Recently, I went to personally set up a communion at a catering hall for customers who have 2 boys who are, between the two of them, anaphylactic to: dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, pea protein, wheat, and several other ingredients, but they can have soy.
My staff and I have been baking for them for several years, and during the course of this time, we have unfortunately had many occasions where we have received last-minute phone calls to put everything in the freezer because one or the other of the boys had been hospitalized with either an anaphylactic reaction or, thankfully, more often than not, an episode of reactions so bad that they triggered their asthmatic immune response and required hospitalization for steroids and assisted breaking.
There was absolutely no way I was going to have anything spoil the day for these boys or their mother.
The staff at Allie’s went into overdrive and overtime preparing everything on this child’s wish list and his mother’s order, to create everything completely safe and allergen free, as we would do for any client.
At the Mother’s request, I personally went to supervise and set up and I was very glad that I did. As I was about to set down what was quite a heavy tiered cake, I looked down at the pretty silver cake stand and saw what appeared to be bits of leftover cake/icing. I immediately called over to the banquet manager and told him it would have to be removed.
Completely. Entirely. Period.
I then proceeded, in my very best AllerTrain Master Trainer voice. To explain, that:
A) had the mother seen this, her day would have been completely ruined, as her level of comfort would be immediately gone and her anxiety and worry about every piece of silverware, every display, every surface, would be cause to fret.
B) had either of the boys merely TOUCHED the cake stand or had someone else touched it and then them or any number of scenarios, it could cause anaphylaxis.
To avoid these circumstances, I proceeded to find the server who would be with the boys and their family, to thoroughly educate her, on the spot, about allergen awareness and the need to be fastidious about glove changing, and mindful about what she would be touching. We decided at that point that she would only be with the host family and no one else, and I was able to leave with comfort.
I heard from the mom later that day that the banquet manager and the server were not insulted, but rather, impressed that a “bakery” cared so much about their customer. She responded that she ONLY trusts us, and her children feel safe if my name is mentioned. Then they know they are safe to eat.
Trust like that cannot be bought. It must be earned.