‘Bizarre’ requests Mideast chefs get from diners

By Sheena Amos

Can you make an omelette without an egg?

DUBAI 19 September 2017: 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 The Hotel Show Dubai 2017 has discovered the truly bizarre world of personalised 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 tartare served well-done. In an even more alarming instruction, another chef recalled a stomach churning demand from one group.

Bizarre Requests 

He explained: “One day, at our café restaurant, a table of guests were 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.

Pet Stories

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.”

The Hotel Show Dubai is taking place (18-20th September 2017) at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The three-day event encompasses six hospitality and food service trade shows under one roof: The Hotel Show and The Leisure Show, owned and organised by dmg events; GulfHost, The Speciality Food Festival and Seafex Middle East owned and organised by DWTC; and yummex ME, jointly organised by DWTC and Kölnmesse.