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[Curator's note: Alyssa Rosenberg recently wrote about her experiences as a food-lover with food allergies, always wary, always hoping what a server tells her is true and never quite knowing what or who she can trust. She found unexpected bliss at one of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's restaurants, in Las Vegas. I asked her to glean their secrets, and the chef and general manager were happy to help.]
I asked Jason Neve, executive chef of B&B in Las Vegas, and Lori Lucena, the general manager, what it took to create their restaurant's sense of comfort for people with allergies.
Their answer was communication, backed up by good technology. The restaurant gives servers intensive training so they can master the details of the approximately 85 dishes that appear on the menu in every given night. Because the menu changes frequently to respond to changes in seasons and local availability of ingredients, Neve posts an allergy checklist in the kitchen for servers to refer to.
Servers and cooks alike can rely on the information tracked on B&B's sales software, a commonly used program known as Micros, which the restaurant uses to generate checks for the kitchen and patrons. B&B doesn't have a custom modification for allergy tracking; the restaurant, Lucena told me, simply uses the system to its fullest extent, and he gave me two examples.