When struggling with multiple food allergies, especially as an adult, where no one is advocating for you, life outside of our own kitchens is difficult. First, we have to put an enormous amount of trust and faith in someone else with our lives and our health. Secondly, chances are we are going to have to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes doing a quick education with the staff at a restaurant. Thirdly, finding something on the menu we can somehow group together and enjoy eating and paying for while eating out.
I get asked all the time about where I feel safe eating out. There are also apps like AllergyEats and websites like SafeFARE where we can go search reviews and ratings on how "allerfriendly" a restaurant is, but there are still greater issues. It's really great if your allergies are only those in what the US has declared top 8, because ingredients and technologies have catered to at least label those 8 foods, however if you have some in top 8 and 8 others, life gets even more complicated, just ask 60 group members of adults with multiple food allergy support group, but it's not just them. The numbers of adults with multiple food allergies, continue to rise daily.
While most of us will be religated and confined to our own kitchens and meal planning for everything from breakfast to light snacks, parties, events and everything in between, there may be a chance you can catch a break at a high end restaurant, like Polaris in Atlanta, GA, were I recently had a fabulous experience.
I can safely say after spending over 3/4 my life in restaurants, both eating in them, working in them, or working for them, the place to be for eating out with multiple food allergies is a high end restaurant. A place where you will most likely find a real chef, a knowledgable server, fresh, raw ingredients (very little packaged anything), and a price point that says, "I charge this because I bend over backward to make every person happy that can afford to eat here."
It's sad we have to spend big $$$ to have a healthy life outside of our own kitchen, but that's just how it works. I don't dine out as much as I did, because the economics have changed but also the level of effort that has to go into eating out. In the occasions were it's business or a big group of people getting together, I usually take the chance. I can't afford a $40 dinner (just for me) every time I go out, but I certainly don't mind the break I get from my kitchen, the level of service and delicious food served to me when I find a place that can do it safely.
Polaris in Atlanta with Chef Martin Pfefferkorn was a special event for me with 9 people going out to celebrate life and living in Atlanta. Polaris is a revolving restaurant located at the top of the Hyatt Regency in downtown, Atlanta. Even taking precautions such as having a light dinner before (knowing I may not eat), packing the epi pen, taking an antihistamine, packing prescription anti hive medications, writing my list of food allergies down, the Chef blew my mind first with being willing and able to serve me and second with fabulous flavors, great presentation, time, attention to detail and wiliness to listen and create something special just for me.
If you are going out to eat with multiple food allergies, it's best to do it with great caution but also take great pride in treating yourself right. I'm not saying a chain restaurant can't do it, I'm saying it's much harder when they 'can't' customize anything, have little or no education on food allergies and equally lack the ability to provide excellent hospitality. Stick with the best, find them and then spread the word to the rest of us. We have a long way to go until we get where we need to be with serving the public safely again.