It should always be this simple (and it can be with a few simple steps).
The morning of Allison’s wedding I called The Pierre and asked for “Catering”. I spoke with the manager, Herbert Rose and gave him my Allergic Girl spiel. He told me the wedding menu: salmon and caviar to start. Choice of rack of lamb or sea bass for mains. And chocolate for dessert. Not one dish was really AG safe.
However, the smart manager preempted my saying “No, thank you” to that menu by asking: “What would you like us to make for you?” How nice! I gave him my usual menu for a first time restaurant or catering hall: green salad, dry, broiled chicken with steamed mixed veggies and berries for dessert.
He said, “We can do that easily.” (Yes, that is my point. I want it to be easy for them! Therefore it will be easy for moi!) He talked to himself as he made notes in my chart for catering staff: “Make sure chicken is not cooked with fish or near fish grill”.
Exactly, thank you!
When I arrived I introduced myself to my table’s waiter, reiterated my needs and allergies, smiled and said a lot of pleases and thank yous. It was all pretty darn smooth and I could fully concentrate on getting my wedding groove on. AND I didn't have to bug the bride or any of her party.
Hotels are in a unique position to be able to serve you safe food. They have large kitchens, lots of staff cooking, lots of ingredients on hand and are used to dealing with “unusual” requests (although food restrictions are more and more common and less unusual these days). If you can, give them some notice before your event, whether it’s a wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, work conference or other function. A phone call placed early, with lots of pleases and thank you and letting them know what you would like (a filet mignon, plain & grilled “only”) can do wonders!
Thank you Herbert Rose and the catering staff at The Pierre for taking such good care of me!