Restaurants are responding to the needs of the food allergy sufferer!
Whether it’s because of increased competition for your dining out dollars, litigation and liability or a sincere desire to be a leader in sensitive food service, you and your family can benefit and even enjoy a night out.
Find a restaurant which prepares its own food
The real key to dining out for the food allergy sufferer is to find a restaurant that prepares and controls most of its own food and prepares it simply without a lot of ingredients.
This won’t be a fast-food restaurant, and it very likely won’t be a casual dining chain like Olive Garden or Marie Callendar’s, where much of the food arrives pre-prepared. This may reduce their costs, but it also means they can’t get the dairy or the peanuts out of their food.
The manager will be your best friend
Always call in advance at a time when the restaurant is not packed with people. You need the manager’s attention. Make sure to note the manager’s name. Be specific about the date you want to come – make it a day or two ahead when the daily specials have been ordered – and be specific about your allergy and your reaction. Ask the following:
- Are there dedicated surfaces and cooking utensils?
- What about food storage? Are nuts next to butters in the walk-in, for instance?
- What about chef cross-contamination? Does the same person sprinkle the herb garnish and the nut garnish?
- Is it possible to have the manager supervise the making of your order?
Common sense is yours to use
If you have a seafood allergy, stay away from a seafood restaurant. If you have a peanut allergy, stay away from Asian-inspired restaurants. Food proteins can be vaporized and float into the air you breathe. Peanut oil is especially concerning product as it is used for deep frying, which makes it hot enough to vaporize. Even if you avoid the food, you cannot avoid the air. Always bring epinephrine or allergy medication, depending on the severity of your allergy.