29 October 2012

Now taking Reservations Nov 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012. Lunch with Food Allergy Gal Challenge is on.

October 29, 2012
To: VP, CEO, Chef or Owner of foodservice
From: Food Allergy Gal
Re: Lunch 

Please let me buy you lunch at your facility.

It doesn't matter what type of kitchen you have from a grocery store hot meal kitchen, to a formal restaurant, to a cafeteria in a hospital, lunch with me is always, a challenge. Accepting my lunch with Food Allergy Gal challenge, could benefit your food business.

I would bet that 9 times out of 10 most restaurant owners or executives have not eaten with or shopped with a food allergic person.  Most food manufactures have no idea what it's like to walk in my shoes. I can tell who cares and who doesn't and so can the other 150 million of us with food allergies or intolerances. While we appreciate the gluten free offerings,  Why did celiacs get more attention than "foodals" (food allergics), when there are less of them?  I found more Food Allergy Friendly menus in the UK than in the US, but in other countries there were none. Food allergies do not discriminate. The poor, the wealthy, the European, the American, the Japanese, the young, the old can all be impacted. Still it's very rare to find a specialized allergen menu and it's a long process to order and feel safe dining out with food allergies. We need to know exactly what is in our food. 
So tough times call for drastic measures! This is my attempt to get your attention: Let me take the chef, the cook, the VP, the server, the manager, the CEO, the COO out to lunch with me at their restaurant and let's see what happens. It's like undercover boss... but no one can know what we are actually doing. 

It's not a bashing session or a public humiliation  it's just a day in the life of what we go through. I apologize for having food allergies, even though there is nothing I can do to fix this issue, unless someone wants lend me $1 billion to do my medical research project.  I am beyond frustrated though. So many people in the hospitality industry have been so "not nice" to me, about my food allergies for so long. Although I  occasionally find some who understand. I don't want to be food allergic, and I'm not trying to be a pain in the neck. I just want to live, well, and part of that includes eating out with friends, clients and family.  I am basically begging you (restaurant, bakery, catering company) to let me spend my money with you, so please stop saying "No!" and better yet, please stop making me sick. I'd love to come back to your restaurant and know I can eat there safely. 

When I research restuarants, I see that many restaurant chains have "allergen guides/ nutrition information/gluten free menus," but do they really? When I walk into these restaurants that have this information online, everything is VERY different then how it is presented online at the corporate level, usually! So I am putting these restaurants, to the test: Lunch with Lara, Food Allergy Gal. Let me tell you dear readers, the prelim results are NOT GOOD! 

Before I post the results, I'm going to see, if the executives of these restaurants will take my challenge. I'm going to give them a chance to fix this before I let you know the results, I am eager to share! 


I love food. Food is the essence of everything wonderful. I hate that I have food allergies and if I could cure them I would. I would do anything to be able to eat everything again. I love going out to eat, trying new food, sitting down and being social and fun in a restaurant. Enjoying one of everything on the menu and sharing with a group of 10- was the way I grew up. I worked very hard in my life to be able to eat my way through different parts of the world. I was blasted by food allergies 10 years ago. I am a Foodie. I love to cook, thank god. I found myself beginning to decline dinner parties, invitations to restaurants, openings to galleries, VIP events and anything where food might be served. Why? Because I was going to have to ask what the contents of each item was and it would not be fun. I would have to worry about the ingredients of everything.

I hope to see you at lunch very soon.

To Reserve time with Food Allergy Gal, please contact info@ilaraholland.com or message on Facebook at facebook.com/FoodAllergyGal. Follow Food Allergy Gal on Twitter

1 comment:

  1. Joely Capra Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 9:30 am
    I think it is great what she is doing. Often people think it is impossible to put together meals when dealing with allergies- it isn’t and when restaurants go that extra mile we are loyal patrons for life. Good for Lara and I hope she gets an abundance of replies.

    Scotty Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 9:40 am
    I think its genius! I’m posting this on my FB wall….I am “friends” with a few local restaurants. We’ll see if it stirs any comments!

    Krista Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 10:02 am
    I think this is wonderful. Having just been diagnosed with alergies to corn, rice, barley and rye, also sensitive to wheat, and dairy, I find it really hard to eat out. It’s hard enough to make family understand, let alone restaurants.

    Faith Miller Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 10:30 am
    I think it’s great! Especially the idea of going “undercover” with the boss. People who are able to eat anything and everything just don’t get it.

    Pauline Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 11:21 am
    After that, maybe she can ask CEOs of airlines to “Fly with me.”

    Mary Quattrone Says:
    November 27th, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    Thank you so much for your efforts and commitment to continue the challenge of food allergic individuals. Peace of mind when dining out is crucial and awareness of the daunting issues food allergic people face is an ongoing effort. thank you for the creative way you are addressing these.

    Food Allergy Gal Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 3:49 am
    Scott Castell from Claim Jumper, a 34 location chain, did accept the Food Allergy Gal Lunch challenge. We are in the process of seeing if they are up for certification and adoption of a top 10 allergy free menu and ingredient guide. I’ll keep you posted.

    Julie Trone Says:
    November 28th, 2012 at 8:02 pm
    Lara’s idea is fantastic and such a great way to get across an idea. Way to go! We wish you much success in educating restaurant management to the realities of eating out with food allergies or gluten intolerance.

    An Allergic Foodie Says:
    November 29th, 2012 at 1:43 pm
    What an awesome idea for educating the food industry about food allergies and sensitivities. Can’t wait to read a follow-up.


Thank you for posting your comment on the Food Allergy Gal blog. Please visit Facebook.com/FoodAllergyGal.