Food allergy reaction at restaurant.

4 friends and I were at a local restaurant last night. a farewell dinner for a friend leaving Auckland. the food was good until I had my dessert. it was choc fondant with rhubarb sauce with a scoop of I/cream. my mouth starting to itch, then my forehead started to itch, so did my chin and there were small lumps appearing, then my hands and wrists started itching. the manager came, didn't say much except to ask if I was allergic to any food. I told her that I have an allergic reaction to alcohol. we had to break our evening as my friends wanted to take me to ER. luckily we were close to the hospital. When I paid my bill the mgr didn't offer a word of apology, nor showed any concern. what do u think? should I write a letter of complaint?

Chef_hoonguek, May 7, 9:36 pm

Did you ask if there was any alcohol in the dessert i would have if i had a allergy and dining out. At least the manager came and asked you were you allergic to anything, not their fault sounds like there could have been some in the choc dessert plenty of recipes use alcohol in fondants, its up to you to check Hope your feeling better now.

Chef_fifie, May 7, 10:09 pm

the menu gave a description of the dessert, but no mention of any alcohol. one of my friends (last one to pay her bill) told me that the mgr finally mentioned that there was alcohol. I was already on my way out with friends to take me to the ER.

Chef_hoonguek, May 7, 10:16 pm

If you didn't ask, not their problem.

Chef_landylass, May 7, 10:28 pm

With allergies you really really need to ask and don't take "I think so" from waiting staff, get them to ask the chef. Adding liquours or alcohol to dishes is relatively common, a menu won't list all ingredients, just the dominant ones.

Have discussed this issue before with 2 family members who owns a businesses and are chefs, one is gluten free too. Can be helpful to print a small card(s) for your wallet so they also understand the degree of your issue. For example someone who is gluten intolerant may have little or no issues with cross comtamination (shared toaster etc) or shared utensils that may have been in contact with gluten, but someone who is coeliac is a different story. Its not their fault you didn't ask.

Chef_dinx, May 8, 1:43 am


Chef_davidt4, May 8, 8:56 am

I would never have put alcohol in anything on my menu without it being mentioned. As a customer, I would not expect to be feed hidden alcohol. Especially a dessert that you could order for a child.

Chef_pickles7, May 8, 9:33 am

Still, she should have asked, she knew the risk.

Chef_rainrain1, May 8, 1:49 pm

I agree. The restaurant has done nothing wrong. I'm allergic to chilli and always ask.

Chef_kay141, May 8, 1:57 pm

If you are allergic to something it is up to YOU to ask. Your fault not the restaurants.

Chef_herself, May 8, 3:28 pm

I think the manager really should of asked if you are ok but no I dont think this warrants a complaint. Its really up to you to ask them.

I hope you are ok now?

Chef_holly-rocks, May 8, 6:26 pm

wow, someone else with a chilli allergy! I've not come across anyone else with it, and it's amazing how much food has it in. I'm getting better with things that have used chilli flakes, so some of the sweet chilli sauces, but fresh chilli is still a no go. It is the enzyme capsaicin released that causes the problem.

Chef_firemansgirl, May 8, 6:29 pm

I have a couple of friends with allergies, one allergic to almonds & one allergic to mushrooms (poor darlings) & they are almost paranoid when eating out, but who can blame them for that? They question stringently before they order . why wouldn't anyone with a known allergy?

Chef_samanya, May 8, 6:33 pm

Besides the alcohol, it would be prudent to find out what you are allergic to.

Chef_hestia, May 8, 7:00 pm

It's everywhere isn't it? For me, it is all chilli? Went to the Crab Shack not long after it opened in Wellington. I had calamari which I could have had anytime but as half the menu was not available and the other half had chilli, I think I had two choices. Why would you put chilli with fish? Haven't been back. I think too many chefs these days are too fond of chilli and often it covers bad cooking. I have found a butcher who make their own chorizo with the proper Spanish recipe, paprika not chilli. And a Malaysian restaurant where the food comes as 1/ no chilli, 2/ mild, 3/ medium so we can all go.

Chef_kay141, May 8, 7:16 pm


Chef_awoftam, May 8, 7:21 pm

I hope that you are now feeling OK. If you have any food allergy, you should always check what's in the food before ordering, don't take it for granted that it's OK. You didn't ask so not really a cause for complaint.

Chef_nauru, May 8, 8:38 pm

well this is the first time I ever had such a reaction with food. I rang the restaurant back to ask what ingredients were in the dessert, it didn't hv alcohol. so that couldn't be. I did have fried prawns for entrée but I have always had prawns. I do sometimes hv a bit of itch around the lips but that's all. i would put this down to a freak accident. I did go to the hospital Emergency ward and they treated me immediately with some tablets that helped with the intense itch, and the rash on my face. I am ok now thank you hollyrocks, Nauru and everyone who responded.

Chef_hoonguek, May 9, 6:47 pm

So it was not the restaurants fault and your original post was wrong. Perhaps you should now be apologising to them.

Chef_kay141, May 9, 7:28 pm

Had you ever eaten rhubarb before. You say it was in the sauce. Just thought it could be this. I am allergic to rhubarb. Found this out when I had stewed apples mixed with rhubarb 19 years ago in maternity hospital. Very itchy in and around mouth at first, then whole body came up in huge welts and a rash over my face and was very uncomfortable in the chest. At first the nurses thought it was from what the hospital washed the sheets in. Not nice with a 1 day old new born. I can't even touch the stuff without a reaction. Wonder if you can see if it could be this?

Chef_biscuits101, May 9, 9:47 pm

have eaten rhubarb with apple sauce - no reaction. thx for asking.

Chef_hoonguek, May 10, 11:39 am

Some reactions take a while to start so may have been before the dessert.
My wife is alergic to "rocket". her mouth swells up and she gets a sore throat.
It can be hard to track down as it is often in salads and is not easy to spot.
Looked it up on the net and it is not uncommon with some people having extreme throat reactions.

Chef_nala2, May 10, 1:03 pm

An allergy can start out of the blue - suddenly the body is sensitised. Or so the Doc told me when I was stung on my toe and my leg swelled up to my groin. Looked like I had elephantiasis.

Chef_awoftam, May 10, 6:12 pm

If you are saying that your mouth sometimes itches after prawns, and then you had this more severe reaction, I would have to say - stay away from the prawns! Sometimes allergic reactions increase with each exposure, so you could be in big trouble next time!

Chef_dannydonut, Aug 12, 3:13 pm

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