By David Fowler
When we first started our gluten-free restaurant list, hardly any local restaurants provided gluten-free options or adhered to proper kitchen practices to ensure a Celiac-friendly environment.
With the multitude of restaurant options now available, it is no longer difficult for Celiacs to find at least a few gluten-free dishes at most restaurants. As our chapter of the CCA is 100% volunteer run, it’s challenging for volunteers to keep up with the ever-changing list.
If you are looking for a gluten-free restaurant in our area we recommend the following questions with the dining establishment.
Gluten-Free Dining Questions
• What recommendations are made to diners asking for a gluten-free meal?
• How are kitchen staff alerted to a gluten-free order?
• What ingredients will be used to make my order?
• How are ingredients confirmed to be really gluten free? Says so on labels? • Checked product website?
Called the manufacturer? • Checked with the CCA?
• Could gluten-free ingredients / toppings become contaminated while they are waiting to be used?
• Are pure spices vs prepared seasonings or soy sauce used in making my meal?
• Are deep fried items cooked in oil that has been used to deep fry breaded, battered gluten food items?
• How are sauces and dressings thickened? Do they contain malt vinegar?
• Are hands washed / gloves & apron changed before or in between preparing regular food?
• Are all utensils used in preparing my food free from traces of gluten? • Separate or scrubbed frying pan?
Griddle scrubbed clean of residue ? • Dedicated gluten-free pots, colanders, cutting boards?
• Will my food be prepared in an area separate from the regular flow of the kitchen?
• What other precautions are taken to minimize / prevent cross contamination?
Pizzas Places & Mixed Bakeries
• Are gluten-free crusts prepared on site or pre-purchased?
• Are fresh sauces / ingredients used for gluten-free pizzas? Or are ingredients from the regular prep line used?
• Are gluten-free pizzas prepared in a separate area? If not, how is the area prepped to be gluten-free?
• Could the finished product become contaminated with gluten while waiting to be served?
• How do servers / kitchen staff / delivery persons double check that an order is gluten-free?
• What prompted your restaurant’s interest in serving the gluten free?
• Has your restaurant received input from the local Chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association? A dietitian?
Someone familiar with celiac disease and the gluten-free diet?
• Do you or a staff member have celiac disease? On a gluten-free diet?
• Have you ever had a complaint about a gluten-free meal? What was done to prevent it from reoccurring?