Starting the Conversation on Celiac-Friendly Dining

Thank you to Ellen Bayens of the CCA Victoria chapter and www.theceliacscene.com for permission to use this document.

More and more restaurants are offering “gluten free” menu items, but providing a safe gluten-free plate requires the combined efforts of the kitchen and serving staff. Some restaurants have developed extensive policies and procedures to achieve this, others have not. Here are some questions you might want to use to determine whether the restaurant is really able to serve you safely.

Communication

  • What items do you normally recommend to diners who request a GF meal?
  • How are kitchen staff alerted to a GF order?

Ingredients

  • What ingredients will be used to make my order?
  • How do you know if these ingredients are really gluten free?
    • Says so on labels?
    • Checked product website?
    • Called the manufacturer?
    • Checked with the CCA?
  • Could GF ingredients / toppings become contaminated while they are waiting to be used?
  • Will you use pure spices, prepared seasonings or soy sauce made from wheat to make my meal?
  • Are deep fried items cooked in oil that has been used to deep fry breaded, battered gluten food items?
  • How do you thicken sauces & dressings?
  • Procedures

  • Do you wash your hands / change gloves / change aprons before or in between preparing regular food?
  • How do you ensure that all utensils used in preparing my food are free from traces of gluten?
  • What other precautions do you take to minimize / prevent cross contamination?
    • Separate or scrubbed frying pan?
    • Griddle?
    • Pot?
    • Colander?
    • Fresh aluminum foil?
  • Will my food be prepared in an area separate from the regular flow of the kitchen?
  • Pizzas Places & Mixed Bakeries

  • When are GF items prepared?
    • During regular operations?
    • Before regular production?
    • During downtimes / days?
  • Could the finished product become contaminated with gluten while waiting to be served?
  • How do servers confirm with the kitchen that the order they are collecting from them is GF?
  • How do servers confirm with the customer that the order they are providing is GF?
  • Personal

  • What prompted your interest in serving the gluten free?
  • Do you receive 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 GF diet?