Proving that he is not a one meat wonder, Mark Schatzker who I interviewed about his book Steak asks what's the beef with sending food back in restaurants with In defence of foodism: An epicurean fights back (Globe and mail, March 25).
The dish returned was duck confit which besides lacking in taste was also overcooked according to Mark Schatzker's description.
Wanting to make sure he did the right thing, he asks a number of 'experts' in Canada and the US for 'points of etiquette' to observe when returning food.
Widening the debate beyond foodies and food writers, let me add a few observations gained from my 20 years serving food in restaurants.
One way to prevent one customer from getting his meal after the rest of the party is done is to spot the problem before it happens.
If a dish is not cooked the right way, server should let the kitchen know before it is expedited so they can fix it.
Granted starting a rack of lamb over might take some time while a rare tuna or a scallop dish will be an easier task.
It could also be wise to let customers know that well done scallops or hanger steak might not live up to their expectations.
In any case, if you have an issue with what was served, best way to have problem fixed quickly is to let staff know ASAP without taking it out on them. Be nice.
Thanks to Diane Jacob of Will Write for Food for bringing Mark's musings to our attention.
(* Photo of Duck Confit with Salad by Stu Spivack via Wikimedia Commons. More of his Food Photos can be found on Flickr)