The Great Debate: Is It a Faux Pas to Ask for a Doggie Bag at Michelin-Starred Restaurants?
Two socialites weigh in on how such a request may be misinterpreted and why wasting food should always be avoided regardless of the establishment
Image Courtesy of Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental
Caroline Roberts - YES
The use of doggie bags should be limited to more casual dining establishments, such as pubs or cafes, and they definitely shouldn’t be requested at Michelin-starred restaurants. This is especially so if you are dining at such a restaurant with business clients, or those of higher authority, who you are trying to impress, not embarrass.
It’s a mark of prestige for restaurateurs to earn Michelin-star status. It’s a hallmark of outstanding dining quality, mastery of technique and consistency of excellence in cuisine and service. If diners ask for a doggie bag at the end of the meal, it could indicate the food being served was not up to standard. This could cause an insult to the chef and the diner, and may leave a bad etiquette impression.
The dining etiquette regarding leftovers varies between countries. I know it is common that servers in formal dining establishments in North America offer doggie bags to diners to take away leftover food. However, in European countries, such as England, France and Italy, diners would never think of asking for doggie bags in proper restaurants.
Roberts has spent 20 years in marketing for such brands as Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana
Yenn Wong - NO
It is never a faux pas to doggie-bag leftovers. The key word here is “leftovers.” I completely understand if establishments do not allow takeaway as this can affect the quality of the food, especially temperature-wise. The way a dish is plated and the combining of ingredients affect the taste of a dish, so I do understand when restaurants prefer not to allow takeaway orders from the door. It is understandable that the chef and restaurant want to control the food they are offering down to the last detail, which cannot be done when a customer orders takeaway from the door or over the phone.
But doggie-bagging leftovers is different; this happens when the customer cannot finish the food in the restaurant and does not want the meal to go to waste. When the customer chooses to take away what is left of their meal, they almost always have already tasted the dish in its original, fresh state. Many of us are fortunate enough to have access to wonderful food and should be responsible enough not to be wasteful. I really feel strongly about not wasting food, especially considering how many hungry people there are in the world.
Wong is the restaurateur behind the JIA Group, which includes Duddell’s and 22 Ships
You might also like:
- High-Fashion Philanthropy with Luxarity
- Style Radar: Society's 'Cape' Crusaders
- Hong Kong Tatler's Best Restaurants Top 20 in 2015