They say you are what you eat, and we’re alright with admitting that makes us all one big quinoa-loving, green juice-drinking society. But allow us to venture a little deeper and hypothesize that you are what you act like when you eat. Having spent a significant amount of time dining out while working as a food writer, I’ve noticed quite a fair number of individuals exhibit cringeworthy behavior that causes me to roll my eyes…or make me want to gauge them out altogether. Here below is a roundup of ten of the food world’s most offensive types, each witnessed firsthand over the past several years.
1. The Chronic Postmater
You call yourself an artist, an entrepreneur and/or a venture capitalist. In any regard, you work from home (#WFH) every day. Being that you — naturally — never have any time to leave the workspace, you regularly delegate meaningless tasks, such as providing yourself with sustenance, to third-party services. Yes, Shake Shack is just three blocks away, but it’s only two clicks away. After all, you need those precious 15 minutes to glean inspiration.
2. The Endless Substituter
You love Cobb salads. Just without chicken, bacon or blue cheese. You instead request shrimp, ham and cheddar cheese, mixed together with kale. Omakase is your absolute favorite style of dining — so long as the chef serves exclusively fish flown in from Japan, no freshwater fish and uses exactly two dabs of wasabi under each piece of nigiri. Nothing screams “weekend!” to you like a bottomless mimosa brunch. Just please sub gin in for Champagne and hold the orange juice!
3. The “Gluten-Free” (Non-Celiac) Diner
No doctor has ever diagnosed you with any sort of dietary restriction, let alone Celiac Disease. All you remember is that slight feeling of fatigue that you felt during one traumatic night two years ago, hours after you ate a burger. It’s been bun-less burgers — and stern warnings to chefs and waiters alike — ever since. You’ve been enjoying soba noodles (which you believed to be “safe”) regularly for the duration of this time…until an astute friend points out that they’re made from a mixture of buckwheat and — gasp — wheat flour. You no longer enjoy soba noodles. You did always know you felt slightly fatigued after eating them, anyway.
4. The Email Abuser
You work at a large company that is partially involved with the food industry, though your job has no connection to it whatsoever. Sure, you’re technically an Associate Developer in the Technology Department at TripAdvisor, but that’s basically Head of Food Reviews. Heck, it might as well be CEO. Fire away an email to the city’s hottest restaurant and ask for an 8 p.m. reservation this Saturday night. Your email signature is bound to terrify them into submission. No go? No problem. Daddy(’s assistant) will take care of it. He is actually CEO.
5. The Habitual No-Show-er
Why make a reservation at one restaurant when you can make one at six of them, all for the same date and time? You’re not a fortune-teller — who could possibly know what your party will feel like eating a week-and-a-half in advance? This way, you can take a group vote an hour or so beforehand. You’ve heard that no-shows are a huge problem in the restaurant industry but — most importantly — there’s no way for any of this to be traced back to you, as you took great care in ensuring that each reservation was made under a different name and email address.
6. The Michelin-Star Counter
The month of November brings with it much anticipation — it’s Michelin-star season! You can’t sleep a wink the night before the announcements: not because you are affiliated with any restaurant, but because you’ll be busy the entire next day booking tables at newly minted establishments. You’ve accrued exactly 49 stars in your distinguished dining career (repeat visits not included, obviously) and your deepest fear of losing a star or two this year is confirmed when Jean-Georges is knocked down a tier. Damn you, JG! You have a sick fascination with taking the Michelin-star virginities of members of the opposite sex and especially revel in doing so on the first date.
7. The Elite Yelper
You frequently drop your Elite Yelper status in (frequently unrelated) conversation, reasoning with whomever will listen that you are looking to do your part in helping out small businesses — though a quick search reveals you bestow an average of 2.75 stars. You take pride in pointing out that you would never threaten an establishment with a poor rating. Casually muttering something about Yelp while the waitress is taking your order? Totally different.
8. The Social-Media Boaster
You frequently consume gimmicky items, such as deathly hot tortilla chips, for the sole purpose of garnering attention on social media, finding great joy in the ensuing communication from amazed friends. Should said friends be somewhat lacking, fear not — you have no issue with self-promotion via “accidentally” steering them towards footage of your big moment. Should there remain minimal traction, you delete all photographic and video evidence, quietly ashamed that the stunt didn’t meet your self-imposed threshold of relevance (most commonly measured in number of “likes”).
9. The “Owner”
You saturate your connections’ News Feeds with posts reminding them of your impending restaurant opening, along with messages imploring them to support the new venture. You strew phrases like “so much hard work,” “sleepless nights,” and “dream come true” throughout. You appeal to their curiosities while effectively causing them to feel clear senses of obligation. Neither the waiter nor the manager recognizes your name when friends ask excitedly about your whereabouts upon dining. And why would they? You’re only an exceedingly small minority investor. In fact, the extravagant meal one of them just paid for — complete with the magnum bottle of ’07 Cabernet sprung for solely to support you — just may have cost more than the total amount you invested.
10. The Self-Proclaimed “Connoisseur”
You cannot stand eating with Jared. The thought of a meal with Daniel repulses you. You refuse to ever dine out with Josh. You actively avoid scheduling dinner with Andrew. Why? Jared holds his fork right-handed and knife left-handed. Daniel mixes wasabi into his soy-sauce dish. Josh orders his steak well-done. Andrew often requests ketchup with his meat entrées. Luckily, you have other friends who actually know how to eat out properly. You’ll stick with their company, thank you very much.