A number of individuals have a difficult time dining out because of their food allergies. There are so many things to look out for especially at restaurants. Cross-contamination, mixing up orders, and unknowledgeable waiter staff. Every time I go out to eat, I ask the waiter if I can speak with the chef so I can identify the ingredients in the meal I order. Sometimes, the chef may cook me something special that is not on the menu.
Here are some tips to make dining out easier:
- Before you visit a restaurant, call before you go and ask the chef if he or she can prepare a special meal for you.
- Be very clear with the staff members. Sometimes, they may not pay close attention to your needs. They can mix up your order or give you your meal with a food you are allergic to. The best way to avoid this is to ask to speak with the manager or chef to be 100% safe.
- Create an allergy card. An allergy card can be an index card, small paper, etc., that states your allergies. Hand it to the chef as a precaution.
Cross-contamination and hidden ingredients are the hardest factors I struggle with. People don't understand that being allergic to milk also means being allergic to cheese, pizza, cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate, sorbet, yogurt, pudding, donuts, butter, and the list goes on. One time, I was ordering a hamburger after I had talked to the chef about my allergies, and the waiter gave me a hamburger with cheese! I explained to her how I was allergic to milk and she said, "This doesn't have any milk." THE CHEESE CONTAINED MILK! If I didn't look carefully, I could have bitten into the hamburger and had a severe allergic reaction.