Did I mention that upon sitting at table 20 underneath the impressive she-whale at the Green event at the Natural History Museum , I discovered our luncheon was pre-plated: sliced chicken breast, a whole peeled poached pear, micro greens [dressing on the side], a few crumbles of Roquefort cheese, and a sprinkling of walnut halves.
Of course. Walnuts. What's considered an elegant garnish for some is a major problem for this Allergic Girl.
I introduced myself to our waitperson, Tom, and asked if there were any plain un-plated components of the meal in the back. He recreated the dish without nuts, easy peasy. He also said next time if I call ahead they make me something special as they were very happy to accommodate requests/special needs.
Fab! Who was the they? Restaurant Associates. And they do most of the Museums in town. Now this I did not know. But it’s very, very good to know. RA, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.
PS Here’s a little trick my allergic friends: in a room of 850 fundraisers and socialites, I bet I was the only one who introduced herself to her lovely server. Making that human connection, especially when you are asking for a favor, helps. Yes, it’s called charm but this is an instance when charm is literally about survival.
Chef Zeitouni said it best: “Charm [your waiter], be sweet to them, get them on your side so they understand fully the seriousness of the request and the consequences if the request is forgotten, lost, misunderstood, or otherwise overlooked.”
Everyone appreciates being treated respectfully, even sweetly, when making a request. And the bottom line is when you are asking for some special attention, charm, honey, sweetness, respect, what ever you want to call it, most times get the job done. If not, leave or in this case don’t eat it and bring snacks. [ Ms. GF Guide is a great example of the issues of event dining, getting spooked that they didn’t give you an allergen free plate, and using her back-up snacks!]