I just recently made a new and exciting discovery that I have to share. A new website called Can I Eat There? is in development and due to launch in a matter of weeks.
Naturally the name caught my eye, because as an allergy parent, I’m always on the lookout for restaurants that will cater well and safely for us.
So I decided to contact the people behind this genius idea to find out more. The idea was developed by an ‘allergy parent’ – Nicky Granger – to help the 7 million plus UK adults and children with food allergies and intolerances. Nicky’s four year old son has NINE severe food allergies and they do not go anywhere without 2 EpiPens, a bottle of Piriton and plenty of anxiety – particularly when eating out.
Nicky was kind enough to have a chat with me and share her story and her hopes for the new website.
‘Over the last couple of years we’ve experienced it all – from really helpful restaurants that can’t do enough to cater for Gabe’s allergies to those who consider us a pain in the neck and would quite frankly rather we found somewhere else to eat.
The only thing they’ve all had in common is that I’ve had no way of knowing which restaurants we could eat at until we got there. Yes, you can phone ahead – but that depends on who picks up the phone and how busy or knowledgeable they are. Or you can sometimes find an allergy menu online, but it’s complicated or out of date. And there are some websites and apps trying to provide a service, but none of them have menus, which means I can’t be sure what I can eat, or whether I’ll have a choice, or whether there’s a dish that caters for more than one allergy…
And so, in desperation, I’ve created Can I Eat There? – an online directory of UK restaurants launching in March this year. You can search for restaurants by location, cuisine or allergy; view menus and filter them by allergy to see exactly what you can eat; and read reviews from other people with food allergies who’ve eaten there. You can also leave your own reviews, save your allergy preferences so that you only see restaurants where you can eat, join discussions on our forums, have your questions answered by our medical experts – and much more.
I have a brilliant team working with me, to make Can I Eat There? the best it can be:
Ali – marketing director and mother to an eight-month-old with a milk protein intolerance.
Christina – coeliac and gluten-free food supplier, passionate campaigner for better gluten-free choices in restaurants, and EpiPen-wielding mother to a teenage daughter with a peanut allergy.
Scott – a restaurant consultant, who knows the ins and outs of what restaurants can and can’t do. This is important to us; we need to understand the challenges of food allergy from the restaurant side, and work with them to improve their service to us.
Taz – allergic to apples and bad design. She’s the design talent behind Can I Eat There.
Plus a wider team of techie superstars, medical experts and allergy organisations.
And last but definitely not least, our amazing Allergy Ambassadors – spread across the UK, tasked with encouraging restaurants to sign up and organising support groups in their local areas. At the moment we’re all hard at work getting Can I Eat There? ready for launch, but we’re on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram already so please get in touch via any of these channels if you want to find out more, suggest a restaurant or become an Allergy Ambassador. The more people who support the cause, the more chance we have or making a difference and finally achieving our goal of being about to eat out safely and confidently.’
I wish Nicky all the best and I’m sure this site will be a huge success and very well received. I have so much confidence and am such a keen supporter that I have signed up as one of her Allergy Ambassadors and will be sharing my eating adventures with you all very soon – because ‘Can I Eat There?’ is a question we all ask very often and it’s so exciting to know that soon we will have some answers.