Chef admits deceiving gluten free diners

I read an article today about a chef who has admitted to giving glutenous pasta to diners asking for the gluten free option (you can read the article here: examiner.com/ny-in-new-york...

I was absolutely horrified reading this and the comments that he made, including the fact that he said that no one ever complained and calling them idiots.

Often when I feel ill I know I have digested gluten but it is hard to pinpoint the exact meal that made me feel this way. I know that different people have different symptoms, some having no short term symptoms at all.

I think that too many people go on a gluten free diet as they think it is healthier and that it is a way to lose weight. Often these people demand gluten free options when they are out but then go and buy a glutenous dessert, for example, for after their main meal which gives mixed signals to staff. I personally think that this affects how they then treat future customers who ask for gluten free items - with them possibly not being as careful to make sure dishes aren't contaminated in future.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters....

9 Replies

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  • There are laws to protect the consumer in catering establishments so this man (not a chef) is only going to damage his business.

    You would be very surprised what happens in some kitchens, but they are not all bad.

    When I find the relevant regulations I will post them on here.

  • Petra you raise a very good point here. I call these people 'Glamourpuss Gluten Free-ers' doing it for fashion/ health reasons. Don't get me wrong there are indeed people with Thyroid, RA, Endometriosis and other auto-immune diseases that are advised to go GF by their Drs to relieve the strain on their Immune System. Yet it personally drives me nuts when I see someone a) tucking into a gluten dessert after making sure the main is GF (do they not release it's full of gluten?) b) just saying 'I do it to lose weight' c) or Coeliacs who say 'I don't worry about all that cross contamination non-sense I just make a common sense decision. I buy any GF cake right next to the gluten ones....'

    Ultimately we're all different and entitled to our own opinions and approaches. Yet as you queried - it does make me wonder what 'mixed signals' Chefs/ waiters and retail/ hospitality staff are getting from both Coeliacs and non-Coeliacs ref gluten free needs....!

  • I think part of the trouble with the faddy side of 'gluten free' is brought about by bread makes me bloated. When in fact it's supermarkets own bread which is pumped full of phytic acid this is the enzyme that makes uncooked soya beans indigestible. This phytic acid makes bread rise in about 30 seconds.

    Also some coeliac make things worse for other coeliac by making a song and dance about being on a strict gf diet then they go and ask for some malt vinegar to slosh over their food. So a lot of eateries in my opinion pay lip service to the needs of coeliac.

    Another issue is chip shops and many coeliac eat chip shop chips regardless of whether the chips are cooked seperately from the battered fish. This sends out the wrong message to the chip shop so when a coeliac who needs a gf option comes along they lie as they want the custom. This happened to me after I tel a chip shop and called in there. They lied and made me ill. It was close to where my lady friend lived and one Saturady we had been out and some friends said Smiths chippy is doing gf fish n' chips once a month lets go there and we'll all have the same. I said I'm not eating their muck they made me ill the barstewards. Her 4 friends went and had a Chinese take away and we went back to mine for tea. So it came back to bite, it might have been gf but they lost 6 customers that night and I won't ever eat their food again. 2 of her friends live opposite the chippy and they tell others about my experience. I had the last laugh when I read on a message board that they were very dissapointed how few people had been going on their gf nights! and I thought thats good.

    The chippy may have changed hands, or its ethos to gf. But once that magic trust is gone its gone forever.

    Jerry

  • Nicely written Jerry and just show's that word of mouth is the best advertising and can also have the opposite effect.

    "But once that magic trust has gone its gone forever" never a truer statement which covers a multitude.

  • Guys - let's look to the positives here!

    Yep - 1 person getting bad service is likely to tell at least 10 other customers - retailers know the stats and marketing facts. So they don't deliberately go out to cull their custom thru glutening them and giving bad service.

    Whilst I relate to your story - and it's true that 1 coeliac = potentially 3/4 other customers ('cos we don't all eat with me, myself and I when were're out do we?!)...I can't help but think.....Did you ever TELL the Fish and Chip shop how ill they made you? If not...why not?

  • What is the point of complaining? it is todays culture to deny everything, Then it could be that as the ill health is not immediate it could have been caused anywhere/anytime.

    There is also the point that this cook not chef was seeking publicity and had little insight to what he was doing or the impact because lets face it until you were diagnosed how many coeliacs did you know?

  • I don't think we should look so negatively on places that made us ill, every time i've told the waiter/tress or chef that i need gluten free food i've found that they generally are more than happy to accommodate me. Yes you will find that people make mistakes, for example frying chips in the same fryer as the battered fish, but until this is made clear to them, the problem will just continue for the next coeliac, everyone is non-the-wiser, and the cycle just continues?

  • One would have assumed in the many years Coeliac UK have been about they might have brought this to the attention of The Chartered Institute of Environmental Officers so that food hygiene courses would have this as part of the course agenda. Many mistakes are made through ignorance, laziness and profit.

  • Here's a short link to one of our new blog posts by Robyn our resident Nutritionist bit.ly/gDKrE3 She's been with us since the beginning on here and we've finally decided she should have a nice pretty pic to go with her posts.

    Hope you enjoy them. We're considering running a regular feature on nutrition questions so click and get commenting under the new blog..http://bit.ly/gDKrE3

    Thanks

    Fiona

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