Peppered With Risk

, , , , , , | Right | July 26, 2018

(I’m a cook at a popular casual dining restaurant known for its baby back ribs. A waitress rings up a ticket with big red “ALLERGY! SPEAK TO SERVER!” notes on it. Allergy notes typically go to me before anyone else because I have almost all of the ingredients in the kitchen memorized.)

Waitress: “Uh, the woman at table 33 has an allergy to peppers.”

Me: “Table 33 with the spicy shrimp taco? That dish is literally nothing but peppers.”

Waitress: “Is there any way you can make it without peppers?”

Me: “Honestly? No. Try talking to the table again; suggest the [other shrimp taco]. Or, I can make a custom taco no problem, but there’s no way she can have it like it appears on the menu. If she’s really allergic, that’s one thing, but if she’s just worried about it being too spicy, I can easily tone it down.”

(The server returns after speaking with the table.)

Waitress: “She says she’s allergic to all peppers. Like, green peppers, red peppers, chili peppers, jalapeño peppers, black pepper—”

Me: “Ah, geez.”

Waitress: “—and she still wants the spicy shrimp taco.”

Me: “I’ll see what I can do, but ask if she wants a different side dish. The beans are seasoned with pepper. And the rice has black pepper in the seasoned salt we use. Try suggesting some substitutions for the toppings on that taco, because I can’t put any of the current toppings on it.”

Waitress: “I already tried. I suggested, like, cheese, or lettuce, or tomatoes, but she said no. And she was insistent that she’ll have anaphylaxis if it’s made wrong. She started waving an Epi-pen at me. [Manager] is coming back to the kitchen to make the taco. She doesn’t want any substitutions; just make it without peppers.”

Me: “F***.”

Manager: “Okay, the shrimp is ready from the grill. Hey, there’s no seasoning on it; these are plain!”

Me: “Yeah, they are allergic to pepper, so I can’t use the cayenne on it.”

Manager: “Okay, next is the chili lime sauce—”

Me: “Nope.”

Manager: “…okay, then I’ve got the taco slaw—”

Me: “Nope. It’s made with chopped jalapeños.”

Manager: “F***. Okay, the pico—”

Me: “Green and jalapeño peppers, and seasoned salt.”

Manager: “And the garnish drizzle—”

Me: “Just checked. White pepper.”

Manager: “So, that leaves…”

Me: “Plain, flavorless shrimp on a plain, unseasoned tortilla, with a slice of avocado garnish.”

Manager: “Did they want lettuce or plain tomatoes, instead?”

Me: “[Waitress] said no.”

Manager: “Sides are rice—”

Me: “Seasoned salt.”

Manager: “—and beans—”

Me: “Salsa, peppers, and seasoned salt.”

Manager: “Well, I give up. Send it out.”

(The server takes the sad-looking plate out to the table, and returns five minutes later.)

Waitress: “She said she wants pico and chili lime sauce on the side because the tacos are bland.”

Me: “So, now she suddenly doesn’t care about her allergy?”

Waitress: “I tried. She insisted. I reminded her. She’s pissed off because it looks nothing like the photo in the menu.”

Manager: “Somebody’s living on the edge today.”

Me: “Okay. Fine. Pico and chili lime. What side dish did she want instead of the rice and beans?”

Waitress: “…”

Me: “Well?”

Waitress: “She picked southwest mac and cheese.”

Me: “THAT. HAS. JALAPEÑOS!”

Waitress: “I KNOW. I TOLD HER.”

(Apparently we haven’t killed her yet, because she returns at least once a month to flirt with death. She orders the same thing every time.)

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