My welcome at Boston Harbor Hotel:
This past week, I made a quick trip to Boston for the Natural Products Expo East. Because of a scheduling snafu, I was kindly rebooked from my usual Pure room at the Seaport Boston to a hotel down the street, the Boston Harbor Hotel.
The person I contacted after being rebooked was the hotel executive chef via email first then by phone. Chef Daniel Bruce was the essence of graciousness and hospitality. “We can make anything you like with any flavor profile,” he said. (That is the answer you want when talking with any chef, in any hotel restaurant or went you go into any restaurant; never settle for anything less.) Chef Daniel confirmed what I write about on Allergicgirl.com. Typically, hotel chefs are allergen-aware and trained, they deal with allergy requests and special requests all day long and basically, they want to help us, they're willing to help us and they're happy to help us.
Once I checked in, Chef Daniel met me for a quick conversation about my food allergy needs and then when over what I might like to have for dinner. Chef Daniel also mentioned that he had read my blog and copied and pasted all of my allergy needs into my guest profile. (This the level of service that is ideal from a chef, foodservice professional or hotel - even a date - if you have a blog.)
After all of this set-up with an Executive Chef of three hotel restaurants, you may think I just breezily walked into the hotel restaurant that night and ate whatever they served me, without doing any of the steps. And that may have worked. But I never leave it to chance; I never let anyone take over for me in a new untested situation, regardless of how many times they reassure me that they know everything they need to know. My health is my responsibility, first and foremost. So, I always, always do the steps. The same ones I use in any restaurant, anywhere. It's why I dine out often with so few food allergy issues and lots of new foodie friends.
So onto the food. The second night of my stay I sat at the bar of the Meritage. I introduced myself to the General Manager by name and he said “Oh yes, Ms. Miller, we’ve been expecting you.” Lovely. Chef Daniel came out to personally take my order. Very nice. I had a three-ounce filet mignon perfectly cooked (medium rare) with fingerling potatoes, green beans and Brussel sprouts. That’s one of my standard I-don’t-know-you-yet-so-this-is-my-safe-dish – a lean protein with steamed or sautéed veg. (I recommend you have a safe dish that you can order at new places as well.)
Whilst at the bar, I ended up chatting with a lovely couple next to me who were considering the hotel for their wedding. They were talking about how they dine at the restaurant often and are huge fans of the chef, in awe they said, of his culinary abilities. They were impressed that he had come out to not only talk with me but to take my order and then serve my dish.
The woman inquired: “Are you a food critic or someone famous?”
“No”, I said proudly, “I have food allergies.”
How did this all happen? It starts right after you book your trip. Reach out to the Executive Chef of your hotel to see if they can accommodate your needs. A quick call or email takes only a few minutes but it could mean the difference between a nerve-wracking trip and an easeful journey.
Thank you Boston Harbor Hotel and Chef Daniel Bruce for making my stay such an enjoyable and allergen-free one!