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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Gluten-Free Diners Need a Sense of Humor at Luxury Dublin Restaurant

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Dublin's White Moose Café will happily make you a gluten-free meal, but you'd better bring a sense of humor, because they might also mock you mercilessly.


    Caption: Warning sign at Dublin's White Moose Café. Image: Flickr

    Celiac.com 06/27/2019 - A luxury hotel in Dublin has gleefully and publicly responded to a negative customer e-mail that criticized its cafe's snarky humor about gluten-free eaters.  The White Moose Café menu says that it will do whatever it can to accommodate those with an allergy to gluten, but encourages those with gluten intolerances to seek the help of “a good psychotherapist down the road.”

    The hotel took a similar stance on vegans, telling diners that “vegans will not be shot dead at point blank range if they have the decency to give us 24 hours notice of their arrival."

    A customer named Mary sent an email condemning the hotel's “derisive comments” about gluten-free diners. “You appear to be a bunch of buffoons with a very juvenile sense of humor,” she wrote, adding that her husband has celiac disease and therefore cannot eat gluten.

    Responding to Mary’s email in a Facebook post, Stenson wrote: “We’re absolutely delighted that you won’t be visiting us, as people who complain about light-hearted, satirical wording they read online that the vast majority of people find funny, will probably whinge and moan in person too.”

    Stenson thanked Mary for “sparing our staff of a negative, whining customer”, adding that his employees will be “happier as a result, and happier staff will provide better service to the customers who actually matter.”

    Why all the bravado? Cafe owner, Paul Stenson says that the cafe "use the outrage of the public to gain publicity for the café, without spending a cent," the owner said. "Our social media presence filters out miserable people from people who don’t take life too seriously, meaning the 35 seats in our café are occupied by pleasant people who don’t whinge and moan incessantly."

    Stenson closed by adding that Mary’s celiac husband is welcome to eat at the hotel, and that he [Stenson] would happily prepare gluten-free food for him.  “But if you were ‘appalled’ by the wording on the website,” he adds, “you’d have a f***ing heart attack if you ever came in”.

    The White Moose Café first gained fame in January 2018 for declaring a "ban" on social media influencers after a 22-year-old YouTuber asked for a free five-night stay at the hotel.

    What do you think about the cafe's angle? Spot on? Over the top? Share your thoughts below.

    Read more at the Independent.co.uk

    Edited by Jefferson Adams


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    I would say they are late to the game. Ed Debevic's in Chicago has been insulting customers for decades. Lots of sass and zingers. Although Ed Debevic's they were not specifically attacking gluten free , food intolerant, and food allergy customers. They were politically incorrect to all, I think before politically incorrect became a common term.

    So late to the game White Moose. The free advertising works and it draws certain types of people -sarcastic fun for all. I haven't been to Ed's in decades as we (friends etc found it humorous in our teens and early 20's). You tend to outgrow things .... 

    http://www.eddebevics.com/eds-story/

    The White Moose will find their Niche and customers their unique way.

     

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    Guest Maureen Sullivan

    Posted

    Refreshing! I have Celiac and if my food were properly prepared in a safe environment,I wouldn’t care if it was served with a heap of gluten free sarcasm and haranguing. Sounds like a fun place and there’s nothing wrong with acting juvenile occasionally. People really do have to lighten up. 

     

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     I don’t understand why people find having an autoimmune disease that doesn’t allow your body to have gluten humorous. It’s not a diet fad and I’m not trying to be trendy I’m just trying to eat food that isn’t trying to kill me from the inside out. Celiac disease is isolating, painful, and expensive but it’s never been funny. 

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    Most people can take a joke but when it comes to having their health possibly at risk, that’s no laughing matter. It kind of sounds similar to when baristas have said that if someone comes in and asks for a milk alternative, they have/will be tempted to give them full fat milk...

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    Maybe the humor doesn't travel well. Maybe it's funny in Dublin, but in the USA it falls flat to me despite my Irish roots. We have so much trouble here with people who attack and trivialize anybody who eats differently, looks different, has a foreign accent, or speaks a language other than English in public. And I don't just mean verbal attacks. People have been assaulted, shot, or deliberately run over and dragged to death. This is the country where children and adults get killed by mass murderers in their classrooms, workplaces, churches, synagogues, mosques as well as on the street. We can be a little touchy these days.

    I don't have celiac but if I eat too much wheat (more than a slice or two of bread) too often then I get painful persistent heartburn, so I want to avoid it when traveling. I also am vegetarian with dairy/egg allergies. I can tolerate small amounts of wheat with no problem, but I absolutely do not want dead animals or their discharges sneaked into my food. (And yes, there are people who try to do just that.) My symptoms are delayed enough that I won't keel over in front of the waiter, but I will be unnecessarily uncomfortable later on. Why should anybody laugh at me for not wanting to feel bad?

    I can't stand caraway seeds either, so I need to know if it's in food so I can avoid it - is that another joke since it's a "preference"? The taste of caraway ruins anything it is in for me. I don't think most restaurants really want their customers to gag on their food...

    I don't care if someone is gluten-free or vegan for ethical or health reasons or just because they want variety. We all have the right to know what's in our food and set limits. Maybe it's all a joke to these insult comics, but it hasn't been for me.

    I wouldn't want to eat at this particular restaurant simply because I wouldn't trust them. The locals may be sure they are just being their usual stupid selves and won't deliberately contaminate the food for kicks. But I can't be so sure. It just hits me wrong. Maybe they don't realize it, but they are playing into some deep prejudices about food and eating that actually affect me personally and that I have bad memories about.

    This might not be obvious to the jokers if they eat anything labeled food with no problem, but I've found that some people get really weird when you are eating differently from them. They perceive it as a rejection of them and downright unpatriotic rather than just the neutral act of eating different food. I just want to eat my non-allergenic animal-free lunch and end up getting harangued by a carnivore who has noticed I don't eat meat (no, I don't tell them). It's as though they fear I will take their Big Mac away at gunpoint. Well, this is the USA. I suppose that could happen... People here have been shot for much less.

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    I guess it depends on just how they interpret 'gluten free'.  If they see it as a joke, and don't get that it can be a huge issue for some people, then, yes, that's a serious problem.  On the other hand, if I can go there, have a bit of fun with it, and still get truly celiac-safe food (so, despite the humor, they take it seriously), then why not?  I guess some people don't get the humor, but as long as the cafe does right, I'm OK with it.

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    I have a great sense of humor, but I would never go into a restaurant where I would be “mocked unmercifully” because I cannot consume gluten because I have an celiac disease.  I understand why some restaurants can get annoyed when people order a gluten free main course and then follow it up with a big piece of wheat-made cake.  These type diners obviously don’t really have a problem with consuming gluten or they would NEVER do that.  Whenever I request gluten free food I am always kind and respectful in my request because I know servers are bombarded with rude customer requests.  Any time I go into a restaurant I risk having few options that I feel safe to eat and the risk of cross contamination is always in the forefront of my mind.  Dining out is usually a stressful event for me as well as for my husband because he has seen how sick I can get after ingesting gluten.  If a person made special dining requests because s/he has a disease like cancer it HIV, I doubt they would be mocked unmercifully.” 

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in biology, anatomy, medicine, science, and advanced research, and scientific methods. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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