The bigger the occasion, the more fun it is to order tableside preparation and watch the flairs and flourishes our waiter performs. Even more dramatic is ordering a tableside luscious flaming dessert. Some popular ones are:
When it’s almost time to leave, and everyone is full of fine food, a last-fling flambé is an irrestible picture-taking moment:
Whoosh! Great brightness!
Everyone is liberated and happy. Eating the delicious concoction will be an anticlimax. This precious get-together will be over too soon.
This is how it is supposed to be.
However, this article by Drew Harwell in the St. Petersburg Times vividly describes an evening in Palm Harbor, Florida, when Bananas Foster went tragically wrong.
You and your party cannot avoid flambé accidents simply by not ordering them, for any nearby party may do so. Ideally you share in their pleasure free of charge. By the same token, anything which may go wrong may involve you as well.
The bottom line for restaurants is to require proper training for all servers. The flaming agent should be pre-measured away from the cart, and the original bottle should never be carried on the cart.
Flaming dishes are a lot of fun and give great joy when they work well. They are also a terrible price to pay for victims when they go wrong.