There are so many stories published regarding Chefs refusing to acknowledge food allergies and sensitivities.  They feel many of the customers are merely trying to be controlling or get extra attention; or our favorite, the individual who simply dislikes an ingredient so claims an allergy.   After my 35 years in the restaurant business, I know, in reality these Chefs are frequently correct in their assumptions.  That creates a tremendous problem for those that truly must deal with allergies and sensitivities.

When I peruse a menu, with my background, I can usually suss out the culinary culprits hiding in a dish through my understanding of how it’s made.  This is a very good thing, since I have been clearly lied to many times by both servers and kitchen staff at restaurants.

I almost never tell other restaurants that I am a chef and restaurant owner.  I don’t want special treatment.  That said, I have also encountered the restaurants that ‘show me the door’.  If they care so little and/or have so little understanding of the ingredients they are working with, this is probably for the best.  My allergies are potentially fatal.  Luckily, most people have less threatening conditions.  I can help you understand the way dishes are made and with what ingredients you may need to be aware of.  You will learn things even your restaurant server probably won’t know.

You definitely need to understand that many people in the restaurant industry don’t know what is in the food any more then the average consumer.   How can this be?!?!  Unless you dine at restaurants that serve you pre-made food out a of a box, the list of ingredients can be an ‘unknown’ due to the number of individuals involved up to the final creation.  You also can encounter the ‘language barrier’.  If the server can’t communicate with a non-English speaking cook, the odds go down rapidly.  My safest meals generally occur in small, chef operated establishments.  Less people, more knowledge!

I am intending to provide a concise plan of attack covering both ‘How to Dine Out Safely’ and ‘How to Cook Without Fear, at Home’.  The second will include lots of fun trips to Farmers Markets and exotic culinary destinations.  Food does not ever need to be boring!  I hope you will join me regularly on my jaunts from shopping bag to plate!  Food is fun!!