SheKnows Expert: I’m not PICKY, I am Particular with a PURPOSE!

 

she knows article PICKY Nov 15 2015Thank you to SheKnows for inviting me to write for them as an Expert. My first article is now live:  I’m not a picky diner, I have serious food allergies. I hope you will chose to share one of your stories in my Gratitude Travel Writing Contest. You are the rainbow in someone else’s cloud–they need to hear your story! Enter by THANKSGIVING!

During St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, I was served a piece of chocolate cake. I had specifically alerted the restaurant team that I am allergic to strawberries when I ordered. Suddenly, I knew they had simply brushed off the offending fruit from piece and served it to me. I was rushed to my hotel to take medication and was able to participate in the parade the following day, but I was very shaken by the whole experience. When I returned home, I told my sister emphatically,

“I am never eating pastry again.”

She said, “You are not allergic to pastry.”
I said, “Yes, but I am allergic to stupidity.”

My experience lately in California has been that chefs are happy to accommodate customers’ needs. I was invited to a private dinner at Dave Koz’s home to celebrate the start of his new restaurant venture, Spaghettini & the Dave Koz Lounge, in Beverly Hills. When I realized the efforts the culinary team had gone through to accommodate my food issues, I was embarrassed. I apologized to Chef Scott Howard and he said, “I have a food allergy, also. I am happy to make this meal work for you.”

I still feel concerned about being perceived as picky and a troublesome guest. The impact of my special requests depends on how attached the other person is to the outcome. Chef Scott understands certain foods don’t work for everyone, even if the fresh berries from the local farm are a centerpiece of his meal.

At Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, Chef Olivier knows all about my food issues, requests and preferences. After we cooked souffle together in his kitchen, he asked if he could send out items for me and my dinner companion. I thought about if I could trust his choices for me. It turned out to be one of the best meals I have had. I could eat everything! It felt great to be understood and not be concerned about the dishes that arrived or what my dining companions would think.

I realized that while chefs are willing to work with me, my dining companions have a larger range of opinions. One friend who also has food allergies was disappointed when I would not share the dishes she could eat. I was shocked when she called me picky, as my expectation was that she would be understanding. She wanted me to eat what she wanted. It was not about sharing something or finding common ground, it was about getting her way. That was revealing to me.

At the Outpost restaurant in Goleta, our dishes arrived carefully selected by Chef Derek to match my food requirements. Everything was fantastic. My dining companion was surprised certain dishes he felt would be highlighted were missing. Chef looked at him and said, “But Lisa won’t eat that!”

Like all relationships, sharing at restaurants works better with fewer surprises. By managing expectations with dining companions and telling chefs preferences in advance, I have had less dramatic experiences. I am still wary of pastry. However, I now classify myself as “particular,” not “picky” — and it is with a purpose.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip. http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel