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Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, Top Chef, Chopped, Iron Chef America, and many more. There are a lot of cooking shows on TV.  And, honestly, I love watching quite a few of them. Many of these shows are quite popular; Hell’s Kitchen alone brings in a few million viewers every episode. And despite the drama in some of these shows, many of them do a great job of showing its viewers just how creative you can be with food and introducing new ingredients and flavor profiles.

But as someone with food allergies, I’d love to see an episode where the chefs need to be creative with food restrictions. Is this a case of a personal issue leading to some grumbling? Yes. Would I even think about such an episode if I didn’t have allergies? Unless someone else in my family had food allergies, probably not. But the fact is that I, along with an estimated fifteen (15) million other Americans, do.

There may be episodes out there that have their competitors handle food allergies as a challenge, but I don’t recall any. I know that there have been instances where competitors have food allergies themselves and that challenges or changes the way they cook. Can you imagine the impact having this sort of challenge on even one of these popular shows would have? Seeing chefs create spectacular dishes for even some allergies could have a serious impact.

  1. An estimated fifteen (15) million Americans have food allergies. An estimated five point nine (5.9) million of them are children under the age of eighteen (18). It would be exciting to see that food made with allergy restrictions in mind can still get a nod of approval from world-renown chefs, and it would make children with allergies aware that they’re not alone.
  2. It could make chefs/restaurants more open and knowledgeable about food allergies. It’s hard to eat out with allergies. A few times I’ve gotten to restaurants (that I’ve called ahead of time) and they either don’t have anything I can eat or they accidentally cook with something I can’t have. I’ll never understand how nothing can be made to accommodate me, especially when I call to inquire ahead of time. Bringing such publicity to food allergies can help change this type of restaurant experience.
  3. It could make more people, especially relatives, aware that cooking with food restrictions is doable. That the food can still taste good. That with enough know-how, cooking for food restrictions is completely possible.

Ultimately, I hope to one day see this type of challenge on a popular cooking competition. And I believe as food allergy awareness continues to grow, the chances become more and more likely.