Eating out when you have allergies can be tricky. We are in France at the moment, and going to a restaurant with Jumpy is a lot more complicated than it is at home. Even finding ‘free from’ food is a challenge here. I have managed to get a couple of packets of biscuits, pasta, bread as well as wraps I use in place of pancakes or pizzas, but I could not even get a wheat-free flour blend. I now wish I had been less overconfident about my ability to cater for her allergies whilst on holidays.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have eaten out four times. The first two times, all Jumpy could have on the menu was chips and sorbet. The third time, she could not have anything other than a drink, because the chips were cooked in the same oil as potato cakes (egg white…). Luckily, I had her ‘emergency snack bag’ at hand. Today, we went to a Crêperie for lunch. Although savoury pancakes (galettes) are only made with buckwheat flour, water and salt, I still packed pasta for her as well as a few other things as we were heading out, just in case.
When I questioned the waiter, I found out that their galette recipe included a small proportion of wheat flour. As for their artisan ice cream, it contained egg. Of course… She had a slice of ham to go with her pasta, and lemon sorbet. It made me sad to see her look when we were getting truly moreish pancakes and all she had was a slice of ham on a plate, followed by sorbet she did not like.
Enough rambling on my part… Feeding yourself is easier in England (I never ever thought I would say anything like that!) if you are an allergy sufferer, there is no shadow of a doubt about that. Eating out has been made even easier by Can I Eat There? So today, Nicky Granger is introducing her wonderful restaurant directory. Over to you, Nicky!
“Can I Eat There?”
Is there any person with food allergies, intolerances, coeliac disease or following a free-from diet by choice who hasn’t looked at a restaurant and asked themselves that question?
Nicky Granger, founder of Can I Eat There?, an online restaurant directory for people with food allergies, got tired of asking it! Her son Gabriel has nine severe food allergies. “For me, the worst part was phoning ahead. Some restaurants were amazing – they couldn’t do enough to welcome us. But more often, the person answering the phone knew nothing about allergy, or didn’t have time to talk to me, or quite often didn’t speak English well enough to have a conversation about issues like cross-contamination in the kitchen!
“The other big problem is the 14-allergen menu most restaurants bring you in a huge folder with tiny print and no proper descriptions of the dishes – as soon as you have more than one allergen to deal with, it becomes too hard to use.”
So Nicky and the rest of the Can I Eat There? team (Ali – mother to Freddie with Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy; Christina – coeliac and mother to Harriet, 16, who has a peanut allergy; Taz – asthma and oral allergy syndrome; and Scott – no allergies, but works in the restaurant industry) got together and created a restaurant directory with a difference, specifically to help other people like them eat out:
– You can read the restaurant’s allergy policy, so you can see how they handle issues like cross-contamination or whether they offer, for example, gluten- or dairy-free alternatives
– It has customisable allergy menus, so you can tick the foods you’re avoiding and see exactly what you can eat
– It uses customer “allergy reviews” to help you see which restaurants are best
Photo Credit: Can I Eat There?
Can I Eat There? launched in March, and after three months, had more than 12,000 restaurants on its directory. In the next year, they aim to get every restaurant in the UK listed.
“Sometimes you’re on holiday, on a business trip or caught without snacks for the kids, and you just need to find the nearest place with something safe for you to eat,” explains Nicky. “We want every UK restaurant on our directory, so that you can see just that. The reviews from our users and Allergy Ambassadors are there to help you find which restaurants are consistently best at catering for food allergies.”
Can I Eat There? has also partnered with Allergy UK and their new Allergy Aware Scheme for accrediting restaurants, as well as the Free From Eating Out Awards and others. “People using our site can search by our ‘Allergy Stars’ filter to find those restaurants who have gone the extra mile – those who have a choice of delicious allergen-free meals, who have received good allergy training and who understand the issues and concerns of the free-from community.”
So whether you’re looking for food in a hurry when you’re stuck on the motorway or somewhere special that will cater for your allergy – Can I Eat There? has the answer.
Thank you so much Nicky for everything you do for people little my little Jumpy. We have a few favourite restaurants in our local area, that we love and trust. It is when we are away from home that it all becomes complicated. Can I Eat There certainly makes choosing a place to eat much easier!
Look at my little Jumpy, so happy to be eating free-from pasta at Carluccio’s:
I have partnered with Can I Eat There? to give one of my readers a £20 voucher for Pizza Express, one of our safe places to eat.
Win a £20 Voucher for Pizza Express!
How to Enter
Just use the box below. It is easy to use and you can get more than one entry! If you are not sure how to use Rafflecopter, I have included detailed instructions below the box.
Entries are open until midnight GMT time on 1st September 2015. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
How to use Rafflecopter?
The first thing you need to do is to log in with Facebook or your email address.
Once you are logged in, the first and mandatory entry option is to leave a comment on this post telling me which restaurant from the Can I Eat There? directory you would like to visit and why.
For extra chances of winning, check the instructions in the form. You can pick and choose a range of ways in which to enter. The only one you must click on to get into the draw is the one asking you to leave a blog post comment. You must also leave a comment for your entry to be valid.
– The prize was supplied by Can I Eat There? and will be posted by Le Coin de Mel.
– The giveaway is open to UK residents over 18.
– I am an Allergy Ambassador for Can I Eat there? on a voluntary basis. No payment was received or this post. All opinions and photographs, unless otherwise stated, are my own.