Where’s Gordon Ramsay when I need him?

Today I had brunch. Today I ordered scrambled eggs with home fries. Today I received a plate of half raw, half burnt home fries and two eggs made into an unseasoned omelette. This is the second time this year that I’ve ordered eggs and been served something with no salt, no pepper, no parsley — not even as garnish. And when I’ve complained, I’ve been told, “You didn’t ask for that.”

Seriously?

The first season-less omelette was whisked away from me when it was clear that I wasn’t going to accept the “You didn’t ask for that” response. The cook came to my table and asked what was wrong with the eggs. He had a little bit of attitude when he came out, but he accepted my complaint and went back to the kitchen and made me a new omelette — complete with salt, pepper, and parsley.

But I am cranky thinking about today’s food fiasco. When I told my server that the potatoes were both- under and over-cooked and that the eggs a) weren’t scrambled, and b) were tasteless, he just shrugged.

“It’s what you ordered.”

“I didn’t order raw potatoes mixed with burnt potatoes. And I didn’t order a bland omelette.”

“I don’t know what you want me to do.”

“I want you to take it back and ask the cook to make it again, correctly.”

“Oh, he won’t do that.” (And he actually had the temerity to begin turning away from me, as if the conversation had ended.)

“Of course he’ll do that. I’m not going to eat this. And I’m not going to pay for it.”

“It’s what you ordered.”

“Please bring the manager over.”

He gave me some Grade A side eye, but went and got the manager. As they walked over, I heard him explaining that I was a troublemaker. (And that’s okay, actually. I am a bit of a troublemaker. And, while I’m not usually a person who sends food back to the kitchen, sometimes I am. And when I send food back, I have a good reason, and I’m happy to make some trouble until I’m properly served. This isn’t about being hangry. It’s about the fact that those eggs and potatoes were going to cost me $12, and for that price tag, they needed to be as close to magnificently delicious as possible.)

The manager had a little side eye of his own, already prepared to be annoyed with me, seeing as I was a troublemaker and all. I smiled my sweet smile and used my nice voice and told him what I’d ordered and what was wrong with what I’d been served. I even invited him to try the raw potatoes. I said I was surprised to find that it was a problem to have the food made to my liking. I told him it was good to know the restaurant’s policy so that I could be sure to stay away … and let all my friends know.

Which had the desired effect of inspiring him to have the food taken away and a new order prepared.

Why was this so difficult? It is a thing now to serve entirely bland eggs? Do people no longer know what scrambled eggs are? Have the days of pleasing the customer gone the way of the Dodo? Is Chef Ramsay looking for a new establishment to highlight on Kitchen Nightmares?


It’s the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by the wonderful people over at Two Writing Teachers! Every day this month, hundreds of writers will be posting their stories. Head on over and check out the other slices!

SOL image 2014

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6 thoughts on “Where’s Gordon Ramsay when I need him?

  1. it boggles the mind that a restaurant server would respond as this one did, when you pointed out the food was terrible: “It’s what you ordered.” What??!!!!! I congratulate you on keeping your “nice” voice while telling him that you would tell your friends about the restaurant’s policy of serving bad food. And did you finally get eggs and home-fries to your liking? or is this a place to avoid in the future?

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    1. I know, I know … but — crazily enough — I don’t want to! Maybe it was a (collectively) bad day. Maybe I was being filmed for “What would you do?” I don’t know. I went there based on a friend’s recommendation, and I want to give her taste the benefit of the doubt.

      (Also, email me, and I’ll probably tell you. 🙂 )

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  2. It seems a lot of grill places are doing that now. If you are not very specific you can be handed any old mess. So many blame it on the health conscious types who don’t want seasoning, that they no longer pre-season anyone’s food. I’m sorry but there is a huge difference in taste when the food is season as it’s cooked, versus fighting with those little packs of salt and pepper after the fact. It’s annoying.

    And to think we all laughed/cringed at that guy who facetiously created a Kickstarter for the prefect egg sandwich. Clearly he had a similar experience and was equally perturbed. Good for you for sending it back; at $12 a plate, I would have as well.

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    1. You may be right about the reasoning, but that is just crazy. If you’re a person who wants your food as bland as possible, shouldn’t it be on you to request that? Otherwise, food should be prepared in a normal way.

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