I have a severe food allergy. White potatoes and my immune system just do not get along to the point that I've been hospitalized with anaphylaxis by unknowingly being exposed more than once. I have to be very, very careful and a new restaurant is always uncharted and scary territory for me. I have a card I present right when I step in the door - it's based on an allergy alert card from the Anaphylaxis Canada website.
We went to Edmonton to celebrate Mother's Day with my Mom. Stayed at a different hotel because we'd had a negative experience at the hotel/restaurant we'd always stayed at before. They only get one chance to screw up! So we went to the Sandman in Ellerslie. "Chop" is located in that motel. From the moment we stepped into the restaurant, my allergy was taken seriously. I usually get the standard phrase "we can't guarantee your safety 100%". That didn't happen here. First the manager came to speak to me with our server. We were seated and then they took my card and went to speak to the chef. They came back with the chef's instructions - pick something from the menu and he will decide if it is safe for me or not. My first selection was nixxed because the sauce was not made "in-house" so he would not take the risk of serving it to me in case of cross-contamination where ever it was made. My second choice was perfect - he had control over every ingredient. He then assigned 2 of his sous chefs to prepare our meals. One for me and one for my husband. Neither one of them had been in contact with potatoes during their entire shift. All ingredients were pulled from the cooler - again where they would not have had any chance of cross-contamination.
How do I know this? Because once my meal was being prepared, the chef himself came out to talk to me and to explain how they were preparing my meal and my husband's meal. Do you know how many people realize that the spouse's meal is just as important when it comes to contamination as the person with the allergy? Very, very, very few!!!! Amazing! We were so impressed! And that was before we even tasted the meal.
The meal - well, I have to say it was so delicious that I ate every little bit - to the point where after ward you feel a little sick because you ate so much. Do I regret that? Not on your life! That was a truly wonderful evening and I felt safe. One of the hostesses (who was not involved in my meal at all) approached me to ask about my allergy, not out of curiosity or anything to do with her job, but because one of her friends also had a severe allergy and she wanted to understand how I deal with it. This tells me that all the staff had been alerted to my allergy which is a reassuring safety protocol. I explained to her about the card and that usually the reaction to the card by the restaurant staff will tell us whether we are going to stay and eat there or whether we're going somewhere else. The chef told me that very few people use a card to describe their allergy that prescribes a method of preparation for the meal. He wished more people would use it as it helps the kitchen immensely - especially for people with multiple food allergies.
I do not write these reviews lightly. It's either because they were extremely competent or blatantly incompetent. Obviously, this is one I would highly recommend if you have a food allergy; and if you don't? Lucky you! You can choose from the entire delicious menu! Thank you to the staff for their dedication and reassuring service. You made our experience a real pleasure and we will definitely be back the next time we visit from BC.
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