Need Advice For How To Cater To Celiacs
Posted 19 January 2013 - 06:13 AM
Posted 19 January 2013 - 09:10 AM
But I realize that you aren't going to make the whole facility gluten free! Though having naturally gluten free meals a few times a week would make many things easier, you still are going to have times where you don't want to do that. So, yes, you need to deal with cross contamination.
You say "there have been no problems" and yet she's losing weight. You cannt know that the weight loss is from Alzheimer's, as it could be caused by her getting contaminated as well. Further, in the kitchen, you aren't likely to be privy to all the details of her physical complaints. She may well be having abdominal pain, bloating, or other symptoms (including a shift in her Alzheimer's symptoms faster than expected, which a non-Alzheimer's patient would describe as brain fog). Perhaps, in her state, she hasn't mentioned much - forgetting to or not waning to be a trouble. Perhaps she has mentioned it and it was ignored as insignificant or just old age. Perhaps she hasn't mentioned it and her daughter has had to figure it out. No matter, I encourage you to give her the grace to be as healthy as she can. This isn't being done to make your life harder, though it may well feel that way in the heat and stress of the pre-dinner rush. You would certainly do the same for any of your loved ones who were sick and couldn't advocate or care for themselves.
A "separate" preparation area is a must! I think the easiest way to think about it is a comparison to raw meats. You wouldn't share a cutting board for raw meats with fruits/veggies not being cooked. Not without thorough washing first. You wouldn't prepare food on the same counter that had chicken juice splattered on it without washing first. You wouldn't pass raw chicken over a salad about to be served.
Likewise, you need separate cutting boards for non-gluten and gluten foods. You need to make sure that counters that have had gluten containing ingredients on them are well cleaned before preparing gluten free foods. And you need to avoid passing gluten foods (particularly things like bread or breaded items) over gluten free foods.
Just like you wouldn't use the same spoon to stir a dish full of raw meat and then a cold soup, you need to use separate spoons for gluten containing and gluten free foods. In a busy kitchen, doing what many do here and having different colored tape or labels to note which is which may help, and it may be procedurally easier to keep them permanently separate, though a thorough washing on metal utensils should be sufficient. Same with pots and pans - you can mark dedicated ones, but a thorough cleaning is usually good for stainless cookware.
Some things, like collanders for pasta, scratched non-stick surfaces, toasters, and porous material like wood, simply can't be thoroughly cleaned and it really is vital to have separate, dedicated equipment in this case.
I'm sure others here will have more help. You might PM a user by the name of kenlove directly, as he's worked with a number of restaurants on the issue of serving gluten free food.
Good luck, and come back and let us know how it goes!!
Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy
G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004
Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me
Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:17 PM
How have you been prepping food for her (and for the other residents) until now? How did your predecessor do it?
Posted 19 January 2013 - 12:28 PM
The bad thing is, weight loss is only one of the consequences of cross-contamination. There are a host of very nasty diseases that can come from continual low level exposure. Cancers, lupus, thyroid problems, and even dementia itself.
Cross-contamination is extremely serious and the extra precautions taken to avoid it are well worth it. If you learn how to do it in this setting you will be ahead of the game because I am sure you will have other celiac patients in the future.
gluten-free since June, 2011
It took 3 !/2 years but my intolerances to corn, soy, and everything else (except gluten) are gone!
Life is good!
Posted 19 January 2013 - 07:11 PM
This will be good for you as well. As a chef you are already well familiar with cross contamination, now you just have to adjust to the idea that with gluten things can become permanently contaminated rather than having the option of a little hot water being able to clean up after everything. The idea mentioned of naturally gluten free meals is a good one also. This will almost certainly not work all of the time, but a few times a week no one will notice.
"You don't look sick or anything"
"Well you don't look stupid, looks can be deceiving."
Celiac DX Dec 2012
CRPS DX March 2014
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