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Anonymous Diners Bestow Culinary Wisdom Upon Local Chef in Suggestion Letter

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The customers want to see fewer Brussels sprouts, more “big stuffed clams”

Waypoint
Waypoint, one of Michael Scelfo’s restaurants
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

An anonymous group of diners — or jokesters? — has some opinions on what local chefs should and shouldn’t be serving at their restaurants. Alden & Harlow and Waypoint owner and chef Michael Scelfo received an absurd anonymous letter recently, which he shared on Instagram, and the letter has found its way to at least one other local chef as well. (See update below.)

The senders have some notes (demands?) for Scelfo and presumedly Boston’s chefs in general, including a protestation to eliminate “salads with beets” from his menu. (It’s worth noting that neither Alden & Harlow nor Waypoint currently offers a beet salad — but hey, it’s 2019, and anyone can be criticized for literally anything, veracity notwithstanding.)

The senders also seem to have something against roast chicken — “good but we can buy it at every supermarket, or make it at home” — and oysters — “the thrill is gone and we’re thinking about Hepatitis and the Vibrio virus [sic] coming further north every year.” Nothing says “let’s eat!” like thoughts of viruses (which Vibrio is not, by the way — it’s bacteria).

Along with their list of criticisms, the flippant diners had an equally helpful list of suggestions, including “big stuffed clams served in the shell” (as opposed to those other stuffed clams that are served outside of the shell) because “think of the stuffing options.” Disappointingly, the senders did not provide a list of stuffing options.

The senders also suggested Scelfo ax grilled and steamed salmon from his menus — too boring! — and add various roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and mushrooms, because nothing says adventurous like roasted broccoli. To top it off, the senders also want to see more turkey on the menu. “Get creative,” they wrote. If there’s one thing diners are pining for, it’s to pay $37 for a couple slices of the worst holiday meat.

Scelfo told Eater via email that he thought the letter was “hilarious” and that he’s “not taking it personally.” See the letter for yourself below:

CHEF,

We are a group of diners who enjoy your restaurant, and because we dine out often we came up with a list of menu changes we would be happy to see at all restaurants.

THESE HAVE GOTTEN OLD. We’d be happy to see less of:

Bar drinks that have very strong tastes from too many ingredients

Bread dipped in oil and heavy fried foods as starters

Brussel [sic] sprouts

Salads with beets

Oysters (the thrill is gone and we’re thinking about Hepatitis and the Vibrio virus [sic] coming further north every year)

Roast chicken (good but we can buy it at every supermarket, or prepare it at home)

Grilled/steamed salmon (healthy but it’s getting to be boring)

WE’D LIKE TO SEE MORE OF:

Classic cocktails updated (there’s a reason they are classics)

Starters:

Big stuffed clams served in the shell (think of the stuffing options)

Ceviche

Scallops with dipping sauce

Breads, crackers, chips, or crudités with spinach and other vegi. dips or warm cheese

Roasted/grilled — carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, broccoli, mushrooms, scallions

Stuffed peppers (so many options from so many cuisines)

Healthy bowls and pokes (sometimes our stomachs need a rest)

Turkey (get creative)

Grilled Tuna and shark

Sliced steak platters to share

Dessert samplers (smaller sized with a choice of two or three)

Crepes and puddings

THANKS FOR READING

Update, May 3, 2019: Jody Adams (Trade, Porto, Saloniki) also received the letter. “I love it!” she told Eater via email. “I don’t know who wrote this is or whether or not they know how funny it is, but it has certainly given us all a few good laughs. Trending next: creative turkey stuffed peppers!”

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