Brad Carter thinks Michelin restaurants shouldn't have to cater for fad diets

The  Staff Canteen

Brad Carter, the Michelin-starred head chef of Carters of Moseley discusses dietary requirements, allergies and fussy customers.  

A guest on Paul Foster's podcast, The Nightcap, Brad spoke about the the contentious subject of dietaries. Both chefs started by stressed an important point: they take allergies very seriously and acknowledge that this is their responsibility to take the appropriate cautionary measures, because people's lives are at stake.

However, they said, they are faced with an increasingly widespread issue: customers following fad diets, and to add insult to injury, masking them as allergies. This isn't the first time the topic has featured on The Staff Canteen: last month, chef Craig Millar came under fire on social media after criticising the adopters of fashionable diets, calling them ‘fuckwitarians.’

Brad Moseley

Image: Carters of Moseley owners

Brad Carter and Holly Jackson 

Asked what the most common occurrence surrounding allergies and dietary requirements, Paul said: "People lying." 

The Salt chef cited examples of people claiming to have a dairy allergy before ordering a cheeseboard, or alleging to have an allergy to "all spices."

His own brother, he joked, chooses to pass his distaste for nuts as a biological intolerance. 

Having to make menu arrangements for what Brad calls "lifestyle dietaries" is something that he feels fine dining restaurants should be exempt from and people shouldn't come to Michelin-starred restaurants like Salt and Carters expecting to be able to create their own food.

“There’s 160 Michelins in the whole country. That’s not a lot if you take the amount of restaurants there are. So we should be out of that bracket, people are coming to us for what we do, not just to get fed." 

"There’s the difference I think. You should be coming to us to experience what we’ve created rather than try and pull it apart, because you can do this in every other place on this road. You can go into all of them and pull it apart and have exactly what meal you desire.” 

“They should be coming here and saying ‘oh, the chef’s working his ass off and I want to try what he’s got.”

Brad has received a lot of flak for this philosophy, receiving infuriate emails from people who've never visited the restaurant.

"And I’m like, what am I supposed to do, I’ve never met you and you hate me." 

As difficult as it is not to give in sometimes, he said: "I’ve sworn to myself that I’m not going to change because I want to produce that food. It’s what I want to do and I’ve set out to do that and I’ve grown it organically and I’m still doing it.” 

That's not to say that the chefs refuse to adapt their menus when necessary. This is the spirit of hospitality after all: Brad cited a regular customer with an allergy for whom he prepares a sauce in advance every week. 

"We do do things like that if we know it’s true,” he said. 

"If any customers are watching this and saying ‘why are they moaning, we’re paying them money’ is that we’re trying to achieve perfection. If we’ve got one menu but we’ve got twelve tables and six of those tables have different courses with different dishes, we’re basically cooking six menus because the timing and the coordination is out on the kitchen because it’s not two skate away, it’s two skate and a leaf, and that will throw a spanner in.” Brad

“I know we’re of a high level and we should be able to cope with that – and we do - but at the same time, if it’s not an allergy, it’s frustrating.”

Watch our interview with Brad Carter a year after his restaurant received a Michelin star: 

Should high-end restaurants should be exempt from adapting their food for anything other than allergies? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 10th May 2019

Brad Carter thinks Michelin restaurants shouldn't have to cater for fad diets