Saturday, August 1, 2009

So you want a Gluten-Free Guarantee?

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.

1 comment:

  1. Though I agree with Sadie in principal about home being the only place that guarantees GF food, I want to dissent a bit by saying again what I have been saying all along.
    Seek out places that are run by owners, not managers, small customer service driven places, do not patronize franchises where profit goes before ANYTHING.
    Talk to the owners and you will be greatly taken care of.

    Seek out places that are a bit pricier than Applebee's and you wil be fine. Case in point, whenever my wife travels to a city with a Four Seasons Hotel, she books high tea. Gluten free. Not once has she been let down by this company.
    Dining out is about an experience, not food intake, so act with that in mind.

    100% GF restaurants have a tough gig when it comes to financial viability. Though a loyal group of dedicated people, how many times can you eat out at the same place before you get bored....