Are there really any?
Proactive restaurant certification programs offered by advocate organizations such as the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America® and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness are helping to create awareness in the hospitality industry and inspire restaurants everywhere to cater to our needs.
Ultimately, celiacs and the gluten free still need to take responsibility for their own diets. Unless you are partaking at a dedicated gluten-free restaurant, you cannot abdicate all responsibility and completely download it onto the shoulders of the restaurant who, with the best training and every good intention, are still preparing your meal in a gluten setting.
Sadie Amanda of the Seattle Gluten-Free Food Examiner said it beautifully in her recent post. I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you:
"ALWAYS REMEMBER: The only way to guarantee a gluten free meal is to cook at home with fresh ingredients on a gluten free surface. All restaurants that offer gluten free meals will do their best to prepare your meal without gluten, although they cannot guarantee that your meal will not be exposed to incidental cross contamination. For those who have absolutely zero tolerance for gluten, please be aware of this possibility when dining out."
Dining out is something we all love to do and it is only natural that celiacs want to be a part of it. But if you are looking for a guaranteed GF meal, the only way that you can be absolutely certain of what you are eating is to follow Sadie's advice. Otherwise, while organizations like GIG & NFCA and enlightened restaurants are doing the best they can, this is our reality. Time to step up and stop complaining.