If you are catering for more than ten people, chances are you will have at least one food allergy in the group. The highest number of allergies we have ever had was 25 people out of a group 75. For the record that is 33% of the group!
In our experience, you would be dealing with one to five per cent of some allergy or self-elected diet in any group. With that in mind, here are our top five tips on how to not kill people:
- Package or plate your dietary requirement food separately.
- Never have them in the same space as any allergens. This could lead to cross-contamination that for some allergies is just as harmful as if you made the food with that item (the most common allergens that spring to mind are cucumber, wheat and nuts).
- If possible, have designated utensils for that specific allergy OR be pedantic about washing your utensils and equipment between uses.
- Warn the person with allergy if you have a mixed-environment kitchen.
- If possible, label the dietary option with the person’s name. Often these dietary foods look amazing and can be taken by those without the specific allergy. A very sad experience.