Tom Abrams, Banquet and Catering Director, and his team at Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant in Holland, MI, do whatever they can to accommodate dietary requirements.
“We recently had a guest reach out to us that had several allergies (corn, onion, wheat, black pepper, vinegar, carrots, yeast, blueberries, and anything fermented),” said Abrams. “She asked if she could just bring her own food and mentioned she doesn’t even eat out anymore due to her allergies. We were able to make her a plated meal similar to the main buffet meal without any of the items she is allergic to and she was ecstatic.
“When someone has special dietary restrictions, we always try to make their meal as similar as possible to the way we are serving it to everyone else,” said Abrams.
Religious restrictions require much more than substituting ingredients. For instance, some cultures and religions have guidelines regarding the people making the food, the utensils and cookware used, the individual ingredients, and the space it is prepared in.
Abrams and his team will be tasked with preparing a Halal meal this summer. According to Abrams, Halal, when referring to food and beverage products, is any item that is deemed ‘allowed’ under Islamic Law.
“The main catergory affected is meat and the rules that apply to meat to make it Halal typically refer to the slaughter and packaging,” said Abrams. “This is good for restaurants and catering operations as it means simply purchasing meats that are certified Halal.”
Facing the many allergies and dietary restrictions out there today can be daunting, but communication with your catering team will ensure everyone’s health and satisfied appetites.