Chow Bella

Should a Chef Alter a Signature Menu Item If a Customer Requests It?

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Rebecca Golden Owner, 32 Shea

YES: We do make alternations, but it's an uphill battle that we struggle with. On one hand, we don't want to change what we feel is perfect, but on the other, it's not worth an argument. Plus, it's possible the request is because of a food allergy. I try to suggest another item if I know what they are changing is not going to taste good. That's the best way I've been able to deal with these types of requests.

Joe Johnston, owner, Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Fresh Farm Grill, Liberty Market, Agritopia

SOMETIMES: We balance passion for our food and we serve from the heart. Whatever we can do that satisfies both within the constraints of our food preparations systems we will do. We can't change the type of wood we smoke our meats with, but we're willing to delete and add toppings to signature pizzas. It's important not to become obstinate just for the sake of ego, nor a panderer that disgraces the food.

Bill Sandweg Owner, Copper Star Coffee and Circle H Barbecue

NO: I won't do it again for a long time. I got burned a couple of months ago when somebody asked for our cold cheese dip to be microwaved. Then, when they hated it, they put a picture of this melt-y pile of cheese goo up on their food blog and criticized us for it.

Christopher Gross Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge

YES: As long as it's within reason. People go out to have a good time and often they have a dietary restriction, or just don't care for a particular ingredient. I feel it's a nice way to show customer appreciation.

Justin Micatrotto Co-Owner, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers Restaurant

NO: Part of the dining experience is allowing yourself the vulnerability to trust someone's creation. You can always send it back.

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Laura Hahnefeld
Contact: Laura Hahnefeld