By Bracha Zan Bar, Client Services Manager, Food Allergy Concierge
As a child, I never realized how challenging allergies can be for the allergic child's mom.
My mom never complained about not going out or about being afraid every time my sister took a bite of anything or every time she left the house. I remember my mom always cooking, and not wanting to eat out at friends' houses on weekends, always hosting, but in my eyes as a child, I never felt that she was frustrated.
The allergies were there. And my mom just dealt with them. She never dared to dream of a reality where they did not exist, were she could just sit down at a dinner table, at friend's house or at a restaurant, just ordering and thinking of her own fun and meal.
For quite a while, I have been supervising and monitoring meals and baking days as a food allergy specialist. For the past 9 days, I have been on my first full trip, travelling with my wonderful clients from hotel to hotel, restaurant to restaurant, preparing, sterilizing, supervising, and monitoring all food production for their beautiful teenage daughter.
This trip was very emotional for me, for so many reasons.
Every day, after I served my client's sterile food, I noticed the mom walking around the dining room, looking for something SHE would like to eat. Not worrying and trying to work out what she can bring her daughter to eat while keeping her safe and alive. I noticed how, from day to day, she relaxed more and more, getting used to the idea of acting as if there are no allergies - since all the meals her child ate were safe.
I have never seen my mom acting so peacefully around food when my sister was around. Never.
I couldn’t resist thinking of my mom during this trip. Watching the transformation my client's mom was going through, just learning how to relax and enjoy her vacation, I kept thinking how much I wish my mom could have had one day off from all the worrying and fear.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that the fear didn't exist. It did. But it was me who was carrying the fear for her, fear and concern that made me focus even more in the kitchen, while preparing her daughter’s meals.
What made this week so emotional for me? Was it thinking of my mom, imagining her having one proper stress-free day? Was it just the fact that I totally fell in love with this incredible family and didn’t want this to end? Is it just me being overwhelmed by the success of the trip? Leaving, knowing the child is safe, happy, gained a few pounds since she ate so well, and that her beautiful mom will not need a holiday from her vacation, due to the hard work that was put in to provide her a stress-free vacation?
All the above are true. But I am starting to realize that my job is not only technical, providing safe food. It's much more than that. I took away the fear, pain, and stress from the mom, and carried it for her. This is the biggest soft spot for a mother to a child with allergies, and she chose our company to carry that heavy bag for her and solve it, for a week.
That is such a privilege. Can you even imagine knowing you are providing a once-in-a-lifetime stress-free vacation? I just feel very overwhelmed. I am so proud to say that this is what I do for a living.
I am on a plane to LA now, on my way to another client. Thinking how lucky I am, to work for a company with such an amazing goal- providing stress free vacations, for mothers and families with food allergies.
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