The Covid-19 outbreak has forced everyone to avoid public areas and stay indoors. What started out as a precaution (or even an opportunity to catch up on life) has turned into a real fear. Today, families of all sizes are stuck indoors with nothing to do and no foreseeable end to the situation. For many, this means hours of TV watching, repetitive dinners and constant scrambling for something to do. Unsurprisingly, many people have begun to turn to food to keep them entertained. From trying out new recipes, to experimenting with new orders, food has become the main focus of millions of people. But how can a food allergy family experiment with new restaurants while also staying safe? How can someone ensure that their culinary adventure won’t put them at risk?
It may require a little more planning and can take some of the spontaneity out of ordering in, but by choosing your restaurant wisely you are more likely to keep yourself safe. Check out the menu. Keep your allergies in mind and take note of what dishes you think may be safe. Many chain restaurants have their ingredients and allergen information readily available online so use this tool to your advantage. Make sure to avoid restaurants that are obviously problematic (no seafood restaurants if you have a shellfish allergy) and be wise when choosing your cuisine (better to avoid Asian food if you have a sesame allergy).
There’s no reason to trust your instinct when you can trust other people’s experiences. Most restaurants, especially ones that claim to be able to cater to the allergy community, will have reviews. A little googling and some Facebook stalking can tell you a lot about a restaurant. Additionally, there is a strong and thriving allergy community online, use this to your advantage and ask your peers for help. More than likely someone else has already tried and tested the restaurant you’re looking to order from, and they can be a big help when it comes to choosing your dishes.
Make sure to leave a review after you order too! Whether good or bad, your review can help the next customer with food allergies navigate their way through ordering in.
Unless you can be sure of what’s in the sauces and spreads covering those sandwiches, or what the secret ingredient is in those nachos, better to keep your orders simple. A grilled steak, some seared chicken or even a simple salad are all great options. Not only are you looking to avoid the actual ingredients in the dishes, but you want to keep cross contamination in mind. Choosing something that doesn’t require many stages or is less likely to share oil with other dishes is likely your best bet.
In the digital age, ordering online is all too easy. In just a few simple clicks you can have food on the way to your house. However, sometimes, it’s safer to use the phone and speak to an actual human being. When communicating the severity of your food allergies, having a person on the other end of the line is vital. Ignore the convenience that comes along with ordering online and call up the restaurant. Make sure they understand what it is you are allergic to and how important it is to keep your food safe from cross contamination.
Most restaurants – even when only open for takeout and delivery – have busier times and slower times. For example, weekends tend to be busier than weeknights and afternoons are slower than evenings. The last thing you want is to risk your food allergy with a busy chef. When ordering food with food allergies it is better to order during an off time; aim for a time where you can be confident the chef is giving you their undivided attention and can take their time being extra careful with avoiding cross contamination.
Ordering in – especially when home made meals start becoming repetitive – is a great way to spice up your day. However, when dealing with food allergies, it is vital that you be extra careful throughout this entire process. Make sure you are avoiding restaurants and dishes that are problematic, keep open communication with the staff and trust other peoples reviews and experiences. That said, always make sure to have your EpiPen ready and try not to be too adventurous.
During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.
After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.
Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.
We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.
T.M., Chicago, USA
We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!
We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.
My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!
It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)
We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!!
Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.
L.R., NY, NY
Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel. We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!
All the best,
S.C., New Jersey
We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.
T.G., Philadelphia, PA
"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew. The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”
G.A. Illinois USA