With the amount of choice that’s available for eating out, deciding on what to eat has never been so overwhelming. When faced with a menu, these days you may find elements written in different languages, acronyms dedicated to dietary requirements GF, RSF, LC, VG or blurbs written on different ingredients, therefore knowing what to order can be an ordeal.
We spoke to Kim Wiggins, Australian chef and recipe developer for Sumo Salad to share her insights on what not to order when dining out to help narrow down and navigate the choices.
#1 The Same Old Same Old
"Chefs spend their lives coming up with new and exciting dishes. Most sleep, dream and breathe food, so try new dishes you ordinarily cannot cook at home like duck or an interesting fish variety like Murray Cod or Bass Grouper. Trust the flavor combinations on the menu and resist the temptation to amend dishes to your liking, be adventurous!"
#2 Eat Seasonally
"Have a basic understanding of the seasons by doing some research then eat accordingly. Good chefs will design their menus around the 4 distinct seasons so avoid places that stick to the same menu all year round without offering interesting seasonal specials."
#3 Fish on Sunday / Mondays
"A book I treasured as an Apprentice, Kitchen Confidential by Chef Anthony Bourdain revealed that no suppliers will deliver fresh food on a Sunday so by Monday your fish will be at least two days old. Better to stick to a vegetarian or meat dish on these days."
#4 The Chocolate Molten Cake
"BORING, it’s been done to death and should be relegated to the home kitchen not a restaurant menu."
#5 Dishes Based on Price Only
"You’re out to dinner, Splurge a little! Good Food is never cheap and great tasting produce takes time to source and treat correctly. Producers and growers that go the extra mile to deliver quality will pass that on in the cost and it’s always worth it. You get what you pay for and we know that our farmers do it tough, so if you have a passionate waiter who can suggest supporting some wonderful artisan menu items go with their advice and support the little guys in the process."
Kim Wiggins has over 15 years of experience working as head chef in the restaurants, Rockpool, Flying Fish and Longrain. Now she develops the menu for Australia's healthiest take away chain, Sumo Salad.