How do restaurants adapt to celiac customers?

One of the Trojan horses of people who have food intolerances and / or allergies is eating out. Although more and more restaurants have specific menus for these types of diners, the truth is that it is sometimes difficult for celiacs to find dishes on the menus as appetizing and varied as those that can be chosen by a person who can eat without restrictions.

What do cooks have to take into account when preparing a menu suitable for a celiac ? According to Salvador García, chef at Unilever Food Solutions, restaurants have to look at different points. “The first is to know how we will work in our kitchen at the management level; from the time the product arrives until the plate comes out. That is why we must, for example, be very clear about what contains gluten and what does not , how we can avoid cross-contamination, etc. ”, explains García.

Then it is essential to analyze what options the chef has at the food level and, in case some may contain gluten, you should look for substitutes . “For example, if we want to add croutons to a cold soup, we can change it for fried rice noodles or even popcorn,” recommends the chef at Unilever Food Solutions, who indicates that, finally, the restaurant cannot forget to communicate it on the menu. , since it is very important for the client to be clear about which dishes in the establishment contain gluten and which do not.

Challenges in the kitchen

Training and inspiration are the two great challenges that every chef has to face to adapt the gluten-free diet to their establishment. “The first is based on being very clear on how to work with gluten in the kitchen (separate utensils, work areas, etc.) and the second is on how to get the most out of ingredients that do not contain gluten to make a tasty and original ”, adds the expert.

In fact, García insists that it is not at all complicated to design an original and appetizing letter . “A good option to add possibilities in the kitchen is to work with derivatives. That is, we can, for example, start from a tomato sauce as a base and turn it into a Bolognese, a chutney, a putanesca and even a cold tomato soup. That gives us a very important versatility to configure our gluten-free offer, “he specifies.

When a celiac customer goes to a restaurant, sometimes he may feel that when he asks the waiter about the composition of a dish, he is speaking to him in Chinese and is insecure about the food he is going to eat later. This is where, in part, the second challenge comes into play, the key is to train kitchen and room staff. “If the staff is well trained, they will know how to give the appropriate responses to the client,” concludes Salvador García.


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