When you go out to eat, do you expect there to be a vegan item on the menu, or that the chef can make one up on the spot? Don’t.
Yes, veganism is becoming more mainstream, with more people turning vegetarian and vegan than ever before. That being said, don’t assume that everyone feels the same as you. The reality is that when most people go out to eat, they go out for meat dishes, and restaurants cater accordingly. That’s not to say they won’t make an effort for you, but you have to plan ahead and give them a fair warning.
Sure, it can be a bit awkward to always ask if a restaurant can accommodate you every time you want to go out to eat (especially if you’re a new vegan), but the restaurant will be thankful, trust me. If you had a serious food allergy – you wouldn’t risk leaving it up to the chef to try and dish something up on the spot, right? Well, it’s just as tough for chefs to throw together a vegan option if it’s not something they do regularly. Not only does it put pressure on the cooks, it also makes us look difficult (and vegans already have enough of a bad rap, deserved or otherwise).
And here’s the thing – in my experience I have found that most restaurants are not only happy to accommodate, but actually go above and beyond, creating dishes that are expertly crafted with amazing ingredients. I have also been to many restaurants where they have printed out a special, tailored menu just for me with several choices, because I gave them enough notice. For example, during my recent stay in the New Forest, the Hotel Terravina printed out a special vegan menu for dinner and for breakfast on both days of my stay. And the food was incredible. The Case also printed a special menu just for me, which included a mix of different vegan starters, mains and desserts to choose from. And of course, I can’t forget 34 Windsor Street when I had a vegan menu written on edible paper! The restaurant gets to plan ahead, and you get an awesome meal in return – win win!
So don’t be a jerk. Be a nice vegan, plan ahead, and give restaurants some notice. And hopefully, in the future all restaurants will have vegan items as a given on their menus. But until then, you know what to do!