Restaurant Kitchens and Allergens: Behind the Scenes
When you don't have food allergies you take the freedom to go to a restaurant for granted. Spontaneity is easy. The thought process and decision are more about location, cuisine, price, availability, ambiance.
It’s another story when you manage food allergies.
When you manage food allergies, choosing a restaurant isn't typically a spur of the moment kind of thing. Decision-making centers on whether or not your family can find something safe to eat there, something that won’t cause an allergic reaction, something that won't make you sick. Careful consideration, pre-planning, trust, and courage all go into the process.
Simple pleasure? It should be. But for families with food allergies, dining out can be an anxious experience.
When you listen to this podcast from FAACT's Roundtable Podcast series, you'll gain important knowledge on how professional kitchens are run that can help you navigate restaurants with more confidence.
Thank you FAACT (the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team) for permission to share this content with the Allergy Force community.
“As chefs…we don’t like to say no…I want you to experience my food… I want you to be fed…that’s why I got into this business.”
—Chef Martha Morgan, Allergy Dragon
Chef Martha is a specialty diet and allergy chef who created the Allergy Dragon’s Lair. Known as the Allergy Dragon, Chef Martha hosts an award-winning YouTube channel and publishes a blog (www.allergydragon.com) focused on allergen-safe cooking. Beyond running a professional food service kitchen, she is also the parent of a child with a long list of food allergies and is a celiac patient herself.
In this podcast, Caroline and Chef Martha talk professional kitchen management basics, giving you insights into how professional kitchens really work and some of their challenges.
Listen all the way through, or use the index below to find sections of greatest interest:
Go to 2:00: Cross-Contact & Cross Contamination
What are they and how do you manage them? Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably and they mean different things.
Go to 3:50: The importance of training for a professional kitchen
Execution is the key. Policies and procedures are only as good as the people implementing them.
Go to 4:30: Understanding different kitchen environments and their allergen safety challenges
The size of the kitchen — smaller vs. bigger — matters.
Go to 6:19: Smaller kitchens and creative workarounds
When kitchen space is limited, chefs can create workarounds to isolate food from allergens.
Go to 7:02: Larger kitchens (love it!) or multiple kitchens
Space — not a given, often a luxury — can help chefs isolate food from allergens.
Go to 7:35: What if you have allergies, beyond the Top 9? How can kitchens accommodate?
People who have allergies beyond the Top 9 still need to be served. Technique and process are all important here.
Go to 8:19: The importance of equipment & utensil management procedures and cleaning methods
Learn the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. They are not the same!
Go to 10:45: Words of wisdom
Chef Martha offers 4 important rules to keep top of mind so you can minimize some of the risks of dining out with food allergies.
This podcast on cross-contact and professional kitchens — from FAACT’s Roundtable Podcast series — is a must listen for families with food allergies.
If you would like to delve deeper into restaurant dining do’s and dont's, find additional resources here:
FAACT’s How to Prevent Cross-Contact and Accidental Environmental Exposure
FAACT’s Dining Out
Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America's Eating Out with Food Allergies
Allergic Living's Dining with Food Allergies
Allergy Force's What to Ask when Dining Out with Food Allergies
“Should. That’s not a word of confidence. That’s not a word of comfort. So when in doubt, walk away.”
—Chef Martha Morgan, Allergy Dragon
Whether you are newly diagnosed or a long-time member of the allergy community, FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team) is your home for education, advocacy, and connections with other parents and adults affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. Whether it’s keeping children safe at school, responding to food allergy bullying, traveling, preparing for college, dealing with workplace issues, or simply taking the family out for dinner, FAACT has the facts you need to manage food allergies and stay healthy. FAACT is your voice for food allergy awareness.
FAACT produces the Roundtable Podcast that promotes life with food allergies, whatever stage of life you’re in. Each episode explores a different topic and leaves with actionable information that can make your life with food allergies safer, easier. The information shared in these podcasts is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice. Find the FAACT Roundtable Podcast on BuzzSprout - or Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Podcast Chaser, Deezer, and Listen Notes. Please subscribe, share and review FAACT’s podcasts!
Chef Martha Morgan (aka Allergy Dragon) is a specialty diet and allergy chef who shares tips, tricks and best recipes from over the past 28 years of professional cooking experience on social media and at the Allergy Dragon website. Chef Martha provides support in the kitchen to everyone with food allergies, food intolerances, and specialty diets. Her expertise includes providing a full range of cooking guidance in the kitchen from technique, to finding safe products to handling those new products to creating (or re-creating as the case may be) recipes. Connect with Allergy Dragon on Instagram (@allergy_dragon), Facebook (@allergydragon), Twitter, (@AllergyDragon), and LinkedIn and follow Allergy Dragon on YouTube.
Allergy Force is committed to helping people with food allergies live freely — with less fear, less anxiety, more confidence — through technology and education. The Allergy Force food allergy app is peace of mind in your pocket.
Credits: Thank you FAACT for giving Allergy Force permission to post and share this important content with the Allergy Force community. Thank you, Pylyp Sukhenko on Unsplash.