Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Kitchen Nightmares!

The FOX television show "Kitchen Nightmares!" is taping down the street from where I work at a restaurant called Hannah Masons. Personally, I've never eaten there, because the menu is a little too french-inspired to be allergic-diner friendly, but I've heard awful things about the service and restaurant itself. Enter Chef Ramsay!
For a week now, the better part of our parking spots at the public lot have been blocked off. Irritating. This morning, the camera crews were lining the street. Interesting. About two hours ago, I got to help cast extras for the show! Exciting!
A casting assistant came into my office to speak with me about the possibility of sending a few of our staff to the restaurant to be on tv on the 'before' portion of the show. I recommended a few people, and to my delight, all three were accepted. The catch? They had to pay for their own lunch, just as they would in the restaurant. That was ok with them. As for me, I couldn't leave my desk today (inundated with work), but I'm a little concerned to join the show at tomorrow's taping, as I've been asked to do.
I'm petrified of being portrayed on reality TV as that customer...the one who makes special requests, sends things back and is in general, a big ole' pain in the rear. Now, I do make special requests, but I show my med-alert bracelet as a qualifier (which upsets NAH to no end, he insists I shouldn't have to explain, but I think he's wrong...telling someone that if a tomato touches my sandwich I'm going into anaphylactic shock just might make them think twice before they simply pick it off and bring it over).
However, I happen to know that Hannah Masons hasn't always been very gracious about accomodating requests to begin with, so I think I may steer clear. Am I missing a golden opportunity, or am I saving myself from being scapegoated? Rest assured, if I made it onto the show, it'd be edited so you didn't hear me explaining the death-causing problems, just portrayed as upset when the tomato arrived on my sandwich.... I think maybe I'll just watch the show with the rest of the world....
Your Allergic Diner


Blake said...

Ali, this is your chance to bring the world's attention to allergic diners and what do you do but shy away. You should be that person because it will go to show just how far that restaurant is coming and what they really say behind your back in the kitchen. One just has to wonder if all allergic diners get the same treatment. I say go for it. Opportunity is knocking, are you going to keep the door shut or open it and embrace it? Choose wisely and do it for all allergic diners everywhere!

Nicole said...

Curious as to what horrible things about service, unwillingness to be accomidating, and the restaurant you've heard and why you're so positive they're true if you've never eaten with us....

RighterLady said...

It is my plan to try Hannah & Masons at some point in the next few weeks and write a review before the show airs.
I have heard from many of my coworkers and people in the town that they have had less-than-acceptable experiences in the restaurant. To be fair, I've also heard some good things about the food. Unfortunately for me, my health can be severely effected when eating out if something goes awry, so when I hear enough stories about being unable to find a waiter, I have to stop and think before going out to eat there.
My point wasn't that I wouldn't try the restaurant, it was that I was uncomfortable trying it during taping b/c of how I might be portrayed.
Would you be willing to answer some questions about how your restaurant handles allergies and accomodations and I will post your answers? I'd be happy to publish whatever you'd like to tell me about the procedures and protocalls in place.
Thanks so much,
Allergic Diner

Nicole said...


Thanks for being open-minded and willing to check us out.

I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Hopefully I can allay some of the fears you might have about eating with us.

Feel free to email me any time:

Blake said...

If you have ever seen Kitchen Nightmares you have seen some of the most disgusting kitchens. I am sure that the current restaurant stood out among many. From lack of quality to internal problems to much much more. After Gordon Ramsey has come in, cleaned house and straightened it all out the restaurants have been great. To have pride where one works is admirable but this is reality. Before it was something you would not want to step foot in and I know that after you will not be able to even get a reservation.

allergic diner said...

You might find the commentary on the next post interesting....thanks as always for stopping by (and look, I finally figured out how to change my sign in!)

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have been watching all the KN shows on as we missed many of these during the season. Chef Ramsay really has been doing a great work here.. I think this is his best cooking yet--very inspirational!!!