Meet Katie Perkins. At the age of thirteen, she is already the founder of her own company – MyTealTicket. Katie created MyTealTicket to help people with food allergies communicate their specific food allergies at restaurants to help prevent emergent allergic reactions. It’s an endeavor she is truly passionate about because she, too, suffers from food allergies.
On her website, Katie says:
“I do not want anyone else to react due to cross-contact or have a life-threatening dining experience. MyTealTicket is designed to provide all of us with an opportunity to Eat with Ease.”
Katie’s company MyTealTicket is a creation that is truly helping save lives. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), it is estimated up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This includes 5.9 million children who are under the age of 18. That’s 1 in 3 children, roughly two students in every classroom.
Sadly, food allergies can be life-threatening. Every three minutes someone is admitted to the emergency room for a food allergy reaction. In the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, the number of children hospitalized for food allergies tripled. FARE lists the following eight foods as major food allergens:
Peanut, tree nut, fish, and shellfish allergies are generally lifelong, while children who are allergic to milk, egg, wheat, and soy tend to outgrow their allergies.
Yet, FARE states children appear to be outgrowing some of these allergies more slowly than in previous decades. Many children still have issues with food allergies beyond the age of 5.
People who suffer from food allergies are also more at risk when they eat food outside of their home. Not knowing which ingredients are in food and not being able to communicate to restaurants their food allergies can be a great problem. That’s why Katie created MyTealTicket. With MyTealTicket, people who have food allergies can confidently communicate their specific food allergies to a chef or restaurant professional.
I connected with Katie to learn more about her company MyTealTicket and how it is helping adults and youth. Check out my interview with Katie below!
Good Life Detroit (GLD): Can you share with us some of the challenges a person with food allergies may experience when he/she has to eat out in public?
Katie Perkins: Eating with food allergies is challenging no matter the location. Every time I go to a party, I always have to bring my own food because I am not sure if the food at the party is safe or has come into contact with my allergens.
I also had to become responsible very quickly, as my life depends on whether or not I choose to eat a food item. I remember, when I was four, my mom gave me a package of bacon and told me that I was going to have to eventually learn how to read ingredient lists. Overall, having food allergies has taught me to be assertive and to stand up for myself and causes I feel strongly about. If it were not for food allergies, I would definitely not be the same person that I am today.
GLD: How did you come up with the idea to create MyTealTicket?
Katie Perkins: Dining out has always been a challenge. I needed to find a way to safeguard my meal and ensure that my allergy information would be accurately delivered to the chef.
GLD: Why MyTealTicket is the color teal?
Katie Perkins: Teal is the national color that represents food allergies, so I saw it fit that a food allergy form should continue with that color choice. Additionally, The teal color of the ticket also stands out from the other restaurant order forms, reinforcing the extra care that needs to be taken to provide you with a safe dining experience.
GLD: Can you share with readers how MyTealTicket works exactly?
Katie Perkins: The front includes checkmark boxes next to the most common allergens. MyTealTicket also includes a box marked “other,” so you can personalize the form to your specific food allergy needs. The back includes space for your waitress or waiter to write down your order.
Mark your allergens before placing your order. This will assure that your allergens are properly noted, and makes placing your order easier for both you and your waiter. Then have the waiter write down your order on the back of the MyTealTicket, and kindly ask him or her to give it to the chef.
GLD: How does it feel to be the founder of your own product invention?
Katie Perkins: I am very proud to be able to call myself a founder of a company. It shocks me sometimes, and I think, “Woah! That’s my face on a website!”
GLD: What did your parents think of your wonderful idea to create MyTealTicket?
Katie Perkins: My parents are incredibly supportive of MyTealTicket and continually show their support, whether it be by proofreading blog posts, helping me prepare for interviews, or taking me out for ice cream! 🙂
GLD: What advice would you give young people to pursue their dreams and goals, whether it be in school or their future career?
Katie Perkins: The main piece of advice that I have for other young people is to always always always advocate for yourself. Let your voice be heard. If you have an idea, go for it!
I love hearing a good news story about people making a big difference in their community, especially when it involves young people. Best of luck to you, Katie, and thank you for helping others with the creation of MyTealTicket!
You can get more information about MyTealTicket by visiting the official website here. Part of the proceeds for MyTealTicket goes to FARE to help raise awareness for food allergy research. Learn more about food allergies at FARE’s official website here.
Special thanks to Katie Perkins for taking the time to interview with Good Life Detroit!
Also, check out these two stories on Good Life Detroit: an interview with Neha Kullar, creator of Palate Passport cookbook and How Eating Seasonally Can Keep You Healthy and Save You Money.