Many people with allergies are frustrated that people don’t understand and don’t seem to want to understand their situation. This post is one step towards remedying that.

Brasserie Au Bon Plaisir is hosting more and more guests suffering from food allergies or food intolerances and has implemented for long time now a hospitability procedure for customers with food allergies.

What difference between an intolerance and an allergy ?

When people suffering from food intolerances must only avoid eating that type of food, people suffering from food allergies must also make sure that their food doesn’t contain any TRACES of that food. This involves quite a level of expertise and focus, since most ingredients are present in the kitchen and only specific care can garanty there is no “cross contamination” between the foods.

Which procedure do we use when facing allergies ?

Our first approach takes place when taking the order. We question the guest in order to know the level of intolerance he/she has in order to adapt the procedure. Fortunately for most people a simple eviction is enough.

Still, even if the food is not present in the dish ordered, we are going to have a red flag on the instruction given to the kitchen to make sure a special attention is dedicated to the preparation of the dish destinated to an intolerant customer.

For example, we have a regular customer with tomatoe intolerance. On his ticket will appear in red ink “food intolerance, no tomatoe” so the Chef and the assistants will make sure his “à la marinière” mussels will not contain tomatoes but also check that no tomatoe will be added even for decoration at any stage of the preparation (of the starters for example).

At the time of bringing the dish upon the table, the waiter is again given the information and will most of the time bring it separately in order to avoid any confusion. He or she will be happy to answer any question at any time, and won’t feel offended to have to go again to the kitchen for a last check !

What changes with an allergy ?

With a proper allergy, even traces of the incriminated product must be avoided. The symptoms can be very fast and very dangerous, like swelling or difficulties to breathe, just to quote some of the serious consequences forbidden foods can have on alergic people when ingested.

The allergies can be with very common foods, that are found everywhere. The allergies we have to cope with so far amongst our clientele are pepper (yes, the black one), garlic, mushroom, and of course gluten and dairy.

You can easily imagine how complicated it becomes to cook in a professional kitchen that widely uses those ingredients.

Our specific process Our process in order to host safely those guests are then the following.

  1. Firstly, we need to be aware at the time of the reservation that a person with serious food allergy is gonna visit us. As an internal organisation, this indication is saved together with the phone number of the customer so I can double check at the time of the reservation.
  2. Second, this allergy must be reminded when placing the order, so the waiter can double-check with the Chef the feasibility of the order.
  3. Third, after we agree with the Chef about the order, it is mentionned in red ink on the ticket going to the kitchen for execution “Food allergy, Special procedure” and the mention of the allergy.
  4. At the time the order is prepared in the kitchen, all the usual process of preparation is like “suspended”, the incessant ballet is stopped for a while…
  5. The Chef and the assistants will isolate every single ingredient and make sure that no trace of it will be present in the area of preparation. They will clean everything and cook everything from scratch for that specific order.

Let’s take the example of the allergy to black pepper, when the customer wants a simple salad…

The box containing black pepper will be closed and removed from the working area.

The whole preparation area will be cleaned again.

New fresh salad is gonna get specifically washed, cut on a clean cutting board with clean knives. All the other ingredients also.

A new vinaigrette will be prepared, containing no black pepper. The composition of the mustard will also be checked to make sure there is no black pepper in it…

You can see how serious we take it, and easily understand how complicated and time consuming this can be, but it is our pride to have more and more regular customers trusting us for their food !

For obvious reasons, we cannot host guests with serious food allergies on busy nights, as it paralyzes the whole kitchen process and induce longer waiting times. But week days are very popular 😉

 

Good to know

 

The whole restaurant is, on a permanent base, free from MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). We consider this product as not necessary in an environment of real cooking. Plus, being highly controversial and inducing secondary effects in a growing proportion of individuals, we consider it as not welcome. (see our previous article).Even ready made preparations like goose rillettes or saucissons are carefully checked for their content, and their delivery is refused in case it contains.

The restaurant is also peanut free.

About Gluten, only 5 dishes of the whole menu contain some, and 2 of those can be prepared in an alternative way not to contain anymore. Also, we are happy to let you know we now have Gluten free bread for our customers !

About Dairy, we now have 3 recipes of fresh mussels that don’t contain any dairy, and always have one soup that doesn’t contain either (also usefull for fasting people). Also our new recipe of Fresh Norvegian salmon with honey and mustard doesn’t. The Kakopetria trout never did. We can also cook the steaks without clarified butter…Again, communication with the waiter who takes your order is crucial in order to ensure the best service to our guests who have to carefully look after their diet !

You are welcome to share this article with all allergic or intolerant people you know or tag them beneath. Eating outside has became a nightmare for most of them and even deprived many of them to ever go to another place than their own to eat…Yes we can do it !

With love, 

Gatienne and the Team of Brasserie Au Bon Plaisir