10 November 2012

Food Allergy Assessments

Read this story so you understand why kitchens should get certified on food allergies and intolerances! Staff of restaurants deserve to feel confident and guests deserve to know they can confidently be served a safe meal whether or not the executive chef is present. A kitchen with confidence makes for happy, loyal customers, more revenue from each guest, and a confident staff. 

My dear friend, Chris and I met for a late lunch yesterday at one of my favorite local restaurants which is owned by a chef, I admire. When "Chef Louie" is there, everything is wonderful, but yesterday he had stepped out, during our 2:15 pm visit, so my meal was in the hands of his staff. I trusted this restaurant and have even asked Chef about coming in to work with, thinking certification would likely be a breeze for them. 

I am so sad to report, it was not the best experience for a starving foodal and her dining companion. The food we did get was marvelous, fresh and flavorful. The atmosphere was fantastic but the confidence of the kitchen and the time to find something I could eat was a long and tedious process! 

I appreciate the steps the restaurant took. The waitress wrote down my food allergies and consulted with the kitchen, but instead of ordering 7 small plates to share, we ended up with 2 and 1 main dish to split. After each order we tried to place, the kitchen staff continued to come back with why they "COULD NOT/WOULD NOT" serve us these items. Some of the statements were ridiculous.

Example: We asked for roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes because of my stupid dairy allergy. The response was, "We can't do that because first we dip the potatoes in sesame seed oil before pan roasting them." (My stupid sesame seed allergy-plays a part) but how many people dip their roasted potatoes in sesame seed oil first??????????????????????????????????????? WHAT? 

I've been cooking for a long time and I never dip my potatoes in oil first. They have olive oil on the menu. What is so difficult about cutting up some potatoes and putting them in a clean pan with olive oil and adding some salt, pepper and fresh chives? It was difficult for me not to get up and go back to help in the kitchen.

Both Chris and I were less than impressed. When I looked at the waitress and recited what the kitchen said, she stated, " I know that seems a bit ridiculous but it is because we are scared to serve you." 

Kitchens with Confidence, partner of LaraHolland, Food Allergy/Gluten Free Consultancy has teamed up to provide onsite training for any kitchen in the United States. Staff will learn: 
  • About food allergies, celiac disease and food intolerance/sensitivities
  • Best practices for food allergen and gluten free food service management
  • Become skilled at keys to success with standard operation procedures such as safe food preparation, delivery, storage, and menu planning
  • Study Best of Class solutions to prevent cross-contact
  • Develop key tools to improve communication with regards to accommodating students with special dietary needs
Read Recent Related Press Release: http://www.fastcasual.com/article/203455/Menu-testing-services-now-offered-for-allergen-friendly-meals#.UJ5jricMA5Q.facebook

Contact: ilaraholland.com or info@ilaraholland.com to find out more or schedule a complimentary assessment of your kitchen today. Onsite training provides certification for members of staff who pass assessment, certification of restaurant, logos and decals for menu and restaurant door, press releases, listings on top sites to promote restaurant's accomplishment and awareness. 

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