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PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:04 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:48 pm
Posts: 1
Hello All! I'm a professional chef looking to mend the disconnect felt by many of suffering with food allergies when dealing with my industry. I am oozing with cooking tips, recipes, etc... but I want to hear from you. It's one thing to cook it, it's another thing to live with it...
What are your biggest food frustrations? (Not just dining out, at home too)
Do you feel that there are enough good food options out there? Anything you'd wish there was more of?
What are your biggest cravings? Have you found solutions/good substitutions? If not, what would you like to see?

feel free to ask me questions too :)

Chef Patterson

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:24 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:17 pm
Posts: 262
Location: Niagara region, Ontario
Wow, I am very excited and impressed that you would initiate this dialogue! Are you affiliated with Allergic Living in any way? My one suggestion would be for your staff. When I discuss my allergies with the server, or manager, and then later they just plunk the plate in front of me and walk away, I feel very disconcerted. It makes such a difference if they simply say, "I checked with the chef, and your meal has been kept away from your allergens." All in all, though, I do think the restaurant industry has come a long way compared to twenty years ago.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:47 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6525
Location: Ottawa
My biggest concern is: Does that restaurant staff really understand what my concerns are?

I have had nothing but good experiences but, it takes a lot of energy to contact in advance and discuss allergens and concerns re cross contamination. It takes a leap of faith to place your life in another person's hands.

Cross contamination is my biggest fear.

Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy and green beans) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: Oral Allergy Syndrome, Allergic to Birch trees

PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:04 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:26 pm
Posts: 436
I had a great reply but got called away from my desk and it got erased - boo.

I, too, am delighted to see a chef on here who cares and wants to learn more about food allergies. Fantastic and welcome! I hope we can all learn from each other!

My biggest concern overall is the lack of reliable and transparent food labels. It is completely optional for companies to declare their food item may contain traces of allergens. An item could be made on shared lines with dairy or nuts or whatever allergen and never say so on the label. Heck, even items containing dairy proteins can be called 'dairy-free' if they meet certain criteria - and have some very dangerous consequences if someone doesn't read the label thoroughly. Thus, we are forced to call manufacturers every time we buy something new to find out this information. Then, some manufacturers give us the line "we'll label for traces if we think there's a risk," refusing to reveal any further details about their manufacturing process. Their definition of risk may be very different than mine, so we're forced to not use those products as a result. Chefs in restaurants don't always know this either and may use an ingredient that may contain allergens without knowing it. This has happened to me and to a friend and we've both ended up in hospital as a result. Just another factor that makes eating out an even bigger challenge.

Another common problem: kitchen fatigue! We have to cook every meal from scratch, all the time - even when tired, sick, or in a hurry. For most of us fast food, takeaway, delivery, or even eating in restaurants isn't an option - or a very limited one at best. We try to keep a stash of frozen leftovers for those exhausted/rushed/sick days, but it's not the same because we had to put in the time and effort to cook them in the first place. I'm a very creative cook who loves being in the kitchen, but there are days I wish I could order in or get food to go.

anaphylaxis to tree nuts and peanuts; asthmatic, dairy intolerant, vegan
other family members allergic to to dairy, egg, peanut, peach, banana, sesame, environmentals

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