Eating out gluten free style…. 

With the festive season now in full swing  it’s always a challenge for Coeliacs and gluten intolerant people to eat out. So I wanted to dedicate this post to how to overcome these challenges and humouros situations I’ve been in!

First off – Christmas party menus – wow, I look at these set menus and all I see is gluten! If the restaurant haven’t been savvy enough to provide you with a GF symbol next to the food item, then you’ll either be presented with 2 scenarios:

Scenerio 1  – You have to request the “allegen book” – yes it is a book which has the smallest print, even with 20/20 vision you’ll find it impossible to read and will add an extra 10 minute onto food ordering….

Scenario 2 – If you’re GF savvy then you’ll be trying to work out what you can eat on the menu – which will probably consist of – starter – maybe fish (no bread), no sauce, soup (as long as it hasn’t got flour in), or salad. Main – meat (turkey,beef etc), potatoes should be ok (but best to check), no stuffing, no gravy (unless it’s GF), vegetables (plain, again you have to check). Dessert – Fruit salad (boooo) or ice cream (plain). My bug bearer is dessert, seriously surely GF chocolate brownie should be on the menu!!!!

Ok we get past what we can eat. Challenge 2 – How GF savvy are the staff? Do they even understand what gluten is? How are you going to suss out whether the food will be cooked without being contaminated? At this point your probably not relaxed and set of interrogation questions at the ready!! I’ve experience staff tutting, giving me the look – “are you seriously asking me these questions? I’m not paid to deal with these queries”….. yes you are actually and whilst you may feel like the awkward customer – what is the point of eating a 3 course Christmas meal if you’re gonna see it again 6 hours later? You might as well burn your cash at the table right??? 

Ok so we get past interrigation stage, our food has been order – so we can relax right? Not quite… so the food comes out – and you’ll be ready for interrogation part 2 – is my meal ACTUALLY gluten free? Have they served you the right dish (this can be challenging if you’re part of a big group and same food orders). Once your satisfied that you indeed have the right meal, you can relax and enjoy the evening like everyone else!

So my key tips:

  • Don’t settle for a fob off – “I think it’s GF” isn’t good enough
  • Don’t feel embarrassed about interrogating staff – you don’t want to be ill and ruin you’re own Christmas!
  • Try and call ahead and pre warn the restaurant – yes prewarn they get touchy about allergen people!
  • If no one understands what you are talking about (must be your 3 heads), talk to the chef – if the chef doesn’t know then take my advice, find somewhere else to eat!
  • Once your satisfied you’re eating GF meal – relax and enjoy!!!

Note – not all restaurants are like this, there are some fantastic restaurants I go too who know exactly how to give you a great GF Xmas Meal and of course I’m a regular customer! I even had sticky toffee pudding at my favourite restaurant for my birthday (which was a Christmas Menu) – amazing!!

Enough said …..Enjoy your GF Christmas!

Deborah x 

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