SHARE

Meet John Procacci

Food Allergy Action Hero

John Procacci

Our featured Food Allergy Action Hero is John Procacci, Chef and business owner of Allergy Friendly Menu

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: We met Chef John when he signed up to take our AGA Training course to learn more about food allergen and gluten awareness. At the time we didn’t know about his already extensive background in creating allergen free recipes, working with chefs to give them a hands on experience in this area, as well as providing allergen and gluten free private chef services. Here is what Chef John had to say when we interviewed him:

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: John, you have a very extensive background as a chef. Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today with your new business Allergy Friendly Menu.

CHEF JOHN: I founded and now am the former Culinary Director of Healthy Chef Creations where I developed allergy free recipes and trained staff on how to properly handle food allergies in the kitchen. Prior to founding Healthy Chef Creations in 2001, I was Executive Chef at Chamberlin's Natural Foods. With eight stores, Chamberlin's was the largest gourmet deli operation in Central Florida. To boost lagging sales, I rejuvenated the concept, menu and raised the public profile of the company. My job entailed creating new menus, including organic juicing, smoothies, pizzas, salads, a hot bar, soup bar, deli, grab-n-go, and desserts. Formerly I was a Spa-Chef at Disney's Buena Vista Palace Resort and Spa. There, I developed spa-cuisine menus from appetizers to desserts for the hotel restaurants, including the Outback Restaurant, Arthur's 27, The Watercress Cafe, and The Courtyard Cafe, as well as the spa-inspired menus for banquets, room service, and events ranging from black tie affairs to barbecues. Among my responsibilities were the training of other chefs and servers on product knowledge, cooking techniques, nutritional analysis, special diets and cuisine. I managed food production and cooking techniques, and led ongoing cooking classes for hotel guests, Channel 2 News and Williams Sonoma. I studied nutrition and wellness at The American Health Science University, has received various food and nutrition certifications, and has an Associate of Science degree in Hospitality Management from Valencia Community College.

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: What types of services do you provide?

CHEF JOHN: MENU INGREDIENT BREAKDOWN- It is important to look at every single ingredient, because many food allergies are hidden in package processed foods. RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT- Taking existing menu items that contain food allergies and transforming them into allergy free recipes. SOURCING THE BEST ALLERGY FREE INGREDIENTS My expertise includes over 20 years in the health & wellness industry. I have focused on and become extremely knowledgeable about allergy free substitutes on today’s market. It has been exciting to source these new ingredients for other chefs. CHEF & SERVER TRAINING- I can provide hands on training, while chefs and restaurateurs focus on growing their business.

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: Families managing food allergies always have to be diligent to have food prepared in a specific manner to avoid contact with allergens or gluten. Often restaurants have busy kitchens. What advice can you give parents about how to manage food allergies in restaurants?

CHEF JOHN: Stay away from processed or packaged foods. Cook from scratch.

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: What is the most difficult food allergen to avoid in a commercial kitchen in your experience and why?

CHEF JOHN: I am sorry, I do not trust eating out in restaurants with severe food allergies; unless they have been certified as gluten or allergen free. Too much of a risk of cross contamination for those that are highly sensitive to food allergies. The only exception is at a restaurant where you’re able to select your ingredients and watch the staff prepare your food before your very eyes.

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: There is more food allergy training available for restaurant staff these days. What advice can you share about the importance of widespread food allergen and gluten intolerance training?

CHEF JOHN: They are two gluten and soy. The reason is, because they’re in most ingredients.

ALLERGY FREE TABLE: There is more food allergy training available for restaurant staff these days. What advice can you share about the importance of widespread food allergen and gluten intolerance training?

CHEF JOHN: This is the starting point to create an awareness. Proper training is the key for servers and chefs than to start reading the ingredient list on the products they are using.

Read about all our Food Allergy Action Heros

2/01/2014

All images and content copyright © Allergy Free Table, LLC
Website designed by JET
CONNECT WITH US
pinterest facebook twitter