Bruni talks about dining with allergies! And I sent in a resposne. I'd love to see this issue get more coverage.
Here's my reply:
Thank you for shedding light on this issue! For those of us who dine out regularly with serious food allergies [and who blog about it] an Epi-Pen and Benadryl are par for the course as well as a very thorough discussion with the waitstaff and the kitchen. I had a wonderful allergy-free meal at Mas when they first opened. The Chef's reaction to my litany of allergies, "I love a challenge." He created an entire multi-course meal that I ate with impunity. That is the exception, more often my meal starts much like your friend’s, with at least three reassurances: “This dish doesn’t have anything that could kill me, right?” In the future, I hope more restaurants and culinary schools educate themselves about the seriousness of food allergies and the need for clear vertical communication. Ultimately though, the responsibility lies with the diner to communicate their needs. If they feel those needs aren’t being heard then, as Chef Franklin Becker at Brasserie told me, leave.