How Am I Supposed To Make A Bean Burger Without A Burger?


It’s easy being the one seated at the dinner table in a restaurant, complaining about every single dish placed in front of you. It’s quite a different story, behind the kitchen doors, where chefs are going mad wondering what exactly you meant when you asked for a mushroom risotto, ‘but without the rice please’, or trying to decipher if you were making a clever joke, when you ordered for a vegetarian fish and chips. You’d be surprised at the number of strange-sometimes-silly requests chefs get; and hats off to them…they almost always manage to conjure up just the right thing anyway. Here’s a list of strange things chefs have been asked to cook.
Shajji Sha, Bakery Chef, The Lalit Ashok

I had a request from a guest asking for a chocolate cake, layered with brin tuna and garnished with lamb kidney toffee.

Peter Tseng, Executive Sous Chef, The Raintree Hotel

It would have to be Thai Green Curry with Curd Rice, and let me tell you, although the cuisines originated about 2000 km away, they share the same latitude! If you know what I mean.

Chef Rajiv Kumar Malhotra, Executive Chef, Habitat World

It was at Nikko Hotel when a guest requested a sweet chicken dish. I whipped up something with chicken and fresh strawberries and he absolutely loved it.

Kapil Joshi, Executive Chef, Harem, Garden of Five Senses

Once, a guest asked for a dish without butter, but with extra Hollandaise sauce, which by itself is a fatty concoction of eggs and butter!

Swapan Kumar Baidya, Executive Chef, Le Royal Meridien

To cook goat heads, as they are a delicacy in the Arab world.

Paul Besra, Pastry Chef, Ista Bangalore

I was once was asked to make a chicken puff without the flaky texture.

Aditya Jaimini, Executive Chef, Crowne Plaza Rohini

Someone wanted an Indian chicken dish without onion and garlic.

Chef Sumit Tandon, Executive Chef for SKD Restaurants

A guest at The Leela, Udaipur, asked me to make a sugarless and baked gulab jamun. It was quite a challenge!

Chef Zubin D’souza, Executive Chef, Waterstones Hotel

I have had a fair share of weird requests made to me, but once, there was this guest who had just got braces on or had his jaw wired for something and could only consume liquids. So, he ordered the pate de foie gras with caviar and then just asked me to puree the whole thing up so that he could sip it. It was such a waste of an elegant and extremely expensive dish.

Bhairav Singh Rajput, Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach, Master Chef, Indian Cuisine

There was once a diner who wanted a curry cooked with cashews and beer. I made him a lamb curry with both the ingredients and it turned out to be an amazing combination of flavours.

Merajuddin Ansari, Executive Sous Chef, Hilton Mumbai International Airport

Once, a guest asked me to serve him a Bean Burger without a burger- whatever that meant!

Liang Cheng, Master Chinese Chef, The Oberoi

When I was working in China, an attractive lady walked into my restaurant, wearing clothes that had chillies printed on them, and on the accessories as well. Things became even more intriguing when she requested for the spiciest set of dishes on the menu and instructed me to cook all of them extra fiery. After finishing her meal, she smiled and said that she had liked the food but it could have been spicier.

Sandeep Biswas, Executive Sous Chef, Ista Bangalore

Well done poached eggs with runny yolks.

Chef Saket Ranjan, Indian Speciality Chef

A diner wanted me to fuse the robust flavours of pork (cuts popular with western cuisine) with Indian tempering and treatment. I created (with his inputs as well) bacon and coconut fry with ham and coriander rice.

Vittorio Negri, Italian Chef de Cuisine, Mövenpick Hotel & Spa Bangalore

I was asked to prepare pasta in three different shapes in a ‘pink’ sauce that had green peas, chicken and seafood. Fortunately, I was able to execute this new creation to the guest’s liking.

Ashay Desai, Corporate Chef, Irish House and Café by the Beach

One of my guests wanted an unusual smoky dish. So, I created a Tobacco Smoked Lamb Chops dish with smoked barbeque sauce and with crispy leeks.

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