Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chef Heroes for the Food Allergic

. If you're like me, you worry about taking your food-allergic children to restaurants.

Thankfully, some leading chefs are working to make restaurants safer for the food allergic.

For one, there's Ming Tsai, a famous chef in Boston (you may have seen him on the Food Network in "East Meets West" or most recently, as a guest judge on "Top Chef Chicago"). Chef Tsai is a food allergy hero!

His young son has severe food allergies, including an allergy to all nuts--just like my daughter. Because of his personal experience with food allergies, Chef Tsai's restaurant, Blue Ginger, in Boston is leading the charge to make restaurants safe for everyone.

As a spokesperson for FAAN, Chef Tsai also recently testified at the Boston Statehouse about creating policies that would require all restaurants in Massachusetts to maintain a high level of awareness about food allergies. Chef Tsai is highly aware of the danger of nut allergies, which makes him cool in my book!

I'm especially excited that an Asian chef known for Asian food is taking the lead here. Asian food is one of the big "no-nos" for anyone with nut allergies and maybe someday this can change. I miss my Chinese food and Thai food!

But there's more help on the way, right here in Chicago. Chef Dominique Tougne of Bistro 110 has 2 children with severe food allergies. He was recently profiled in Living Without magazine on this very subject. At Bistro 110, he says that they will accomodate food allergies and in fact, do this each day with increasing regularity. I've been to the restaurant and the food is great, plus it's located in a fun part of the city. I'm looking forward to taking my daughter there.

That said: always call ahead. Kitchens get busy, so also try to go at "off" times. You're more likely to get the special treatment you need when chefs aren't in the thick of lunch or dinner rush.

Thank you, thank you to these two chefs for their amazing efforts! I hope many more chefs will follow their lead.

1 comment:

Jennifer B said...

I enjoyed this post. We live in Massachusetts, and are big fans of Ming Tsai. We've been watching his cooking shows for years. He is great! Once we got the peanut allergy diagnosis, we gained a whole different appreciation for him! I had not heard of Chef Dominique before, but I will keep my eyes open for him now and for any future visits to Chicago. Thanks for this info!