Courtesy National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Chefs and restaurateurs lack a fundamental understanding of gluten-free protocols, and it’s a threat to those with gluten-related disorders, according to the U.S. based National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), the non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and improving the lives of those of celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.“When most people dine out, they expect a meal that’s safe to eat. Individuals with gluten-related disorders don’t have that luxury,” said Alice Bast, founder and president of NFCA.
Earlier this month, NFCA quizzed chefs and restaurateurs on the floor of the National Restaurant Association Show, an international gathering of professionals in the foodservice industry, and the results were alarming. Many of the chefs and restaurateurs said they have gluten-free options at their restaurants, yet less than four percent of them responded correctly to four questions regarding gluten (see “Survey Questions” below).
“Less than 50 percent of chefs were able to name a gluten-containing grain other than wheat. That’s shocking,” Bast said. “It confirmed our fears…They don’t know what they don’t know.” Of the few respondents who correctly answered all four questions, one chef had completed NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens, a gluten-free training program for restaurants.
In light of these findings, NFCA is reasserting its determination to educate the restaurant industry on the proper ways to prepare a safe and satisfying gluten-free meal. NFCA is in the process of rolling out a new version of GREAT Kitchens, with multimedia modules covering:
- The Gluten-Free Guest
- Special Diets Overview
NFCA will also instruct gluten-free consumers on best practices for dining out so they can identify potential risks of gluten exposure and ensure their health is protected.
NRA Survey Questions:
1. Celiac disease is a genetic, auto-immune disease that is triggered by glucose. True or False?
2. Gluten is a protein found in what 3 common grains? Can you name all 3?
3. What kind of oats can be used in a gluten-free dish?
d. All of the Above
e. None of the above
4. Look at the list of pantry items. You have read the labels, but some ingredients might contain gluten. Find the trio that most likely needs verification by the manufacturer or distributor.
a. Cornstarch, Romano tomatoes, lentils
b. Olive oil, oregano, walnuts, apple cider vinegar
c. Rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, curry paste
d. Canned pears, basmati rice, tomato juice