Gourmet Traveller

NEW WORLD ORDERING

The diner was allergic to anything starting with the letter “A”. Chef Louis Tikaram was working at Tetsuya’s in Sydney when the request appeared. “Is she allergic to aubergine, but eggplant is okay?” he asked. After all, they’re the same thing.

Shannon Martinez, who runs Melbourne’s Smith & Daughters, remembers a waiter telling her someone was allergic to “shiny” food. “I thought I’d heard everything,” says the chef. She walked up to the wine-sipping diner for clarification. “Those grapes that made the wine you’re drinking were shiny at one point and there’s a shimmer on top of that wine right now!” she said.

Despite these extreme examples, chefs are aware that legitimate allergies must be taken seriously. Brent Savage, who co-owns Sydney’s Bentley, Monopole, Yellow and Cirrus, has seen how physically debilitating a food allergy can be – his sister can’t process gluten. “If she even eats the smallest amount, she’ll be vomiting; she’ll be sick for 24 hours,” he says.

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