Published: 06:00, 04 November 2019
| Updated: 17:10, 10 December 2019
A water firm manager had a major allergic reaction to her food as she was unaware it had nuts in it.
Leah Guest had been dining at Villagio in Chatham Dockside when she suffered the reaction to her starter dish.
After she ate the food, which consisted of goats cheese, bread, tomatoes, and a salad garnish, her tongue began to swell and she called a waiter over, who said the walnuts were added for "decoration".
The 23-year-old said: "At first, he was denying it, he said there's no nuts in the meal.
"He went on to say he put some in the salad for decoration and that I didn't have to eat it, but I said I did eat it because it was on the plate.
"It wasn't even stated that it had nuts in it or I wouldn't have chosen it.
"They didn't ask if I needed help or an ambulance."
The staff gave Leah a glass of water, while her friend went to a nearby shop to buy allergy tablets.
She added: "I drove home and 20 minutes later, my stomach was in agony and I went bright red in the face, swelling all in my mouth and throat.
"I called 111 as I still didn’t know how serious it was at this point and while on the phone, I began passing out onto the floor, so the lady from 111 called an ambulance.
"I was trying to get up to find my Epipen in my bag but kept falling because I was in and out of consciousness.
"I managed to get it, but couldn’t even it use it, dropping between four and six times as I was so weak and couldn’t breathe properly."
Leah, who is from Rochester, was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital, Gillingham, and put on medication to help her recover but was unable to go to her job as a manager at a water company for three days.
She passed on her complaint to the restaurant chain after being asked to pay for the dish and was told it was being investigated. She has also been in touch with Trading Standards.
Villagio branch manager Yasan Yerlikaya says he dealt with Leah's complaint on the night.
He said one nut the size of a "£2 coin" was added for decoration so it was obvious it was there.
But Leah disputes this, saying the nuts were ground up.
She said: "As I do not eat nuts, I assumed it was some sort of dried mushroom or crouton.
"Even if it was just for decoration, there are people who have much worse allergies than me who could react to it, even just touching it on the skin for some people."
Mr Yerlikaya says he has told all Villagio eateries not to include nuts in the dish in future.
He said: "I am sorry for her, I don't know what to say to her, it has never happened before.
"You learn something, it happens, you need to learn from this."
More by this authorKatie May Nelson