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April 23, 1982

Face Flambé

JAMA. 1982;247(16):2271. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320410053033

DINING out should not be hazardous to your health, such as by being burned by a flaming drink at a restaurant.

Report of Cases  Eight patients have been treated at the University of California, Irvine Burn Center, for burns sustained in restaurants from flaming desserts, entrees, and drinks. Patrons assume that the restaurant management has provided training and safety precautions. However, on interviewing the victims, particularly waiters and waitresses, a lack of safety consciousness was apparent.Four of our eight patients were waiters or waitresses. One waitress sustained burns over 18% of her body (most were full thickness), required multiple hospitalizations, and had several skin grafts to her legs. In this incident a new item on the menu, cherries jubilee, was being prepared in the kitchen by inexperienced waiters. Flames shot out of the bottle, which fell on the floor, burning the legs of the waitress. Interestingly, an entire serving