Helena Poulakka is the executive chef at London’s Nordic-French restaurant Aster
Ask for Tabasco in a fine dining restaurant. It’s just blasphemy.
Richard Bainbridge, chef and proprietor of British restaurant Benedicts in Norwich
The worst thing a diner can do is put salt and pepper on their food before they have even tried it. Seasoning is individual to palate, but they could at least give it a go first. Taking photos of food is also a new dining trend that needs to disappear, just enjoy your meal!
Lee Skeet runs a self-titled pop-up restaurant.
The worst thing a customer has done with us is to be dishonest or rude. All our meals are ticketed, and are a set tasting menu. We don’t really cater to dietary requirements unless it’s pre-arranged at the time of booking. We had a guest who turned up on the night and told us they were gluten free and couldn’t eat three of the six set courses so wanted substitutions, which we didn’t have. The menu was published months ahead and the guest had booked based on the menu.
When our manager discussed the issue the guest told us they had selected a gluten free menu when booking online, which was a lie and in fact we have never offered any such option. They also told the manager to go to a shop and get something. We try to be understanding and fair to everybody, and are extremely grateful for all of our guests, but when somebody is lying to your face repeatedly and you know it, it’s incredibly arrogant and patronising!
Ani Arora, the head chef at Nirvana Kitchen, an Asian fusion restaurant.
Be rude to the staff. I have so much respect for my colleagues, and find it hard when they have to handle this kind of behaviour.