Eating out with food allergiesBanana pancakes


About Jackie Mitchell

Jackie Mitchell is a journalist and public relations consultant with over fifteen years' experience. She works with small businesses and charities providing PR services.

With a background as a features writer in the media, Jackie has worked on national newspapers, websites, consumer magazines, trade publications and radio stations all over the UK. For some years, she worked abroad - in Australia, Hong Kong and New York. After returning to London, she worked as an account director at several major London agencies.

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November 24th, 2017

Free From Eating Out Awards 2017

 Mommi Raw Bar & Grill was the overall winner in this year’s Free From Eating Out Awards announced at the Food Matters Live event

The two year old restaurant, which specialises in Peruvian Japanese food, in Clapham High Street, London, is 100% gluten free and accredited by Coeliac UK with vegan and dairy free menus. It also won a Gold Award in the “Focus on Gluten” category.

Karolina Obrzut, general manager (who is gluten free and dairy free herself) said “We’re absolutely delighted to receive this Award. We have a 100% gluten free kitchen and a comprehensive in-house training programme for staff.” I can’t wait to visit.

Pictured above from left to right are Bethany Swain and Karolina Obrzut from Mommi with their Award with Michelle Berriedale-Johnson from the Awards.

Anyone who suffers with a food allergy will tell you that eating out is a lottery. Ray is dairy free and I am gluten free so dining out is always problematic – even if you alert the outlet in advance. So that’s why these Awards are such a fantastic idea – they recognise the outlets which cater for people with food allergies. Now in their fourth year, these Awards are judged by people with food allergies and I’m lucky enough to be a judge. There is a wide range of Award categories including restaurants, cafes, pub restaurant, fish and chip shops and B&Bs.

Michelle Berriedale-Johnson from the Awards, said “This isn’t a competition – we reward excellent examples of people who do their job very well and we award them appropriately, whether it’s Gold, Silver or Bronze.”

At the Awards, Indigo at One Aldwych  in London scooped not only Gold in the “Focus on Gluten” category, but also Gold in the “Crème de la Crème” category. It was also a runner-up in the overall winner Awards category.  Dominic Teague, executive chef and his team have created an entirely gluten free and dairy free menu. It’s well worth a visit and I agree with the judge who says “The food is fantastic – each dish sampled offered something special: flavours and textures a delight to experience. The homemade gluten free bread is to die for!” Let’s hope more restaurants follow Indigo’s example.

It was good to see Pizza Express presented with a Gold Award in the Restaurant Chains category. This chain was probably the first to serve gluten free pizzas and has just introduced a vegan variety with vegan cheese. Ray and I are regular visitors to our local Pizza Express chain.

Another Gold Award in this category was The Clink restaurants . The Clink charity works with Her Majesty’s Prison Service to provide hospitality training to prisoners to aid their rehabilitation. It operates at prisons in Brixton, Cardiff, High Down (Sutton) and Styal in Cheshire. A couple of years ago, I went with a group of friends to High Down in Sutton and was pleasantly surprised how well they catered for me.

I was pleased that Farmstead was presented with a Gold Award in the cafes and teashops category, as I visited and judged this outlet incognito with Ray and was very impressed. Watch for a review soon. Steven Novick, owner opened the outlet in January 2016. “It’s exciting to receive a Gold Award,” he said. “When I started the business, my aim was to offer healthy food, sustainably sourced and reasonably priced.”

The British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire received a Gold Award in the Focus on Gluten category as well as Silver in the cafes and teashops category. “We’re over the moon” said Paul Kelly, head chef. “It’s been a team effort and a journey.” The venue became the first museum and conference centre to gain Coeliac UK accreditation in 2015 and visitors can enjoy a wide range of gluten free options. There is detailed ingredient and allergen information on all food products. Tom O’Reilly, general manager, added “We’ve invested in a gluten free preparation area in the kitchen. My advice to other outlets is to get advice from Coeliac UK, talk to people in the free from sector and visit other restaurants to see how they do it.”

Curry Leaf Café  in Brighton, which offers Indian street food, gained a Gold Award in the Independent Restaurants category. The company owns two restaurants as well as a kiosk at Brighton station. Euan Sey, co-owner says “The food is 80% gluten free and 50% vegan. We make sure that kitchen staff are well educated about allergies. We’re the only kiosk selling Indian food in a kiosk in a UK transport hub. I’m delighted to have this Award and it will help us raise awareness on a national level.”

For a complete list of all the winners, visit

Interactive Map

A new online interactive map was announced at the Awards presentation, which pinpoints where all the past and present Award winners are located. All you do is click on relevant icon for the outlet’s details and the judges’ comments. How very useful – see it here

Booklet – Food Allergy Awareness Induction

Michelle mentioned the new booklet from Food Allergy Aware an invaluable handbook for restaurant staff on how to cater for customers with food allergies. Contact Food Allergy Award for copies. It was produced in memory of Cameron Wahid, who passed away on 30 October 2015 aged 7. He suffered an anaphylactic reaction to dairy products. For more information about supporting his family’s charity visit

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