Michael Symon Tried To Kill Me

Well, okay – he didn’t try to kill me personally; his staff did.  And they didn’t do it intentionally, I’m sure.  But I’m certainly SICK AND F&%$ING TIRED of going to a restaurant and ordering FROM THE F&%$ING GLUTEN FREE MENU and getting gluten-bombed.  And hit with MSG, too – you’d think a place where a meal for two can cost $200 you wouldn’t have to worry about MSG in the food, but apparently you do.

No lectures, Jason – they have a gluten-free menu that isn’t gluten-free.  I shouldn’t have to call in advance for that.

At any rate, I’ve been up all night in the bathroom (on the plus side:  I actually found time to read a book) and am not up to the post I had planned for today about an interesting, 3-week dietary experiment I just went through (voluntarily and no, it did not include gluten.  Or grains.  Or cow’s dairy).  Next week.

All I have to say is this:  the food at Lola is very, very good; impeccably prepared and presented.  That is, if you don’t mind getting something you didn’t order, and in the case of those of us who can’t tolerate the gluten, all it takes is a tiny amount to turn what should have been a very pleasurable evening into several days of pain, discomfort and far too much time being acquainted with the porcelain throne.

To give him credit, when Beloved wrote about this on Chef Symon’s Facebook wall, he did reply, asking what I’d eaten so he could attend the matter.  In the meantime, I’ve decided to abstain from restaurants for awhile.  They’re not good for my health.

17 thoughts on “Michael Symon Tried To Kill Me”

  1. The shame is that all the staff had to do was to not put the crostini on the plate and substitute the pork pie with another one of the meats and the issue could have been avoided. Maybe it is my fault for not raising a fuss and sending it back – or frankly walk out when we saw how limited the GF menu is (there is no reason that most things on their wonderful menu can’t be GF without much effort or cost). But we wanted to relax and enjoy ourselves. Well, another lesson learned. To hell with calling ahead – they should have just let us go in the kitchen and made ourselves some food!

    BTW, we did have fun watching the kitchen from the chef’s table.

    1. Be, I know you want to relax and have fun. My wife constantly tells me to stop being a “chef.” I have no problems sending something back if it’s not up to snuff.
      In the end you suffer, and as a result, so does their business. Think on this – how many people are going to read thisblog post, or the facebook post? I passed along this post on my FB as well. That’s not good for business.
      This is a major misstep. I hope that something will change as a result of this, or otherwise maybe a little wake up call is in order.
      Oh, and in this ramble, I’m trying to say, don’t be afraid to speak up. No one should have to pay to suffer. That’s my philosphy anyway. Sure, you may come across as picky, difficult – but then again, it ain’t the chef or the waitress that has to be on the pot ALL NIGHT.

  2. No lectures from me Jan – it’s completely unacceptable that you were glutened after eating from a professed “gluten-free” menu.

    This highlights something I have found all the time – the lack of attention for detail by restaurantuers and chefs over something they give a cursary nod to.

    Your experience is an example of how important it is to be vigilant as a chef, to CARE when you are presented with someone who has a food issue. To make a menu that is “gluten-free” and to use products that have gluten in that same menu is not excusable, especially from an “iron chef” like Michael Simon.

    I realize I’ll never be as famous as good old Michael there, but at least I can say that I give a hoot about my customer’s health, and if I make a promise… I damn well keep it. If I say something is going to be gluten free, you better bet there won’t be gluten in it.

    Count me in as NEVER visiting the guy’s restaurant. I won’t believe the hype either.

    Oh, on another note – was the charcuterie made in house?

    1. That’s a good question, Jason – I don’t think so. We ate charcuterie out the wazoo during our visit to Charleston last summer, and both Slightly North of Broad and High Cotton proudly proclaimed that all the meats were cured in-house; there was no such claim on the menu at Lola. I think the MSG came from a pepperoni-like sausage on the plate. The duck rillette and beef tongue were both excellent, though, as were the pickles that accompanied the meats. Ah, well.

      1. Yah, then they have no control over what is put in the charcuterie. MSG occurs natually in a lot of products, but I think you are on the right track with the pepperoni-sausage thing.
        I sound like an asshole when I call down the guy, but he should have a thick skin about this. He is an “Iron Chef:, so he should have his stuff together. I can’t stand it when a chef makes a promise and doesn’t follow through.

        Crostini on the plate? Come on. They knew you odered from a gluten free meny, right? No alarm bells. It;s sad, really.

  3. I’ll tell you what I’m much more sensitive to than wheat: malt. A lot of people don’t think about beer or, say, a fancy maple tincture as containing gluten.

    Never mind that soy sauce contains gluten. People seem pretty clueless about that too.

    1. Soy sauce was the problem the last time I blogged about getting gluten-bombed – I asked for gluten-free soy sauce and the silly twit of a waitress brought low-sodium instead.

    2. It depends on the soy sauce. I look for wheat-free tamari on purpose. Good luck finding it in a restaurant though. Even the Japanese love their wheat. More’s the pity.

  4. So how do you know what WAS in the food … and which of those ingredients bothered you? The reason I ask is, I got horribly sick after eating out one time. It took weeks to figure out I had developed an allergy to blueberries. I had eaten blueberries my whole life with NO problem. I was “sure” it was an additive in the food, or something else. Turns out you can become allergic to a food you’ve never had a problem with before. (As if life isn’t confusing enough to start with ….)

    1. The gluten was easy – the charcuterie plate came with crostini and pork pie (a pork sausage wrapped in pastry) – even though we’d ordered it from the gluten-free menu! I ate neither, of course, but apparently there was some cross-contamination, and the damage was done. As for the MSG, I have a very specific reaction to monosodium glutamate which occurs anywhere from 1 to 4 hours after consuming it – horrid, paralyzing pains in my neck, jaw, tongue (of all places), shoulders, chest and upper back. We’d just gotten to our hotel room when it happened, and I suspect it was a cured sausage from the same charcuterie platter – MSG is a common additive in preserved meats.

      You know, I thought of your blueberry allergy several times during all of this. What if you’d gone to a restaurant where blueberries were used in a dish, and you specifically told the waitstaff that nothing you ate could come in contact with the fruit, and they were careless about it anyway? My allergies just make me miserable – yours could kill you.

      1. I agree! In a lot of places I have been, cooks will even just brush off the offending ingredients – none the wiser, right? That speaks volumes for the chef. In every case, I take the allergy seriously. You just never know, and I don’t want to be responsible for someone’s misery.
        Then again, maybe I won’t be an iron chef – but at least I won’t make anyone sick in my establishment!

  5. I am so sorry that the restaurant didn’t honor their menu. I know exactly how you feel. Many a time I have said I’m a vegetarian only to have them think that chicken stock doesn’t count. JR has had to take me to the Emergency Room more than once after eating out.

  6. Oh, Jan, I am so sorry. 🙁 How BEYOND frustrating! And to have been glutened off a limited menu besides—adding REAL injury to insult! 🙁

    Funnily, we were just talking @ visiting Lola in the future. Not anymore. Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I hope you’re starting to recover. 🙁

  7. Jan, I am so sorry. You at least did not poison yourself on pupose.
    I on the other hand chose to eat what I did the other day and suffered the same fate as you.
    I hope with all my heart you are feeling better.
    What a terrible thing to pay a bunch of money to be poisoned…ugh!
    Best wishes and I look forward to a new recipe when you are back to your old self.


  8. The gluton-bomb is shocking. I don’t know what to say other than if you give me the address I’d be happy to pop round and ‘straighten things out’.

Comments are closed.