Dining With Allergies
What Can You Do?
A team approach, led by you, our educated consumer, is the best preparation for a safe school year free of allergic reactions. Some steps you can take throughout the year include:
Step 1: Carry Your Medication
Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector (2 is recommended), just in case.
Step 2: Book an Appointment
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to book a one-on-one confidential appointment with our Hospitality Services’ Registered Dietitian, Jessica Bertrand and our Campus Executive Chef, Colin Johnson. They will provide you with information and assistance to ensure you have safe, delicious and nutritious choices across campus.
Location: Victoria Hall, Room E022
Step 3: Review Allergen Labels
Review allergen labels displayed at each station in the dining hall before choosing your meal each day. Never consume foods that do not have allergen information displayed and be aware of the risk of cross contact especially for areas of self serve.
Step 4: Ask Before You Eat
Ask to speak with a chef or manager prior to placing your order each day to discuss safe dining options as ingredients could vary at any given meal. The only way your food server will know of your allergies is if you tell them.
Step 5: Wear an Identifier
Consider wearing medical identification (e.g. MedicAlert bracelet or necklace).
Step 6: Tell Others
Tell those you have regular contact with about your allergy including don, roommate, floor mate, housemate, teammate and friends. Let them know where you keep your medication so they can quickly help you in the event of a reaction.
We want to create an exceptional dining experience for you and knowing about your food allergies/dietary needs will help us do just that!
What We Do:
- Our daily dining hall menus are posted on the Hospitality Services website here. You may check the presence of allergens using this system prior to arriving. However, always “Ask Before You Eat” in the dining halls as ingredients could vary at any given meal.
- Our recipes featured in all three dining halls highlight major allergens including milk, eggs, soy, sesame, peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, fish, shellfish, wheat, sulphites, and gluten. However, always “Ask Before You Eat” as our kitchen is not allergen-free. While we make every effort to avoid cross-contact of food allergens, there is always the potential for cross-contact with other allergen-containing food items, particularly in our self-serve areas.
- Our food-service staff are provided with yearly allergy training and our management team undergoes mandatory allergy certification from AllerTrain to understand the seriousness of allergies and how to safely accommodate students.
- Leonard and Ban Righ Dining Hall have a ‘True Balance’ station that uses only products with ingredient statements that exclude all of the following: eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy wheat/gluten. More information on True Balance can be found here.
- Jean Royce Dining Hall (West Campus) is our smallest dining hall on campus. Although there isn’t a specific True Balance station, the chef will personally prepare individual allergy-safe meals upon request. Accommodations can also be made in advance. Always speak with a chef or dining hall manager prior to eating.
- All three of our dining halls have a Gluten-Free Friendly Pantry that allows you to independently access gluten-free food items as well as dedicated toasters and preparation areas. More information on the gluten-free pantry can be found here.
Additional arrangements can be made if your dietary needs are unable to be met with the daily menu offerings. Wherever you are living on campus, we have measures in place to ensure you will be provided with safe, nutritious and delicious meals.
Jessica holds a Master’s degree in Applied Nutrition and a Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, which included a semester in Melbourne, Australia. Jessica also completed a diploma in Food and Nutrition Management and is an Allergy Certified Master Trainer through AllerTrain.
Jessica is dedicated to making the food on campus more delicious, nutritious, sustainable, and easier to navigate for those with allergies and dietary needs. She looks forward to meeting students across campus and helping them build lifelong healthy habits.
As a hospitality employee, Jessica’s confidential nutrition appointments are limited to students eating on campus. However, she is happy to discuss the many food service options available on campus with you.
To contact another Registered Dietitian in the area who will be able to help with your personal nutrition counselling, please search for one here or reach one by calling Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000.
Colin has been with Queen’s since 1993, and is the Allergy and Alternative Diets contact for students and parents. A Red Seal certified chef, Colin worked in several restaurant kitchens before joining the university as a Sous Chef. He has held a number of positions within Hospitality Services, and has been the Campus Executive Chef since 2006.
Along with training from George Brown and the Culinary Institute of America in New York, Colin was named Sodexo Chef of the Year in 2004 and 2010, and was the team leader on the Silver Medal and People’s Choice winner team for the 2008 Canadian College and University Food Services Association’s Chef Competition. He was also a member of the Silver Medal team on the 2002 North America Culinary Competition, and the Executive Sous Chef at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Colin is passionate about local food, and also loves catching the latest Alton Brown episode on the Food Network. His favourite food is braised lamb shanks – and if you ask him, he’d be glad to give you the perfect recipe.
For students with an allergy / dietary need, book an appointment with our team here:
Queen’s University Hospitality Services takes food allergies very seriously. We understand the importance of providing nutritious choices across campus that meet your dietary needs. We ask that you also follow your steps 3 and 4 each day. Together, we can create a safe and exceptional dining experience for you.
Food photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com