs in the Middle East have revealed the most unusual requests they’ve been given from hungry diners – and the revelations may just disprove the old adage that the customer is always right!
A survey conducted ahead of next week’s The Hotel Show Dubai 2017 has discovered the truly bizarre world of personalized dishes the region’s chefs have been asked to cook-up for guests.
And it is safe to say our culinary experts always do go that extra mile, unless – of course – it comes to whipping-up something that could potentially put the diner at risk!
Starting with the simply unusual, dozens of hotel and restaurant chefs admitted that not all guests seek dishes cooked as per their most basic requirements. One chef reported being asked to cook an omelet with no eggs, for example, satisfying the guest with a fried tofu creation he called an “omelet lookalike”. Another was left scratching his head when a customer requested tomato soup – but that it be kept tomato free!
Elsewhere, one diner was adamant on having steak tartar served well-done. In an even more alarming instruction, another chef recalled a stomach churning demand from one group.
He explained: “One day, at our café restaurant, a table of guests was requesting chicken breasts to be cooked medium-rare. Of course the waiter was the first to explain that as per food safety regulations we were unable to deliver their expectations, but at the end I had to interrupt personally and explain that chicken will only be served well-done.”
Other culinary challenges posed have come from customers seeking somewhat alternative tastes. One chef was tasked with plating-up the interesting combination of grilled Dover sole with sauerkraut and chocolate sauce. Another was asked to bake tiramisu without any sugar.
As expected in the GCC, the requests naturally edge into the extravagant too. While most diners would maybe balk at the price of a delicious Wagyu beef steak, to others its pet food – quite literally. One hotel chef recalled being tasked with cooking the famous Japanese meat to meet the dietary requirements of a visiting pooch! Not only that, but he was also asked to gather bottled water and a litre of farmer’s full fat milk for the same pet – this time for its bath, to ensure its coat stayed “soft and shiny”.
Another chef revealed he had gone to similar lengths for one customer’s cat. He said: “A guest asked for chicken cubes to be grilled on the fire for her cat. She was insistent that I knew that her cat didn’t like garlic and the chicken had to be nice and brown.”
At The Hotel Show Dubai, taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, trends in F&B are on the agenda at The Middle East Hospitality Leadership Forum, sponsored by SOBHA Interiors.
Speaking on the panel discussion “Can an hotelier ever create as compelling an F&B proposition as a restaurateur? Calculating the most effective route to attract the right type of guests into your property,” will be Joey Ghazal, Founder & Managing Partner, The MAINE Oyster Bar & Grill; Ramzy Abdul-Majeed, Co-Founder, Whissle/OKKU; Stephen Meredith, General Manager, Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay; and Francis Desjardins, General Manager, Fairmont Ajman.
The Hotel Show Dubai is taking place as part of Dubai International Hospitality Week (DIHW). The Dubai Tourism endorsed event, organized by dmg events and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.
The three-day event encompasses six hospitality and foodservice trade shows under one roof: The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, owned and organized by dmg events; GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival and SEAFEX Middle East owned and organized by DWTC; and yummex ME, jointly organized by DWTC and Kölnmesse.