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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 September, 2003, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Veggie restaurant ejects mother
Sarah Graham and baby Joshua
Sarah Graham and baby Joshua were asked to leave the Rendezvous
A mother was asked to leave a vegetarian restaurant for giving her 11-month-old son a jar of chicken baby food.

Sarah Graham was told it was "offensive" to feed the jar of chicken baby food to baby Joshua in the Rendezvous restaurant in Aberystwyth, west Wales.

The owner of the Rendezvous said she was worried about possible "contamination" from the meat in the 49p jar - which contained just 8% chicken.

Mother-of-two Ms Graham, 39, opened the jar of vegetables, rice and chicken after ordering a vegetarian lunch for herself and her eight-year-old in the restaurant.

I was a vegetarian for 20 years and love vegetarian food - but it doesn't mean that my baby has to eat only that way as well.
Sarah Graham
But the family was told to leave after asking the restaurant staff to warm up the Heinz jar for Joshua.

Ms Graham, of of Tywyn, north Wales, said: "I've never heard anything so ridiculous in all my life.

"It was not as if I had brought in a whole roast chicken and started carving it in front of everyone.

"I was a vegetarian for 20 years and love vegetarian food - but it doesn't mean that my baby has to eat only that way as well.

"The doctor recommended that he needs two protein meals with meat a day because he was underweight when he was born."

Businesswoman Ms Graham called into the Rendezous while on a seaside day out with her two children.

She said: "There were lots of other restaurants but I've always liked vegetarian food.

"I ordered a nut roast for myself and my elder son had a Mexican meal.

"I then asked for them to warm up the baby food in the microwave and handed over the jar.

Rendezvous restaurant
The Rendezvous has defended its policy

"But they came back to say the microwave was broken. So I asked for a jug of hot water to warm it up instead.


"The manageress then came over to say she found it offensive that I was feeding my baby chicken in her restaurant.

"She also said she was worried about contamination.

"But I brought my own spoon for my baby - and there is no way it could contaminate anything

"My son was in tears and I still needed to feed the baby because he was hungry.

"I have every understanding of vegetarians and I'm sure the great majority would think this was just going too far.

"If the doctor recommended your child needed protein from meat then you would give it to him.

"We'd had a lovely day out but it was absolutely ruined all for the sake of a jar of baby food ."

'Warm and family'

The Rendezvous is approved by the Vegetarian Society Food and Drink Guild - who describe the atmosphere as "warm and family" with food to suit every taste.

Restaurant owner Maggie Cotton defended her decision to ban the chicken baby food.

She said: "When the woman asked for the baby food to be heated we refused, but purely because of possible contamination of food.

"I am very particular even about dairy products being brought into the restaurant, let alone meat products.

"I was very polite when I told that we were offended by her bringing baby food containing meat into the restaurant.

"It is a vegetarian restaurant after all. I simply stood by my beliefs, and asked her to leave.

'Within her rights'

"We often get families in and we gladly give them vegetarian food for the baby."

And Kerry Bennett, a spokeswoman for the Vegetarian Society, said: "The restaurant owner was quite within her rights.

"She was remaining true to her principles and we would support her in her stance.

"But we would hope each restaurant would handle this sort of issue tactfully.

"There is no point in having this kind of restaurant and then having meat on the premises."

Was the restaurant right to ask the mother to leave?
2505 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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