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Donna F

Culinary Prep And Contam Grills

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As a former restaurant manager, I just want to put this out there:

Has anyone considered the handling of the food prior to it being ordered? I had a culinary prep person making our salads and chopping up the meats and veggies into pre-set portions for cooking. She was aware of the importance of cross-contamination with regard to raw meats, fish, etc., but not about crumbs and flour and such. How many are thinking about gluten?

My concern would be whether or not they are aware of the importance of handling this food in a certain way so as not to contaminate it. It's one thing for them not to put the gluten-containing ingredients on there, but who knows how the food was handled while being prepped - even salads can be contaminated, either in the making of it, or by forgetting not to put croutons on and then simply removing them. It isn't neccessarily about ordering the right foods minus the gluten containing ingredients as it is about taking a chance that the people who handled the food prior to cooking it were not contaminating it by putting it on surfaces with crumbs, etc.

Also, what about their grill? Is this food being cooked in containers or on grills used to cook gluten-containing foods?

It's just not worth it, IMO, to chance eating out. At least the Outback has a grill DEDICATED to cooking gluten free food. They know about contamination and know how to avoid it, for the most part, but even then, are the prep people being careful?

If every Celiac took it upon themselves to educate the restaurant industry about this, we'd have a lot more restaurants able to cater to us. We could even offer to scrutinize the menu for them to help create a gluten-free version.

Just my 2cents!

-donna

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Celiac.com Sponsor (A8):

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I believe that the cross contamination issue is the most important thing to address when eating out.

When a server tells me, "yes the chef says this dish is gluten free", I always remind them to clean the grill, don fresh gloves, use a fresh pan/bowl, etc...

I had a lovely meal this last weekend at Flemmings Steakhouse in Richmond, Va. The server brought toasted bread with two kinds of cheese spread. I had my gluten-free crackers in my purse ready, but my hubby grabbed for the bread and dipped it in the cheese! I asked the server if she could please check if the cheese spreads were gluten-free, and if so, could she bring us a new dish of them. She came back and told me that, yes the spreads were gluten-free, but the area in the kitchen where the bread/cheese plates were put together was scattered with crumbs and she did think I should risk it.

I was very pleased that the server was so aware of the issue and did not worry at all about the rest of the meal.

I agree with Donna that we should all be sure to remind the server to communicate these issues to the kitchen!

Happy Eating,

Pam

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