When I walked into FUSIAN Kenwood for the first time on April 1, 2014, I did not experience a practical joke, but I have been smiling about that day ever since…
My name is Melissa Northup (opposite of Southdown) and I am the mother of a 9-year old daughter with 8 food allergies, many of them life-threatening. I’ve said this list so many times, the words rolls off my tongue, “milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, rye, barley and shellfish.”
Like for all meals, in or out of the house, I prepared an “Emmy-Safe” meal before we headed out to FUSIAN for dinner that evening. Emmy is such a vibrant girl that she quickly won the attention (and I suspect hearts) of many of the staff working that night, in Kenwood. They know her by name. When asked, “And what’s Emmy going to have?” she gave our standard answer, “I have food allergies, so we brought my dinner.” Usually the response from wait staff to this is something like, “Oh, okay,” and a look of relief that they don’t have to “handle” serving the allergic kid. sigh
But at FUSIAN those words were a spark that sent everyone in productive motion. I was amazed at how Devin and Teresa, Bric, Mariah and others immediately sprung into action, catering directly to Emmy. It was not overwhelming like it might sound. Some were active witnesses. Teresa and Devin began asking Emmy about her food allergies, which she can list herself, and they let her know about all of the safe options that FUSIAN holds for her. It was beauty happening before my very eyes. My child being given options — POWER!!
For the first time ever, Emmy stepped up to a counter and chose ingredients that she wanted to try FROM A RESTAURANT! Not from home — from FUSIAN! Devin was very professional, waiting on a 9-year old girl, and asked Bric to expertly prepare her first (of many) veggie rolls with new gloves, an allergy mat and allergy cutting board, and a clean knife on the back counter — away from the contaminants (food) Emmy is allergic to. When Teresa brought out the roll to serve Emmy, Devin gave me a copy of the “Dietary Considerations” chart to look over and use for future visits. The attention and care of the staff was astounding to me.
If you are now thinking I am an alarmist Mom, I think maybe you’re right. But Emmy’s allergies are life threatening, and it’s for eating — something everyone has to do. The fact that she can make selections and eat at FUSIAN without fear of having an allergic reaction makes me worry less about the options she will have in the future. And there is nothing that can repay giving a mother some peace of mind about her children’s future. I will be eternally grateful.
Way to go, FUSIAN! You’re showing everyone else how to do it right! Sushi for LIFE!
What Emmy has to say (7/1/2014 ~ Age: 9): “FUSIAN is an amazing place where I can eat without having to worry about my allergies, and the people are nice to me and my family, and they know us really well. Teresa made me feel like I could actually do this. When she took me behind the glass and showed me how they make the sushi. It was really cool and I felt special because only the people that work there are allowed behind the glass. Devin is really nice and he’s cool and he makes really good sushi! Devin is very kind in noticing things that other people don’t notice, like my new glasses. Bric is also nice and he makes really, really good sushi, and he’s good at solving a problem, like what to do about my allergies."