It can be a big undertaking to provide gluten free options and we are really thankful to those restaurants who do cater to our needs. Here are our ideas for making your restaurant or cafe gluten free conscious. These are also applicable for catering to any food intolerance.
Many things can happen between the order being placed and the food making it to the person who ordered it that would make it unsuitable for a gluten free person.
- The most simple being the marking on the order or communication that it needs to be gluten free is missed.
- The kitchen fail to see the gluten free marking and subsequently forget to adapt the dish.
- Even when the order is specified as gluten free the food preparation process might accidentally lead to cross contamination.
Below are some ideas to ensure your cafe or restaurant can cater best to those who must be gluten free.
Tips for making your eatery gluten free
- Educate all staff about the importance of catering to those who are gluten free or have any food intolerance. Explain the different conditions that might lead to a person being gluten free, especially the severity of coeliac disease.
- Talk with staff about the fact that people who require a gluten free diet will always assume a dish is not gluten free until enough information has been provided to reassure them.
- Educate all your staff on which meals are 100% gluten free and which can be adapted and why.
- Implement a process for serving gluten free food, which might look something like this.
- Mark all orders that must be gluten free with a clear marking (eg. highlight the dish required to be gluten free and put a large ‘GF’ next to it).
- Ensure the gluten free meal is pointed out to the head chef and that they communicate it to the rest of their team.
- Have a separate preparation area, tools, utensils and cookware for preparing gluten free meals. One bread crumb is enough to cause a reaction in a coeliac so you can’t even use a pair of tongs that have touched something with gluten in it to serve a gluten free meal.
- Try to only mark items on the menu as gluten free if they are 100% gluten free. Meaning there is no adaptation required to make it gluten free (for example don’t mark a meal as gluten free if the meat itself is gluten free but it is served on a bed of couscous). This means that the kitchen will get used to preparing this dish to be 100% gluten free at all times.
- If you do have meals that can be made gluten free by leaving certain things out always stipulate this somewhere on the menu (especially if they are marked gluten free on the menu but need to be adapted) so those who must be careful are aware to do so.
Thank you for being so considerate of people's food intolerances, many of us still love food as much (if not more) than the day we were diagnosed or discovered our problems and we are very appreciative.
We also have some tips for ordering gluten free if you are interested in seeing it from the other side of the fence!