The average American may think that there really isn’t a need for gluten free restaurants to exist. However, people who suffer from gluten intolerance, celiac disease or those who have become accustomed to a gluten free diet understand the value of having a few gluten free restaurants in the community. It is common for gluten free restaurants to be a member of the GFRAP program. Restaurants that have partnered with this initiative are required to follow some stringent rules with regards to the kind of food that they serve to their customers. These rules have been put in place to ensure that the food being served is actually gluten free and to also make sure that there is a wide variety of gluten free food options available for the paying customers. The people who own the gluten free restaurants and those who have been assigned the task of managing the restaurants are expected to be fully aware of the special needs of a gluten intolerance or celiac customer.
Check in with the Restaurant Beforehand
Even though the gluten free restaurant business is rapidly progressing, it is still important for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease to be careful about where they are dining. It is imperative for you to have a look at the menu or check in with the staff to make sure that there are gluten free items available for order. It is also better to have a few different choices in the area. Many a times, people come across “gluten free “restaurants that are simply using their certification to attract more buzz, patrons and attention. These restaurants have poor knowledge of how to cater to the needs of a gluten intolerant or celiac customer. Visiting such a restaurant could put you in a very difficult situation indeed.
This is why you should check in beforehand during a non-busy time to find out whether the restaurant is willing to cook gluten free pasta or whatever gluten free alternative product that you desire. You may be surprised to discover that there are certain restaurants who are happy to cook you gluten free meals despite not having any on their menu and then there are those phony restaurants which will refuse to serve you a completely gluten free item even though they market their food as gluten free.
Brush Up On Your Knowledge of Gluten Free Food
Do you know what’s worse than a chef who doesn’t know anything about gluten free food? It is a customer who orders gluten free food, but doesn’t really know what to expect. You can’t be that customer under any circumstances. You need to be smarter than that if you want to survive gluten intolerance without facing too much hardship. Being gluten free aware is all about being able to determine what foods are safe for consumption and what foods are not. Your knowledge should also help you figure out the kind of components that go into the restaurant’s mix for sauces, gravy, curries and such. People with sound knowledge of gluten free food can immediately tell whether a particular food component has hidden gluten or not.
During the early days, you are going to find it quite hard to master the act of being a gluten free expert. However, with time, experience and support of your friends and family, you will have little problem in understanding whether the food that has been served to you is gluten free or not. For your convenience, you can keep a personal notebook that has all the information you need to brush up on your knowledge of gluten free good.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
This may sound silly, but a lot of people who are gluten intolerant are actually afraid of asking the waiter whether the restaurant, the cafe or the diner can accommodate his or her gluten free dietary needs. We understand that it can become a bit difficult to raise your hand and let people know that you are different. However, do not think of a second that you don’t have the right to inquire or that you are bother the waiter by asking them questions about the kind of food that you will be served. The waiters are paid to attend to you and take care of your needs. They are more than just servers. Help them do their job, and they will be more than happy to answer your queries (just make sure that you compensate their services with a healthy tip).
Don’t think that you will come off as pretentious by asking questions about the food. Explain to the waiter exactly why you need to have gluten free food. If required, communicate with the chef or the manager directly. You will be surprised to find out how helpful certain restaurants can be when it comes to serving gluten intolerant customers.