Food Allergy 101: New Restaurant? Call Ahead.

aug. 16

What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

BLOG POST #173 —  Mr. A, my allergy, is waiting in the lobby when I arrive for our weekly meeting.

"Thanks for meeting me at this new restaurant," Mr. A says. "Instead of always meeting at the same place, I'd thought we'd try some place new this week."

I nod.

"Besides, I hear the chef is amazing, and they are supposed to have the greatest food," he adds. "Have you ever been here?"

"Nope," I say. "First time here."

"Nice," he says with a smile. "I'm hungry, hungry, hungry!"

I know why he's smiling. He knows I'm a bit uneasy meeting at a new, unfamiliar place for lunch. Usually I wouldn't meet him here if I didn't have to. But this time I felt I could.

A hostess shows us to a table. A few minutes later, the waiter arrives. 

"It's our first time here," Mr. A says. "Let's get some food out here. I'm hungry, hungry, hungry!"

I immediately cut him off and address the waiter.

"Before you bring out any food, may I speak to Chef Ava please?" I ask.  "I called the restaurant yesterday and told her about my food allergy. She said to ask for her when I arrive..."

"Sure thing," the waiter says as he walks away from the table and disappears into the kitchen.

Mr. A loses his smile and looks down.

I pick up the menu: "I'm hungry, hungry, hungry!" 


JJ Vulopas is a rising senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.