Chefs with a food allergy?

Joined May 18, 2011
My son has 2 1/2 years left until he finishes school and is trying to make up his mind on a career where he would love to be either a chef or a pilot. He has taken a few flying lessons and enjoys it very much but he also really loves cooking and I think he's leaning more towards wanting to become a chef.

My concern though is that he is allergic to peanuts. No other nuts, just peanuts. He cannot eat or handle them. He carries an EpiPen and is careful about what he eats but luckily these days most foods clearly state if peanuts are included.

I am sure there are many chefs with food allergies that have worked around this problem by using gloves and not tasting foods that they cook that contain the allergen. My biggest concern is that because he has this food allergy he might be overlooked for job placement as he might be deemed risky. I'd hate him to embark on a career with a huge disadvantage.

I'd really appreciate some honest advice from those who would be doing the 'hiring' about how they would honestly feel about taking on a trainee or chef with a peanut allergy, and from chefs who either have allergies or know of chefs who do.

Many thanks,



Joined Jun 13, 2010
I would not be all that concerned, I mean if there are vegetarian chefs, then I am sure your son will have no problem. As long as he dose not that stop him.
Joined Mar 18, 2011
I am VERY VERY VERY allergic to mangos. Like, I will go into anaphylactic shock. Honestly, I have never ever been asked or brought this up at an interview. Once I am in the job, I make sure to let everyone know. If I have to deal with mangos, I will simply wear 2 pairs of gloves, and have someone else taste if needed. Its never been an issue. Its not like saying you don't 'like' something. Its that this 'something' will literally harm you. People are pretty understanding of this in the kitchen, and you all watch out for each other. 

I really don't think he needs to worry. 
Joined Apr 28, 2003
As far as I know, food allergy is not a topic that is brought up in an interview.  Prospective employers are more concerned about potential employee health status since we have to be on our feet for extended hours frequently going into hot and cold environments.  Once your son is hired, just make sure he lets others around him know about his allergy and know what to do incase of an emergency like where is Epipen is, how to administer it, or at the very least be able to recognize signs of an allergic reaction which most FOH staff should be train in anyways.
Joined May 18, 2011
Thanks so much for your opinions. We don't know anyone who is a chef to ask so it's great to get honest advice from people in the industry. I will continue to encourage my son's passion for cooking /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif.

I haven't heard of someone being allergic to the flesh of mangoes before/img/vbsmilies/smilies/surprised.gif! How annoying, mangoes are so delicious. My daughter is allergic to the skin and has to have the mango cut off the skin before she can eat it, but that's quite common according to her doctor. Something to do with the acids? 

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