Eating out with food allergies can have its challenges! Going out for dinner at a moments notice becomes virtually a thing of the past. Much thought and preparation goes into where and when to eat out. Eating out when your child has life threatening food allergies
is always a risk. It is a personal choice and should never be taken lightly. There are far too many complacent staff working in cafes and restaurants that don't take the risk of anaphylaxis seriously, until sadly it's too late.
ALWAYS tell the wait staff and the kitchen staff about how serious the allergy is - Life or death!! Having food allergies is NOT a preference! Your child CAN NOT eat 'peanuts' (or dairy, wheat etc) because they may KILL HER!!! Be specific. Some people have the á little bit won't hurt' mentality in the hospitality industry. Be clear!
I have also heard parents tell staff that their child ( or themselves) has an allergy when in fact the child 'doesn't like' something. This makes me mad and makes the cause of raising awareness of genuine food allergies all the more harder!
NEVER feel guilty or embarrassed to question staff until you feel safe! If you don't get a good feel, why take the risk of eating there? It's not worth it. I've walked out of many a restaurant because I didn't feel it was a safe place. Sometimes, despite every effort being made to create a safe eating environment, mistakes are still made.
Understandably the risk of anaphylaxis through cross contamination or by ignorant staff proves too much for some people who choose to eat in a more safe environment - at home, never eating out. There are too many close calls that can have easily been avoided through proper training and awareness.
Eating out, I find comes down to an issue of trust. Trust between yourself and the chef and the staff. So much is involved and only one mistake could result in dire consequences. I have my chosen few local venues that we eat at if we do eat out. These have been places I have built up a trust with over years (even personally working at one of them).
We are known by the owner, chef and wait staff. When we visit, I re-introduce myself and explain our situation. The staff are wonderful and we have never had an issue. They are more than willing to go out of their way, if needed, to cook a separate meal in separate cooking appliances for my boy. They 'get it'!! I try to help them out by not going in peak times. When staff are busy, mistakes have a greater chance of being made.
To return abit of favour, I sing their praises from the rooftop. The best form of advertising they say is word of mouth! They are the first places I recommend people to eat when they come to visit.
It is my intention to build resources on my website
to sing praises to other eateries that YOU trust! Do you have local eateries that you eat at regularly and TRUST??? Places that just 'get it'?
When you travel and choose to eat out, where will you eat? Who will you trust???? We are a community of people trying to keep our kids safe. Lets help each other and share resources. Support the businesses that support you! Please comment below with the food eateries that you have personally eaten at, that you trust.
Take care of you and yours