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My Amusing Email Conversation With The Olive Garden
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I don't remember why I went to The Olive Garden website, but when I did I saw their few gluten-free offerings. Then I saw a place for recipes. I looked in there and they had not one, not two, but THREE recipes for risotto that were totally gluten-free (I make risotto at home all the time)! I emailed them and told them how excited I was and asked if they used the recipes on their website in their restaurants... because if they did, they were missing some awesome gluten-free offerings on their menu in their risotto... which I think is probably one of the best foods on earth... and how amazing it would be to order the grilled shrimp or chicken you can order for the gluten-free pasta dishes and have it on risotto??

 

Now, I know that The Olive Garden doesn't do their own cooking in their restaurants. I know their dinners are sort of TV dinners that they just heat up and serve. But I was hoping against hope that I was wrong!

 

They sent me back the generic email... "Thank you for your interest. We are proud to be able to offer some gluten-free items on our menu..." yada... yada... yada.

 

I wrote them back and said that I'd seen their gluten-free offerings (boring) and needed to know if their risotto recipes on the website contained the same ingredients as the ones they serve in the restaurant!!

 

They finally wrote me back and said, "No, the recipes on the website are not the same ones we use in the actual restaurant. We refer you back to the gluten-free menu."

 

I was disappointed, but not surprised. I wrote them one last time and said, "Thanks for confirming what I'd heard... that your food is essentially TV dinners that you reheat and are not cooked on the premises."

 

Oh well...

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I don't think that is true any longer.  When they first came out with the gluten-free menu, it was true.  But I read here that they no longer do that and cook the food on premises.  Not that it is any good.  Because it isn't.  I have no clue why people like that place.  Even the salad is no good with its two token olives.  I would expect a salad there to be loaded with olives!  And when you order gluten-free, they still bring you breadsticks and put croutons on your salad, even when you tell them not to.  Bleh.

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I seem to have bad luck with any Italian Restaurant. I went to Buca Di Beppo, and they had about 3-4 gluten-free options - none of which were available without dairy. I had to sit and watch my family eat while the chefs decided if they'd be willing to cook sausage in oil for me, instead of butter. 

 

I don't even bother with commercial Italian anymore. :/

 

The Olive Garden is my sworn enemy. 

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I seem to have bad luck with any Italian Restaurant. I went to Buca Di Beppo, and they had about 3-4 gluten-free options - none of which were available without dairy. I had to sit and watch my family eat while the chefs decided if they'd be willing to cook sausage in oil for me, instead of butter. 

 

I don't even bother with commercial Italian anymore. :/

 

The Olive Garden is my sworn enemy. 

Yeah.  For me the issue isn't even gluten.  It's egg and dairy.  Most gluten-free pasta is egg free but the dairy is everywhere.

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Just a note on why the recipe posted on the website isn't what is served in the restaurant. As a general rule restaurants consider their recipes to be proprietary information. Employees who will have access to these recipes may even have to sign NDAs. (I had to at more than one restaurant.) There is not a snowball's chance in hell a restaurant as large as Olive Garden would post a recipe that they serve on their website. The restaurants I have had to sign NDAs for in regards to recipes have been both chains and small local joints, everyone wants to protect those recipes because if you can replicate the food at home you won't come back.

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Sorry, but the Olive Garden does not even serve very good food....and I found it that way long before I had to be gluten-free.  IMHO

According to people who post reviews of the gluten-free menu?---the" gluten-free options" are typically reheated, frozen, tasteless and overpriced.

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Sorry, but the Olive Garden does not even serve very good food....and I found it that way long before I had to be gluten-free.  IMHO

According to people who post reviews of the gluten-free menu?---the" gluten-free options" are typically reheated, frozen, tasteless and overpriced.

You took the words right out of my mouth. Calling it "food" is a bit of a stretch.
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You took the words right out of my mouth. Calling it "food" is a bit of a stretch.

:lol:  :lol:  :lol:

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I don't remember why I went to The Olive Garden website, but when I did I saw their few gluten-free offerings. Then I saw a place for recipes. I looked in there and they had not one, not two, but THREE recipes for risotto that were totally gluten-free (I make risotto at home all the time)! I emailed them and told them how excited I was and asked if they used the recipes on their website in their restaurants... because if they did, they were missing some awesome gluten-free offerings on their menu in their risotto... which I think is probably one of the best foods on earth... and how amazing it would be to order the grilled shrimp or chicken you can order for the gluten-free pasta dishes and have it on risotto??

 

Now, I know that The Olive Garden doesn't do their own cooking in their restaurants. I know their dinners are sort of TV dinners that they just heat up and serve. But I was hoping against hope that I was wrong!

 

They sent me back the generic email... "Thank you for your interest. We are proud to be able to offer some gluten-free items on our menu..." yada... yada... yada.

 

I wrote them back and said that I'd seen their gluten-free offerings (boring) and needed to know if their risotto recipes on the website contained the same ingredients as the ones they serve in the restaurant!!

 

They finally wrote me back and said, "No, the recipes on the website are not the same ones we use in the actual restaurant. We refer you back to the gluten-free menu."

 

I was disappointed, but not surprised. I wrote them one last time and said, "Thanks for confirming what I'd heard... that your food is essentially TV dinners that you reheat and are not cooked on the premises."

 

Oh well...

I HAD to attend a dinner at OG a few years ago and the only foods offered were steak and steamed brocolli.  How BORING.....OG is DEFINITELY not on my list.

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They finally wrote me back and said, "No, the recipes on the website are not the same ones we use in the actual restaurant. We refer you back to the gluten-free menu."

 

I was disappointed, but not surprised. I wrote them one last time and said, "Thanks for confirming what I'd heard... that your food is essentially TV dinners that you reheat and are not cooked on the premises."

 

Oh well...

Perhaps so and but disappointing. I ate there yesterday, because it was a choice of friends.  And as mentioned in other threads of late, it's not the food, but the fellowship. I ate and enjoyed my time.

 

And although the options are very slim, they are suitable for business people or guest to have a meal with friends or family. Olive Garden may not be everyone's choice, but it IS an option. (slim, but an option) B)

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I agree with everything that has been said (I have a friend who goes with her boyfriend their on their fancy "date night" which is beyond my comprehension), but at least they do have gluten-free options. I work in the boonies and when I MUST go to a work lunch at least I can go there and eat something - I'd rather that than the awkwardness of refusing to go or just sitting and eating nothing, which I have had to do. I appreciate that they have made a few gluten-free options available - of course, it's our decision whether we go and eat them or not. [i just realized that I am basically echoing the most recent comment, which I apparently hadn't finished reading, but am posting anyway to second what she has said].

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Have never had a problem with Olive Garden.  True their offerings are sparse.  All of us order the salad with no croutons so there is no confusion on that.  The pasta is OK enough to stand once in a while, according to celiac hubby.

 

However, if we want real, good Italian food, we go to Biaggi's, which has an amazing gluten-free menu!

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I totally agree about Biaggi's. They have an extensive gluten free menu, and my local one even has gluten free beer. When they bring out the bread and dipping oil, I get gluten free bread and my own plate of oil. Couldn't be happier with them. (Ridgeland, MS)

By the way, let's all be sure to let a restaurant know when they take good care of us. Everyone likes a pat on the head and it might encourage them to do even better.

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Well... an interesting end to this story is that the Olive Garden sent me a gift certificate for $75! We can also use it at Red Lobster (also few gluten-free offerings). As both of them are 2+ hours away from where we live... I don't know when we'll be able to use it but my husband loves their salad.

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Stumbled across this post last night and I just had to comment. I went to OG last night for dinner, and they had their new salmon bruschetta. I liked the idea of it being on a bed of risotto, because 9/10 times, it's gluten free. So the waiter comes over and asks if we have any questions, and I ask out of curiosity if the risotto is gluten free. He looks at me funny, and completely straight-faced, says "uhh...no, because it has cheese." I almost fell out of my chair. HOW do you have a gluten free menu, and your waiters/waitresses don't even know what 'gluten' is? Makes me sick to even think about going out to eat these days.

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I don't mind the fact that OG food is overpriced and not the tastiest, because at least they have options. And the fact that it's not cooked on premises makes it safer. Generally I go out to eat because friends or family want to and not because it's the best food. My food at home is a lot better!

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Just a note on why the recipe posted on the website isn't what is served in the restaurant. As a general rule restaurants consider their recipes to be proprietary information. Employees who will have access to these recipes may even have to sign NDAs. (I had to at more than one restaurant.) There is not a snowball's chance in hell a restaurant as large as Olive Garden would post a recipe that they serve on their website. The restaurants I have had to sign NDAs for in regards to recipes have been both chains and small local joints, everyone wants to protect those recipes because if you can replicate the food at home you won't come back.

Just a note on why the recipe posted on the website isn't what is served in the restaurant. As a general rule restaurants consider their recipes to be proprietary information. Employees who will have access to these recipes may even have to sign NDAs. (I had to at more than one restaurant.) There is not a snowball's chance in hell a restaurant as large as Olive Garden would post a recipe that they serve on their website. The restaurants I have had to sign NDAs for in regards to recipes have been both chains and small local joints, everyone wants to protect those recipes because if you can replicate the food at home you won't come back.

I have been looking at different places menus and gluten free listings since going to the doc, and I don't know how I'm going to be able to do it since 95% of places don't know what that they serve, sell, or manufacture contain gluten! It's ridiculous!

But on a brighter side, I have to say Adalaide, your signature line about "you don't look sick" is hilarious! Made me honestly laugh for the first time in a while when I read it, and I may just have to steal it from you and use it. :-)

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