FM Top 50 firm Metz Culinary Management, Inc. has launched an allergen-free dining concept called Pure + Simple that is designed to meet the dietary needs of guests who struggle with food allergies by addressing the top nine food allergens: eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, soy, cow’s milk (dairy) and wheat. The dining concept premiered at Newberry College in South Carolina in late August.
Approximately 32 million people—including 6% of children—experience food allergies in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The risk of exposure is everywhere, and even trace exposures to food allergens can lead to symptoms such as itching, skin rash, hives, swelling of the face and throat and difficulty breathing. In the most severe instances, an allergic reaction can be fatal.1
Photo credit: Metz Culinary Management
Photo: This Pure + Simple dish includes grilled chicken, roasted tomatoes and asparagus with garlic reduction sauce over herbed quinoa.
“Our existing accounts and new business partners have asked how we support diners who happen to have food allergies,” explains Chef John Selick, director of culinary at Metz. “While we’ve been providing allergen-free options for a while, the demand has grown significantly. That is why we are now launching a free-standing allergen-free station with offerings that are delicious and just happen to be allergen-free. For our partners without space for a free-standing station, we weave the allergen-free offerings into their daily menus.”
Pure + Simple offers Metz higher education clients a build-your-own concept where guests can fashion their own unique plates from multiple allergen-free food items. The company has developed recipes that are already allergen-free and adapted others to fit the Pure + Simple concept. Dishes Metz developed for the concept include…
• Maple-glazed roasted pork loin with herbed rice
• Carved corned beef, sauteed garlic cabbage, roasted garlic and boiled potatoes with fresh dill
• Chicken stir fry bowl with basmati rice and balsamic glaze
• Stir-fry that can be customized with quinoa or brown rice
• Various sides and sauces
“For all of our culinary partners, diners can use their smartphones to access our menu to see which items are allergen-free through a QR code on our menus and in our dining locations,” Selick notes. “With the free-standing Pure + Simple concept, guests can select any item and be assured that their meal is free from the top nine food allergens. For those with less common food allergies such as onions and garlic, our staff will work with diners to ensure that their meals are free of allergens.”
Metz staff receive ongoing training in handling allergen-free meals, so guests can be assured that their health is protected, and the Metz team is equipped to handle specific dining needs.
“With the Pure + Simple concept, Metz is putting the power in the hands of guests so they can be assured that they are consuming fresh, tasty and healthy menu items that will not incite an allergic reaction,” Selick says.