Yesterday evening I went out to dinner with three friends I have been close with since elementary school. We walked around the waterfront area, and asked a few different restaurants if they would serve me. I showed them my Chef Card, and the managers would come out and say they didn't feel comfortable serving me because of my fish/shellfish allergy. We then finally ended up at Joe's American Bar and Grill because I had gone there last summer and had no problem. It said on the bottom of the menu to tell your server if you have any allergies, so I figured that showed some awareness anyway.
When it was time to order, I asked if the server could check on the turkey burger for me. I remembered having it last year without a problem, and remembered it being pretty delicious. He came back with my Chef Card a few minutes later. He said that the manager would be right out. The manager came out and explained that he was worried about the turkey burger because they cooked fish, and he was also worried about some rice I had asked about ordering as an appetizer (I was starving after participating in a scavenger hunt/bar crawl, and was ready to eat about anything I wasn't allergic to). He then asked if I would want a pasta dish. I ended up ordering a generic pasta veggie combo dish. The food was fine, but it was definitely a different experience than the prior year at that same restaurant. The manager seemed overly worried about my allergies. I would much rather have that though, than have a manager that won't take them seriously!
Every time I come back to America, I do notice changes. Many restaurants and food establishments have signs asking to let them know if you have a food allergy. People in general also seem to be taking it mores seriously and are more aware of the actions that need to be taken. I know it is still a slow process, but change is happening, and with the continuation of educating people, hopefully more awareness and understanding will continue.
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