I am writing to you to ask for your help when dining at Alta Bistro.
Please don’t be offended or misunderstood, I know about allergies and intolerances and I feel and understand your pain/embarrassment/ annoyance. But thankfully not directly, I’m all good, but my wife can’t eat wheat. It is a terrible intolerance resulting in bloating and discomfort for hours and sometimes days. Sorry Gosia, now everyone knows. Perhaps a little embarrassing but maybe it’s just easier this way.
So here are a few tips to make you less hungry and disappointed and our lives less difficult:
Know if you have an intolerance or an allergy. They are very different.
Allergic means if mango so much as glances at your food you are swelling up and impersonating a beet. Then you need an epi-pen. Then you need hospital. We don’t want this to happen. If you are allergic then any contact with the item will result in anaphylactic shock, and you can die/need an ambulance/make a mess of the dining room.
Intolerant means you will feel terrible/bloated/sick/make a mess of the bathroom. No death.
We treat the two things very differently in the kitchen. The effort and work required is very different. The legal implications scare us.
The important thing to know here is that as soon as you tell us we will ensure your food is free of the intolerance/allergy. The difference is if you are allergic the kitchen team will clean everything before they make every dish for you. Everything. Chef is sacred about killing you. He won’t sleep at night if he does. And we want him to sleep at night.
Please tell us of your intolerance or allergy before you start trying to talk to your busy server at 8pm on Saturday night and enquire about the dairy free options. A few days are a great amount of notice. A few hours are better than nothing.
Finally, if we go out of our way to ensure that your whole 4 course meal if pleasantly gluten free, please don’t eat the crackers with the cheese at the end, with the exclamation that “a little won’t hurt”. Because we will have an allergic reaction to you.
Edward Dangerfield is the one of the owners of Alta Bistro, and is extremely tolerant of his wife’s food intolerances. He cooks a lot at home using no wheat.