Allergy-Friendly Thomas Jefferson University Campus Guide
I am a sophomore in the PA program at Thomas Jefferson University
and had to be on the 19 meal a week dining plan for my entire first year. My family and I met the dining staff, including the manager and chefs of all the dining halls, in the beginning of the year. I was able to eat on campus on move in day and was so excited to have the independence and freedom eating away from home.
My process would be to email or text the chef three times a day with whatever I wanted for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This was tedious, challenging, and took a lot of time-management/trial and error, but it was the easiest way for the chefs to hand make my food.
However, I did have two anaphylactic reactions in my fall semester because of mistakes in the dining hall, but they quickly changed the process with which they made my food. For example, the dining manager and head chef met with me and created a paper specific to my needs where the chef making my food had to sign off on the ingredients they used in my meal. Christopher Grant, the head chef, is amazing and I have never had any issues eating his or his Sous Chef, Steve’s, food. They’ve made me meals from salmon bowls, to ramen, to Philly Cheesesteaks, to shrimp scampi, and everything tastes so good.
With that being said, I would recommend to someone with more severe allergies to commute or request a kitchen, because there will be human error in a college dining hall and it is difficult to prevent when there are many students. However, Jefferson has treated me well and I am well-acquainted with all of the kitchen staff. You must take the steps to meet with the chefs and speak up when you see something or have questions, which is all part of advocating for yourself. I also fought to get a single apartment for my second year so that I would not have any issues with cross contact in the kitchen with roommates and with the help of Student Accessibility Services, it all worked out and I have had a wonderful experience (and no hospital visits!) this year.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania