Chow Bella

10 Metro Phoenix Chefs on The Strangest Requests They've Ever Received

Sure, we all ask for a menu adjustment here and there. Maybe sauce on the side. Or sausage instead of bacon. But when you work in the restaurant industry, you've probably heard far stranger requests than the average diner can even imagine.

From customers who asked for raw meat to those that want only Jell-O (and a lot of it), here are the weirdest things guests have requested of 10 metro Phoenix chefs

What's the strangest request you've ever received from a diner?

Rebecca Tillman, chef of Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort 

I had a guest who told me she was on the "red fruit diet." She only ate tomatoes, strawberries, red apples, raspberries, and red grapes. Not sure how long that diet lasted.

Aaron Pool, chef and owner of Gadzooks 

A customer came in for dinner and had clearly smoked a recreational substance. He asked to have a salad and proceeded toward adding toppings. He chose to add several ladles of soup on top of his salad. Kinda looked like a swamp. After his meal, he said, “Bro, probably dankest meal I’ve ever had.” True story.

Chris Knouse, chef de cuisine at Litchfield’s at The Wigwam Resort

A raw, 16-ounce rib-eye steak on a cold plate. #yum

Samantha Sanz, chef of Talavera 

Two strange requests come to mind. The first one, I was working the line at a restaurant, and the ticket printed out in front of me, and it said branzino [a type of fish] VEGAN. I looked at the server and was like, ["What?"] The other request was from a guest who had recently had surgery and had been in the hospital for the past month. They came in for dinner, and I had to run their entire meal through a blender and liquefy it. He ordered the scallop dish and it was such a shame, but I understand he wanted to get away from the bland food at the hospital and just craved a tasty meal.   

Garrison Whiting, Executive Chef of Counter Intuitive and Sous Chef of Cowboy Ciao

I’ve heard more strange guest requests than I can remember, but one of the weirdest ones was having us cook the smoked salmon before putting it in their salad. It looked and smelled like canned cat food.

Travis King, chef of Bottled Blonde

One that I always get a chuckle from was early in my career. When I was still living and working in Virginia, a guy came into my kitchen and asked if I would cook some fish for him. I said yes, and next thing I know this guy drops a 30-pound yellowfin tuna on my table and says, “Can you blacken and grill it please?” I gave this guy a look of disbelief and a sarcastic chuckle and after some negotiations – do you know how much work gutting and cleaning a big fish is? – I managed to keep almost half the tuna for my efforts. Needless to say, we both enjoyed the fresh catch, and he never brought me a whole fish again, just pre-cut steaks.

Julie Moreno, owner and chef of Jewel's Bakery and Cafe

For us, nothing is very strange anymore. People walk into Jewel’s saying, “I need a vegan cake tomorrow, but no coconut. I’m also allergic to arrowroot, red food coloring, and potatoes. Oh, and can you also draw a half-naked bro on my cake?” We just nod and say, “Sure, does the bro need a bro hat on?” 

Jacques Qualin, chef of J&G Steakhouse 

We do get quite a few of them and we always try to accommodate them the best we can, but besides the people who wants their pork or chicken rare (which we can’t do for health reasons), we once had a guest ask us to roll his filet steak in dark sugar and serve it with a side of chocolate sauce.

Jake Stucky, chef of Topgolf Gilbert

I once had a diner who asked for a very well-done steak and told the server to tell the chef to “overcook it to shoe leather.” I cooked his steak for about 30 minutes on the grill and in the oven, and he sent it back saying it wasn’t done enough, and requested that we deep fry his filet. After about 20 minutes in the fryer, we served it to him, and he proudly exclaimed that it was the best steak he had ever had!

Rick Dupere, executive chef of Kitchen West Restaurant at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch

I had a guest request a bathtub full of Jell-O once. That was a good one!
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Teresa is a writer, editor, traveler, and food enthusiast. She loves chocolate, espresso, and Chihuahuas.
Contact: Teresa Traverse