In my interview with Pearl & Ash’s Richard Kuo, he noted that it irritates him to accommodate vegans because he doesn’t feel like they’re getting the full experience of a meal. “It would be like going to Marea and asking for a cheeseburger,” he explains. “It’s not relevant to what the restaurant is about.” And while he understands vegans sometimes eat out with non-vegan friends and, therefore, have no choice, he thinks it would be wiser if they sought out vegan-friendly restaurants instead.
One reader took issue with his logic, though. Says garsleat:
What an insensitive comment given by this chef. What IS a ‘regular’ restaurant? So whould all vegans be cooking at their own kitchen instead? A ‘true’ chef is willing to take the challenge (with advanced notification, of course) to feed a vegan customer. Any cuisine could offer something. A sushi place could make sushi with avocado, pickles, and seasonal vegetables. an Italian restaurant (like Marea) could make a pasta dish with tomato sauce, or a French bistro definitely can make salad with delicious side dishes of grilled vegetables. As long as a the customer isn’t being too demanding, especially at this restaurant’s price point, the chef should be able to cater this dietary needs as appropriately. What irks me the most is that he’s not ‘happy’ to cook for such customer. Perhaps all vegans should take their hard earned money to patronizer= a restaurant that respects all walks of life looking for a nice dining experience.
Do vegans–or other modifiers–miss out on the experience of a restaurant like Pearl & Ash? Or is it the chef’s responsibility to make sure every diner gets the point regardless of his or her dietary restrictions? Join the conversation in the comments.