what foods have you 'blagged' during service?

Joined Jan 23, 2010
'blagged' definition: serving one food to resemble another (haddock for cod, butternut squash for pumpkin etc ...)

recently, i got an order for scallops during service and realised i had no celeriac puree prepped whatsoever, so rather than prep and cook some right there and then because i was too busy i blagged it with some reduced cream of cauliflower soup i had in the fridge which was on the a la carte menu as part of a trio of soup.

nobody knew i served up cream of cauliflower to replace celeriac puree and neither did the customer complain, the dish looked exactly the same just like if i'd have had some celeriac puree prepped. 
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Never heard the term before, but I'll remember it for sure.

There are so many ingredients that are virtually indistinguishable from each other, particularly when used as a side or garnish, as to make no never mind. In fact, sometimes the differences exist only in our minds.

This is true, for instance, with one of your examples. Horticulturally, there is no such thing as a pumpkin. Indeed, in the U.S., most canned "pumpkin" is actually Hubbard squash. If you lined up 15 or 20 varieties of orange-fleshed winter squash the only difference in their flesh is the sugar content. For the typical taste buds, all of the sweeter ones are virtually the same. Thus, if you pureed butternut, flat tan, and Boer white and did a taste test I don't think many people could tell them apart.

Historically, European settlers in North America called all winter squash "pompions," and didn't differentiate between them.

Many of the mild, white, flaky fish fall into a similar state. Once they're cooked, much of the flavor depends on the flavorings used and the method of preparation, rather than their inherent flavor, and are all but impossible to tell apart by most people.

That aside, I'm a little concerned about the practice. On one hand, I understand why it's sometimes necessary to make substitutions. But, on the other, it's somewhat dishonest---unless you tell the customer. F'rinstance, in the example you used, if the scallops were prepared to the customers' liking, short of a food allergy, they probably wouldn't care whether the puree was celeraic or cauliflower.

I recently had an example of this. On the menu was a halibut dish prepared a certain way. The chef didn't like what the halibut looked like that day, so wouldn't serve it. However, he did bring in some beautiful fresh grouper, which he offered as a special. But he had the wait staff tell patrons that if they preferred, he would make the menu item using the grouper instead.

It just seems like a better approach to me.
Joined May 22, 2010
 DOn;'t kndon't know how it works in the U.S., but our truth in menu laws prohibit ummm... "Blagging" (never heard the term before in my life)

Cod must be cod, tenderloin must be tenderloin, homemade must be prepared on premises etc.

if I'm out.. I either go get it, start making it, or 86 it.
Joined Mar 16, 2009
In the northeast, truth in menu laws or not, there is a whole lot of confusion over what fish can be served as "scrod". Traditionally it was cod, but as cod as gotten more expensive it's become more likely to be something else at a restaurant. I also *constantly* see people passing off fake crab (AKA dyed whitefish) as crabmeat stuffing with no clear indication of it being imitation.
Joined Dec 8, 2010
Serving the proper items is preferable, more moral, &c, &c.

But let's be honest: in the middle of service during a busy night, under less-than-ideal circumstances, the time comes when you say to hell with being honest. If you've worked a place with serious numbers, you've 'blagged' at least once, or seen someone do it.

Most memorable: a few days after thanksgiving a couple years ago, we ran out of sweet potato mash with one ticket left needing the mash. The solution was to combine some pumpkin pie filling with regular mash and adjust the seasonings a bit. Tasted pretty darn close.
Joined May 22, 2010
"But let's be honest: in the middle of service during a busy night, under less-than-ideal circumstances, the time comes when you say to hell with being honest. If you've worked a place with serious numbers, you've 'blagged' at least once, or seen someone do it."

No. Not on my watch. If I am out, I offer substitutions, apologies and if needed, discounts. I will not serve something and pass it off as another.
Joined Jan 29, 2011

sorry but you just don't do that without notifying the guest. not only is it immoral and shows a lack of standards, but it is illegal here in the U.S. 
Joined Feb 13, 2010
Many moons ago, 1 of the more unscrupulous chefs I worked for always sold corvina sea bass as chilean sea bass
Joined Dec 16, 2010
we always inform our patrons if something is being subbed.

usually its red bell for green bell pepper, or  feta instead of our usual goat cheese. 

but we always inform them.

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