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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Skewered by Seitan? Vegan, Gluten-Free Food a Flop on Wedding Day

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A lawsuit claims a hotel and other vendors ruined a couple's vegan wedding feast by serving inappropriate food, including seitan skewers for gluten-free guests; to the tune of one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars.


    Caption: Seitan. Photo: CC--Vegan Feast Catering

    Celiac.com 02/09/2018 - A newlywed couple have raised accusations of sick guests, inappropriate food, and breach of contract in filing suit against wedding vendors they say ruined their surprise vegan wedding, which was also to include gluten-free snacks for some guests.

    The wedding took place in May, 2017, and by Christmas, the family had already filed suit in Ramsey County against vendors Mintahoe, Inc., A'Bulae, LLC, and Bellagala for breach of contract. The lawsuit states the venue choice near Mears Park in downtown St. Paul was "absolutely contingent" on their commitment to provide a "delicious" vegan dinner to wedding guests.

    According to the couple, the main idea was to serve delicious food that guests would not suspect was "an entirely plant-based meal." The couple intended for the surprise to be revealed at the end of the night, when servers were to put out signs announcing that the entire meal had been vegan.

    Among the claims made by the family of the bride and groom are that a guest with celiac disease ate a seitan skewer that she believed was gluten-free, but which actually contained gluten, and that the guest became "very ill" as a result. The couple says the hotel's pastry chef took home the leftover vegan wedding cake the couple had ordered from an off-site vendor, instead of making sure it went to the wedding party.

    The couple's complaints go on to cite a litany of perceived offenses, including "horrific" food and service, "missing" bamboo shoots bean sprouts, too many carrots, and "horrific…sickeningly sweet," sauce that was not the peanut sauce they expected.

    The couple also complains that the groom's room before the wedding was "extremely hot and stifling," and disputes the cost of the menu for the wedding, which was mostly Thai food. In fairness, though, their main complaint seems to be that the food was terrible, rather than the fact that it wasn't vegan.

    The couple and mother-of-the-bride are seeking $21,721 for each of the seven counts of breach of contract, totaling $152,047, along with an award of damages to be determined at trial.

    What do you make of the situation? Right on the money, or a gluten-free bridge too far?

    Source: KTSP


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    " a guest with celiac disease ate a seitan skewer that she believed was gluten-free, but which actually contained gluten" I also got violently ill from seitan before I realized I had an issue with gluten, but I'm sorry. Unless it was labelled "gluten-free" why on earth would she assume it was gluten-free? Vegan and gluten-free are surely not interchangeable terms. If anything, vegan foods should always be consumed cautiously since they so heavily rely on vital wheat gluten as a primary ingredient. I don't see how the guest would have assumed it was anything other than unsafe to eat unless specifically labelled as gluten-free.

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    If they ordered vegan and gluten free, then they should have received vegan and gluten free. I have celiac, and I have gotten very ill eating things that were "supposedly" gluten-free but turned out not to be.

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    With several family members being diagnosed as celiac and dealing with gluten free food choices for 50 years the basic tenet is to purchase ingredients in identifiable form, grind any grains at home and stick to very identifiable foods when away from home and always have food available when away from home. A vegan plus gluten free vegan "plus delicious wedding feast" is asking too much for caterers and the foolishness of asking for a vegan feast that was not obvious or requesting a specific menu is rather ignorant. Especially for a hypersensitive guest that should have food prepared in a separate area. Vegan would translate as no eggs, no butter, no dairy products, no fish, and no meat of any sort. In this part of the world I couldn't imagine raising a child on a vegan gluten free diet and expecting mainstream society to figure out the meals. Specific directions are required and the menu in detail explicitly indicated and labelled.

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    It's difficult to tell without reading their contract with the various services involved. If gluten free was only discussed and not in the contract they have no claim in that regard. Didn't they get food samples prior to selecting the caterer? Most people do.

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    I think the article is great and covered everything. I believe that the only people entitled to compensation are the ones that got sick. Shame on the chef who took the cake that didn't belong to him, he should reimburse them. Did the happy couple taste test the food beforehand? It seems that they left it up to them to create appetizing food but that is leaving too much up to interpretation. What tastes good to me may not to you....

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    Sounds like the wedding party did inadequate prep, research, and supervision regarding the food. Did they sample anything when they were ordering? Specify what was prohibited? Did they take a look at the presentation that was put out before their guests arrived? Also, their supposed rules and guidelines sound very ambiguous and prone to errors and misunderstanding.

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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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