Q: I need to eat gluten-free meals, and it makes dining out of town a challenge sometimes. Is there an app for helping find gluten-free dining options? What about for other food allergies?
A: Awesome question. In a world of personalized service, restaurants and health sources, everyone wants to make sure that people with special dietary needs aren’t excluded from dining experiences and apps are a great way to take some of the guess work out of safe dining.
After doing a little research there are TONS of different apps out there that offer information about dining out with allergy concerns. The iEatOut app seems to be a great choice for iOS users, and an app called Hold the Allergen for Android offers good features to help answer your questions. You are able to enter your allergens, and it will list some of the common foods, ingredients and dishes that contain those allergens. Some apps are more comprehensive than others, with more restaurant inclusion, etc.
I personally believe that with something as serious as food allergies, the best way to find out if there are allergens is often to just ask your server, or to speak with the chef. More and more restaurants have plans in place to work with dietary needs, and since the chefs work with the ingredients every night, they are often the best source to go to find out if your meal may contain allergens. I would caution that you should make it clear to your server, or whomever you speak with, that it is not merely a dietary preference, and that it is a true allergy. Chefs and kitchen staff are very good about ensuring there is no cross contamination with allergens.
I was fortunate enough to work with the wonderful chefs and kitchen crews at Madden’s Resort, and I think they are very representative of all chefs’ dedication to ensuring that all guests have a great experience and were always willing to go the extra mile to make sure that any guest would be able to have a meal they not only can eat without repercussions, but that the meal will also be something you will enjoy! Even serving banquets of over 300, those with dietary restrictions were served the same quality meal in a way that their dining experience was the same as any other person’s: excellent. Bon Appetite!