9 Burger Orders That Make Chefs Roll Their Eyes
Americans love burgers. A lot! According to a YouGov survey (conducted by White Castle), an incredible 20 billion burgers are consumed in the U.S. annually. That's an average of 60 patties per person. In fact, the average person responding to the poll of 2,000 burger enthusiasts admitted to eating at least five burgers per month. And while 40% said that a new burger on a restaurant menu would potentially be a chance to try something new, most respondents said they tend to stick to the traditional over something new or innovative. This means people want what they want when it comes to restaurant burgers.
It's no surprise then that diners have very specific orders and like their burgers prepared just right. Does that bother the people in the kitchen making them for us? Not really, most of the chefs we spoke with are more than happy for you to have your burger just the way you like it. Turns out, chefs love burgers too!
However, there are a few important exceptions, and chefs are very clear on what orders make them cringe in the kitchen. Here's what they can't stand about your burger order.
Plain burgers are sad
There are people in this world who don't like any toppings, and chef Sarah Wade of Stillwater in Boston finds that upsetting, and she's got a point.
"What makes me sad is when I see 'burger only.' I always have to check—so they want meat and bread? And if the answer is yes, I just feel sad," Wade says. "I get if you don't do cheese, even though a well-placed melted American slice gets me every time, but what about the glory of a special aioli or ketchup? And run it through the garden for god's sake, at least gift yourself a little veg, we're not getting any younger."
Too many modifications
You don't have to order exactly what's on the menu, but when you're basically creating your own dish, your chef isn't going to be thrilled, says NYC-based chef and owner Alex Guzman of Archer & Goat.
"Too many modifications can be a real pain," Guzman says. "If you don't want cheese on your burger, that's one thing but if you need to provide instructions and add components from other menu items, then you are just better off ordering something else."
Skipping mayo because they're misinformed
Want to make your chef or cook cringe? Do exactly this, says Paul Kushner, chef and founder of MyBartender.com. "It sounds silly, but the one that annoys us a lot, like disproportionately so, is when someone says 'no mayo' because they have a dairy allergy,"' says Kushner.
"This happens every single day when you work at a place that makes burgers. The reason it's annoying is it's a redundant substitution! Mayo doesn't have dairy, period," explains Kushner. "It has eggs, oil, mustard, and seasonings but no dairy! It's annoying because someone is concerned about an allergy but doesn't know the ingredients of the thing they are worried about, so there's the extra level of wondering what else they've been avoiding without reason."
California-based chef Alex Carballo of Hamburger Hut says if you're having a burger, just go for it, don't try to cut calories by skipping the soft, delicious bun.
"Lettuce-wrapped burger. That's all," says Carballo. "Why go through all that trouble to eat all the calories and ask for lettuce wrapped? It's okay if you're gluten-free, I get it. Otherwise with no bun, is it a burger?"
This is definitely a personal taste thing, but according to private chef Gerald Harley, "Avocado doesn't belong on burgers! It kills me when people ask to add avocado to burgers that come with toppings like mushrooms and bacon."
Pretending to have an allergy
There's not much chefs hate more than people who pretend to have allergies to avoid an ingredient they don't care for. This isn't just for burgers, but it comes up often with all the topping options. Kushner explains that it can cause real harm to people who have serious allergies.
"People tend to say they have an allergy if they just don't like an ingredient, correctly assuming the kitchen will take extra precautions to avoid an ingredient," Kushner said. "But lying about allergies creates a frustration around substitutions that can unfairly impact people with real allergies, making kitchens skeptical and perhaps cut corners with allergen prevention around uncommon allergens."
Ordering everything on the side
If you order a burger plain and want to add your own toppings, why are you even at a restaurant?
"My biggest pet peeve is definitely ordering everything on the side, even a side of cheese," says Carballo. "Basically, a deconstructed burger, and then they ask why the cheese is cold?"
Requests for well done
It's well known at this point that chefs hate when a steak order comes in for well done, and the same applies to your burgers.
"Don't get me started on the extra well-done requests," says Harley. "It's like fighting to eat your food you have to chew so damn hard."
But don't ask for it rare either
Depending on the quality of the meat, most chefs don't want to undercook your burger either, says chef and blogger at No Takeout, Allen Bixby.
"People often wanted to order a burger medium or mid-rare. We bought a good 80/20 burger product," Bixby explains. "But because I did not grind the meat myself we were not comfortable serving it at less than the health department specified 165 degrees interior temp. The last thing we wanted to do was make anyone sick."