Friday, May 17, 2013

When a restaurant gets it wrong

I tweeted about Jamie Oliver's Restaurant getting fined, and it sparked some interested discussions. Stories about getting glutened at restaurants poured out. What was most fascinating was the stories about the secondary effects of ingesting unwanted gluten. What happens after the initial pain/problems subside and what people have to cope with, sometimes for months. 

The last time I received unwanted gluten at a restaurant I was throwing up for a day, but had to manage dizzy spells, exhaustion, bloating to the point of not being able to button my pants, and brain fog and food regurgitation for two weeks. This is no where near as severe as the woman in England who was unable to receive life-saving organ transplants because of Oliver's staff members mistake, but it is an extreme example that when a restaurant gets it wrong, it is not just the initial response, there are significant lasting effects.

The more I think about it, the more I feel that $12,000 isn't enough. A chef with as much media presence (and money) as Oliver needs to do more. He needs to publicly apologize and implement a system where this will never happen again in any of his restaurants.

Even if he did do all of that, and make a donation towards celiac research, I am still not sure I would ever dine in one of his restaurants. Is it possible to forgive and trust a restaurant/chef again? I mean that in all seriousness. I haven't been able to go back to any restaurant that has gotten it wrong, it is too much of a transgression .. but maybe you have.

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