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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Upscale Meets Fast Food for Safer Dining

"The allergic reactions of the people are not going to go away in six months."

That's Dominique Tougne, executive chef at Bistro 110 in Chicago talking. It's part of an interesting article by Radha Chitale of ABC News on how chefs at good restaurants are beginning to learn what many chain restaurants already know. A huge audience for allergen-safe food and information about every bite people put into their mouths already exists, and the ever-increasing number of allergic children will ensure that the demand will continue to grow for the next generation.

Sloane Miller, president of the advocacy group Allergic Girl Resources Inc. in New York, has severe nut and salmon allergies as well as allergies to some fruits and vegetables. When she goes out to eat, she plans ahead carefully.

On a recent night out, Miller arrived at a steak restaurant for dinner, having called beforehand and being told that they would be happy to accommodate her. That evening, the staff was ready and waiting for her.

"The chef came out and walked me through the menu, step by step, dish by dish," Miller said. "I ordered with ease, the food came out. ... The chef came by to see that everything was prepped to the specifications, and I called the next day to thank the general manager."

Miller said she enjoyed the meal all the more because she was relaxed and confident that her food was safe.

"It's a hospitality business," Miller said. "That's what they want for everyone."

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