The Bear Season 3 Is Right — Modifications Are Really A Big Deal In Fine Dining

This article contains spoilers for FX's "The Bear" Season 3.

The third season of "The Bear" has officially dropped, and the popular show about Carmy (played by Jeremy Allen White) — a talented James Beard award-winning chef who returns home to Chicago to run the family restaurant after the passing of his brother — is imparting some serious wisdom about fine dining etiquette on its viewers. In the third episode of season three, a customer orders a dish with "no mushrooms," and when sous chef Sydney (played by Ayo Edebiri) asks if the request is due to an allergy or a modification, head chef Carmy protests, "It doesn't f***ing matter — if he doesn't like mushrooms, he doesn't have to eat the mushrooms, but the dish makes no sense without the mushrooms." 

This leads to a heated argument and, in true "The Bear" fashion, results in a physical altercation between Carmy and Richie — Carmy's late brother's best friend and the restaurant's de facto manager (played by Ebon Moss-Bacharach). While this scene is dramatized for entertainment purposes, head chef Carmy does have a point: Asking for a modification to a menu item that's been carefully crafted by a fine dining kitchen can result in tempers heating up to the boiling point. When visiting a fine dining establishment, there's an unspoken rule that you'll order the dish without modifications, which is how the chef designed the dish to be enjoyed. Foregoing certain ingredients can completely alter the flavor and experience. 

Modifications can communicate serious disrespect to the chef

In each season, "The Bear" has showcased various dishes and meals that take time, countless taste-tests, and extreme amounts of skill to create and execute. After going through so much trouble to meticulously craft a menu fit for fine dining, there's an understanding that the dish is the best it could be — or it wouldn't have made it to the menu. After all, customers are waiting months and paying a premium for that level of talent and creativity, so why would they even want to second guess the ingredients in a dish?

While Carmy ignored questions about the customer's allergies, it's true that most kitchens — even at the high end — will take food allergies into consideration. Wait staff will likely ask about allergies before you order. Some restaurants even note any allergies in the dining party when you make the reservation to ensure that diners are safe and kitchens are properly prepared. 

However, don't be surprised if certain establishments request that you order something else altogether rather than modify a dish. Some restaurants have a zero modification policy — for guests with food allergies at these types of establishments, it's up to you to decide what you can safely order before you eat at the restaurant. But whether it's allergies or personal preference, when eating at a fine dining restaurant, not asking for alterations comes down to showing respect for the work that went into that dish.