Years ago, chef Ming Tsai and his family visited a suburban restaurant. Tsai’s son, David, had severe food allergies. “I told the manager that my son had allergies — dairy, nuts, shellfish — the ‘Big Eight.’ I asked for a turkey sandwich with lettuce. And he looked at me and said, ‘We’d rather not serve you,’ ” Tsai recalls. They walked out.
Tsai is careful to ensure that diners with allergies feel comfortable in his restaurants, where employees study a food allergy manual (Tsai calls it “the bible”) that painstakingly categorizes ingredients and possible allergens in each of his dishes. His Wellesley restaurant, Blue Ginger, offers a gluten-free menu. Blue Dragon, his Fort Point restaurant, is completely nut-free, aside from cocktails. Tsai also worked with the Legislature in 2009 to help write Bill S.2701, which requires restaurants to comply with food allergy awareness guidelines.