WHAT TO SAY TO YOUR SERVER?
We all know how nerve racking it is to go to a restaurant with any sort of allergy. Whether it’s gluten, dairy, peanuts or even shellfish--bottom line, it’s scary. When going to a restaurant, it is so important for both you and your server that you alert them of what you are allergic to. While many feel they’re being “too much”, this will most definitely help you in the long run.
Being in the Food & Beverage industry for over 5+ years now, I am aware of how the back of the kitchen works. The server will take your order and ring it into the POS system. From there, it gets sent back on a ticket to the kitchen. On the line, is what you call the area where the line cooks are stationed, there is plenty of food being touched and made. The chef will not know to prepare and make your food in a careful and cautious manner unless told to do so. This then means your food may be cross-contaminated. For those who don’t know what that is, cross-contamination is when bacteria or other substances are transferred unintentionally from one plate to another causing harmful effects. Most people with celiac disease or a high sensitivity to gluten or another sort of allergy would be extremely bothered by this as well as it may cause further illness and flare ups.
To avoid cross-contamination and any other problems, alert your server immediately. Tell them how severe your allergy is and what needs to be done to protect yourself from getting sick whether that’s preparing the food with fresh gloves or make your food in a separate area. Most servers want what’s best for you and your health as well as making sure your experience is positive with them and the restaurant. I can assure you that if the server has a problem with it, it may not be the best restaurant to be eating at in the first place.
Here are some possible phrases you could use to help you make sure your meal is safe:
How do you make sure your ingredients are gluten free?
How is the meal prepared?
I have (allergy here) and need my food to be cooked in a separate space with new gloves.
How do you avoid cross-contact with gluten-containing ingredients?
What are your completely gluten free options?
Does the sauce or dressing on my meal have gluten?
Do you have a dedicated gluten free fryer?
Is there a chance to have cross contact from airborne flour in the kitchen?
Do you have a separate prep space?
May I speak with the manager to ensure my meal is going to be safely made?
Do you use gluten free spice blends, thickeners, coatings, toppings and garnishes?
These are just some questions and phrases you can say. You shouldn’t just be doing this at sit down restaurants but anywhere where you could come in contact with gluten such as fast-food places, ice cream parlours, smoothie places and more. I encourage you to utilize your resources such as the internet for further advice on how to eat out without getting sick. It has taken me a very long time to get it down and still to this day I get sick. If I were to sit here and say I have perfected it, I would be lying to you. I am continuously learning and educating myself in every way that I can so I can educate others.
If you have any questions or need further advice on how to handle these situations, please reach out to me, I would be happy to help :)
Made with love,