Celiac.com 09/15/2020 - A restaurant owner in the UK is catching heat for mocking a celiac customer for her gluten-free food request, and then going on Tripadvisor to call her "selfish," and "spoiled," and sarcastically apologizing for not being able to "cater for her 'whims and demands.'"
Yorkshire resident Natasha Tunmore left a negative, one star review on Tripadvisor, complaining that the wait staff at Zammuto Steak and Grill House in Doncaster were dismissive about her gluten-free request.
Anyone with celiac disease, who has had confusion or resistance from a restaurant owner or staff about a gluten-free request or question, can likely empathize with Tunmore.
For her part, Tunmore claims that she "contacted the restaurant in advance to check that they are able to cater for this before booking," and was told it would be fine. "Upon arrival all was well and we got our seats and drinks quickly," she added.
However, when she asked the waiter about some menu choices, she said he told her he was "too busy to check with a chef."
She claims that she "told him he was making [her] feel uncomfortable" and she had never experienced that attitude before. "If this had happened to me when I had been newly diagnosed I am sure I would have burst into tears. All of this was very abrupt and intimidating."
Tunmore claims that the waiter only checked once she pushed the matter further, and told her she could only have the blue cheese sauce.
For his part, Zammuto is sticking to his guns. "It just happened that we made a mistake," he said, blaming the problem on Tunmore, for listening to a young, inexperienced waitress rather than the more experienced waiter.
Zammuto claims his comments were overblown, and not intended for celiacs. "I didn't mean it like we don't want to serve celiacs or people with allergies. It's not that we don't want to do it...[the comments were] no way meant for celiacs, it was just meant for her personally. I meant that she was out of order to tell me I don't know what I'm doing or I don't care, because I do care."
Zammuto said that, "In a nutshell, the lady in question didn't care about the other diners but was selfish in her actions regardless of whether she was a celiac or not."
Perhaps the incident was the result of a misunderstanding. Perhaps the restaurant was unusually busy. Perhaps Tunmore was somehow insensitive. However, Zammuto's actions seem unhelpful.
Have you ever had a bad experience with restaurant staff or owners when trying to order gluten-free food as a celiac? If so, please share your story below in our comments section.
Stay tuned for more on this and related stories.
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