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#1 Tue 23 Jun 09 5:18pm

kellen

Member
Member since Tue 23 Jun 09

lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

I hate going out to dinner because chefs treat vegetarians like second class citizens.  It seems the more expensive the restaurant the worse the meal.  There seems to be a complete ignorance of basic nutritional knowledge and a belief that vegetarians eat like sparrows.  I often get (for the same money) the equivelant of a side dish or the vegetable content of the meat eater's meal. Often there is no carbohydrate at all and without meat to fill me up I am often hungry an hour later.

Who is in charge of course content at catering schools and who can I complain to about this universal bad practice?

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#2 Tue 23 Jun 09 5:56pm

rhianna899

Forum champ
Member since Mon 02 Feb 09

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Hi  smile

I think you may be making a bit of a generalisation there. I know Simon Rimmer (a celebrity chef) has a vegan and vegetarian restaurant that does very well, here's the link http://www.greensdidsbury.co.uk

Most of the restaurants that I go to have very good choices for vegetarians, with the menu being pretty much 50/50 between veggie and non veggie choices (I have these options myself more often than not!)

Where abouts are you, maybe some forumers in your area can give advice on some restaurants to try.

mrgreen

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#3 Tue 23 Jun 09 6:37pm

kellen

Member
Member since Tue 23 Jun 09

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Thanks Rhianna, I am sure there are good restaurants out there but I am just shocked at my consistant bad experiences.  Nearly every restaurant in Plymouth (except Indian ones) offer vegetarian meals with parmesan cheese in, surely trained chefs should know that parmesan cheese is not vegetarian?

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#4 Tue 23 Jun 09 9:54pm

Anna

Forum champ
From Switzerland
Member since Fri 15 Apr 05

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Green's is round the corner from me, and very nice it is too, even for a staunch omnivore.   yummy

You can get veggie Parmesan, many organic brands use vegetarian rennet.  Have you ever brought this up in the restaurants you mention?  They may well be aware of this.

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#5 Wed 24 Jun 09 2:57am

SonomaEddie

Forum super champ
Occupation Chief cook and bottle washer
From Northern California
Member since Sat 10 Feb 07

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Relocate to Northern California.  You will be amazed at the vegetarian/vegan fare offered at good restaurants.
The downside is:  the economy is so bad that you won't be able to afford to eat at any of them.  But just to know that they're there...

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#6 Wed 24 Jun 09 3:09am

CraigJ

Member
From Townsville, Australia
Member since Mon 29 Dec 08

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

I guess its all a matter of where you live, but I agree that in most places the choices are fairly poor. We often go out to dinner with a vegetarian friend and I have noticed that she rarely gets a "meal" proper, more as you say a large side. She takes it in her stride but I would be fairly annoyed as it takes very little to provide  good vegetarian alternatives..

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#7 Wed 24 Jun 09 10:14am

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

I think there should be more importance placed on cooking for people with food allergies over vegetarians. I think most restaurants would be sensible to offer vegetarian food because a reasonable number of people choose to eat like that. But in my opinion it's far more important to prevent someone being ill from a lack of understanding of allergies and how to prevent them. People with allergies and intolerances do not make the choice to have to avoid certain foods.

When Mr rabbit did a commerical cookery course, vegetarian food was well covered, food allergies got a look in for part of a lesson.

Restaurants are private businesses, they can choose what they serve. Obviously most places will choose to do vegetarian food because they can sell it. But if you don't like the way they do it then go to a place that you do like.

Last edited by The White Rabbit (Wed 24 Jun 09 10:42am)

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#8 Wed 24 Jun 09 11:41am

JoyYamDaisy

Forum super champ
From Melbourne Australia
Member since Sun 12 Apr 09

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

I love that you wrote this Kellen! It makes me realise what a wimp I am that I am pathetically grateful that there is usually something vegetarian on the menu these days, and that I am no longer offered fish or poultry as vegetarian: "but it isn't real meat!"
I became vegetarian in the '70s when it was SO exciting to be able to eat out at all - at the little vegetarian restaurants that were opening up, instead of eating a miserable half salad and feeling sidelined while everyone else has a treat.
Yay for the hare krishnas and for Shakahari.
It was amazing when the local pubs put pasta on the menu instead of just steak and chips, because there was often a vegetarian sauce option.
When I was overseas we found that every major city had a (it was usually 'a' ) vegetarian restaurant. That was fun, as they were all very different.
Now I can presume there will be a vegetarian choice, but as I eat eggs and dairy I am on the easy side.
The good chefs around Melbourne seem really clued up about vegetarian, vegan, halal, allergy specific issues, but it needs to be more ingrained and part of basic training. Yes! thumbsup

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#9 Sat 04 Jul 09 8:45pm

12chef

Member
Occupation Chef
From Down Under
Member since Sat 04 Jul 09

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Kellen, as a chef I say you are a pain in the donkey. 
Most vegetarians eat dairy (and eggs) it is generally vegans that don't.  Yes a big difference to a chef.  Vegans are more of a pain in the donkey.  But thats also why theres cafes & restaurants that specialize in that style of food.
You must have complete crap restaurants where you are as down under almost every pub/cafe/restaurant will offer the standard mushroom or pumpkin risotto as a minimum.  Running a Steak & seafood restauant I don't specifically have an item on my menu (excluding salads because thats crap restaurants that write those up as vegetarian) but I do have "we cater for vegetarians" on my menu (not vegans) & why should I.  If I go to a vegan restaurant should I expect them to cook me a steak because I'm a carnivore?
We offer vegetarians several options including our popular plate of 3 sides - roast vegetable gratin, grated zuchinni & pumpkin veggie balls with warm mexican salsa & stuffed mini bell pepper.  Its off the menu so i'm not going out of my way.
BTW JO's 15 Melbourne didn't have vegetarian item on menu apart from salad.

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#10 Sat 04 Jul 09 8:52pm

SonomaEddie

Forum super champ
Occupation Chief cook and bottle washer
From Northern California
Member since Sat 10 Feb 07

Re: lack of training for chefs to feed vegetarians

Harumpf!

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