Dear Chefs and Wait Staff:
We who embrace this diet want to expand our opportunities to eat with omnivorous friends without the subject of diet becoming a central part of the meal. We deeply appreciate being able to quietly select items from the menu with confidence and without having to quiz you, the wait staff. We also deeply appreciate when you understand what items we do not want in our food and are knowledgeable about some nuances. It helps when you ask leading questions that help us make decisions. (For instance volunteering “Our iced tea is pre-
made using honey, but the lemonade is sweetened with agave.”)
As with any dietary preference, some folks are more “strict” or draw their lines of comfort in different places.
We do not eat any product what came from an animal including red meat, chicken/poultry, fish, shellfish, milk/cheese/cream from cows or goats, eggs, or honey from bees. Some of us do not like to have our meals cooked in the same cook top or pan or oil that was used to cook animal products. For instance, some may not like to have tofu that is deep fried in the same oil used to fry shrimp. (We may ask if you can cook in a clean pan.) There are hidden ingredients that concern us, such as fish sauce used in some Asian foods, gelatin used in desserts, chicken broth used to cook steamed rice, the use of egg noodles, or a few teaspoons or milk used to start the yeast rising for pizza dough.
It helps us when wait staff can anticipate our needs because they know how the food is made and what tricky items we may want to know about. It also helps when you know what we can use as substitutes and when you let the chef know we prefer changes like the use of oil, rather than butter or animal fat for our sautee.
If your chefs would like to discuss alternative ways to prepare their signature dishes or new dishes (for instance egg, fat, and dairy substitutes), we have many knowledgeable members who would be pleased to speak with them as a courtesy.
Thank you all for your patience and understanding.