Food Allergy Counseling: Chef The Film

I love film and I love food, so films about food are an extra delicious pairing to me. Like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff sandwiches. (PS you can make "fluffernutters" with all kinds of food allergy free variations like using Ricemellow Creme & Soynut butter on Udi's GF bread. Yum!) 

Chef, written and directed by Jon Favreau, is just that: a delicious pairing of great music, a road trip movie, father/son bonding story and gorgeous food pictures. 

For example, here's Chef's pasta aglio e olio recipe posted on She Knows and Bake SpaceChef makes this, read seduces, Scarlet Johansson with this recipe. And you can totally make this top 8 allergen, food allergy friendly; it's naturally tree-nut free! 

If you see Chef, make sure to stay until the very end of the credits as there is footage of Chef Roy Choi talking to Jon Favreau about making the perfect grilled cheese. Here's some of the background footage through Youtube. So fun! 

Interestingly, how chefs are represented in this film (and most food/chefy films I can think of, like Mostly Martha or Eat Drink Man Woman) underscores something I understand about chefs: they often express love through cooking. Jon Favreau said as much to Eatocracy when he was explaining some of what he learned working with Chef Roy Choi (Tweets by Chef Choi) to get this role down correctly: “…The most accurate, sincere communicating [chefs] do is through their food.”

Understanding this basic tenant of chef-life is how I can dine out often. I know, at the core, chefs are driven to express themselves, their passions and their art through food. Possibly harming through food is the exact opposite of what drives culinarians as professionals and artists.

When you communicate with a chef clearly about your food allergic needs, odds are your needs will be taken seriously and appropriate accommodations will be made. Here’s my step-by-step guide to dining out (via Allergic Living Magazine).  I have a whole chapter about dining out in my book Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies (Wiley, 2011) or if you want to work on creating food allergy confidence around challenges like dining out, contact me for a tailored-to-you counseling program.


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