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Celiac.com 06/25/2014 - Chefs can be instrumental in guaranteeing a gluten-free dining experience for people with celiac disease. However, otherwise competent and well-meaning chefs can get some basic things wrong about gluten-free food for people with celiac disease, including: 1) The Culprits are Wheat, Rye and Barley Did you know that, in addition to avoiding anything made with wheat, or wheat flour, people with celiac disease can’t eat anything made with rye or barley? In a 2012 quiz, fewer than half of the chefs at a major culinary event could name a grain, other than wheat, that was harmful to people with celiac disease. So, it’s rye and barley, in addition to wheat. Got it? 2) Cross-contamination is a Real Problem The tiniest amounts of gluten, anything over 20 parts per million, can cause real and serious problems for people with celiac disease. Eating gluten causes things like stomach cramps, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and vomiting, and other unpleasantness for people with celiac disease. No chef wants a patron to leave feeling like that. That’s why it’s so important for any chef or cook offering gluten-free food owes it to it’s patrons with celiac disease to get gluten-free right. 3) Gluten-free Ingredients Don’t Guarantee Gluten-free Food Once chefs master the basics about what is or is not gluten-free, the next step is to avoid cross-contamination when preparing, cooking and serving gluten-free food. Do you cook gluten-free pasta in the same pot of water as regular pasta? Do you make gluten-free pizza in the same prep area or oven as regular pizza? Do you thicken soup, or sauce, or gravy with flour? Do you put croutons on salads? Do you cook regular and gluten-free foods in the same oven or grill? Do you use the same water to boil regular and gluten-free pasta? If so, you are adding gluten to otherwise gluten-free food. That’s a big no-no! 4) Best Practices for Guaranteeing Gluten-free Food Practices like those listed above are part of the cross-contamination problem faced by so many people with celiac disease. Remember, there’s no such thing as ‘a little gluten’ to people with celiac disease. To make sure you get it right, know the culprits wheat, barley and rye, be vigilant and watch for cross-contamination. Also, be sure to design and adopt a list of best practices for your particular kitchen that will guarantee a gluten-free dining experience for your patrons with celiac disease. By all means, please feel free to share your ideas about what chefs get wrong, and/or can do to ensure a safe gluten-free dining experience for people with celiac disease.
Celiac.com 05/07/2015 - Are chefs are improving their awareness of gluten-related disorders? That's one of the questions addressed in a new 10-year follow-up study in the UK. The study was conducted by a team of researchers headed by I. Aziz of the Department of Gastroenterology in Royal Hallamshire Hospital at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals in Sheffield, UK. The team also included M.A. Karajeh, J. Zilkha, E. Tubman, C. Fowles, and D.S. Sanders. The team set out to measure any changes in awareness of gluten-related disorders among the general public, and among chefs. To do so, they compared results from face-to-face questionnaires on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity on the general public and chefs based in Sheffield, UK. The survey was conducted in 2003, and repeated in 2013. They compared the results from the 265 chefs in 2013 against results from the 322 chefs in 2003. Whereas in 2003 the public were significantly more aware of gluten-related disorders than chefs, by 2013, rates of awareness in the groups were about equal. The 2003 group was 85% male, with a mean age 37.6 years old. The second group was younger at 27.1 years, on average, and more evenly mixed, with 38% women. Overall, the results showed a significant increase in chefs' awareness of gluten-related disorders from the years 2003 to 2013. Awareness of celiac disease had risen from a dismal 17.1% in 2003 to a respectable 78.1% in 2013 (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 12.5; 95% CI 7.9-19.6). For Gluten Sensitivity, awareness had climbed from a mere 9.3% in 2003 to 87.5% in 2013 (AOR 65.7; 95% CI 35.4-122; P<0.001). The survey also showed that 44% of the public and 40% of chefs (P=0.28) properly recognized the official gluten-free symbol. There has been a marked increase in both the public's and chefs' awareness of gluten-related disorders. Hopefully, this awareness will translate into better, safer gluten free offerings for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity. Find further reading, including hard numbers from the survey, in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Source: Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Nov;26(11):1228-33. doi: 10.1097/MEG.0000000000000166.
Celiac.com 07/02/2012 - Dismal results on a simple, four-question quiz show that most chefs and restaurateurs lack the most fundamental knowledge of gluten-free facts and protocols; a reality that could leave many gluten-free diners at risk of gluten contamination. The quiz was administrated at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), a non-profit organization that promotes awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Even though a large number of chefs and restaurateurs said they offered gluten-free options at their restaurants, less than 4 percent responded correctly to the gluten questionnaire. People with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance must avoid gluten from wheat, rye and barley, but fewer than half of the chefs could name a grain, other than wheat, that contained harmful gluten. The results showed that the chefs were both poorly informed, and unaware, said Alice Bast, founder and president of NFCA. In addition to asking chefs to name all three grains that trigger a reaction in people with celiac disease, the quiz asked what kind of oats are safe for those people. There were two other questions, one that asked chefs to identify a possible gluten-containing product (Worchestershire sauce) from a short list of foods and products, and another that asked if it was true that celiac disease was triggered by glucose (false). The results point to the need for more celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity training and awareness in the food industry, especially since the number of establishments seeking to offer gluten-free options for their patrons continues to grow. Source: http://www.pizzamarketplace.com/article/195015/Majority-of-restaurateurs-and-chefs-fail-celiac-test
Celiac.com 12/23/2011 - A research team recently sought to figure out the basic level of awareness of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity among the general public and trained and untrained chefs, and to compare dining habits of people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity to those of the general public. In face-to-face interviews, and via internet survey, researchers asked people about their knowledge of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. They also asked people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity about their dining habits, in addition to asking chefs about their levels of training and education. In all, the researchers surveyed 861 persons from the general public. They found that 47% had heard of celiac disease, 67% had heard of gluten sensitivity, and 88% had heard about peanut allergy. They surveyed 790 people with either celiac disease (82%, n=646), or gluten sensitivity (18% n=144). The vast majority of respondents to the study were female, making up 83% of those with celiac disease, and 90% of those with gluten sensitivity. Those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity were older than the general public respondents, 57% of the patients were over 45 years of age compared with just 32% of the general public respondents (p< 0.0001). The 200 chefs who were surveyed showed a much higher awareness of celiac disease, with 77% of chefs having heard about celiac disease compared to less than half of the general population. Interestingly, many more people in both groups had heard of gluten sensitivity, with 89% for chefs, and 67% for the general population, respectively. Still, the chefs, like the general public, had a tendency to underestimate celiac disease was underestimated by both chefs (56%) and the general public (69%) while peanut allergy was overestimated by 55% of the general public and 60% of chefs. People with celiac disease may not be surprised to learn that a large majority, 63% of the 790 following a gluten-free diet reported avoiding restaurants more, and eating take-out food much less often than the general public. One important finding was that the level of training had a great deal of impact on a chef's knowledge of celiac disease. Overall, trained chefs were much more likely to be familiar with celiac disease compared with untrained chefs (83% vs. 52%) Also, there was a direct connection between the average price of a meal and the likelihood that the chef was familiar with gluten-free concerns. The more expensive the restaurant, the more likely the chef was familiar with celiac disease and gluten-free concerns. Restaurants with an average check below $25 had a 64% rate of awareness, while the rate for restaurants with a check over $65 had a 94% awareness of gluten-free concerns (p<0.0001). In general, the survey team was impressed by what they saw as a fairly high degree of awareness of gluten-related concerns. Interestingly, both trained and untrained chefs were more likely to have heard of gluten sensitivity than of celiac disease. Most people with celiac disease avoid restaurants, and eat out the home far less often than the general public. Still, many do eat out, and they do so by making sure they get their needs met. The simple take away is that chefs are generally pretty aware of gluten-intolerance and celiac disease, and that chefs with better training and higher-end restaurants are more likely to deliver a gluten-free dining experience. As always, communication goes a long way toward ensuring a pleasant and successful restaurant experience for anyone with celiac disease. Knowing your needs, sharing your concerns, and asking your server and/or chef about their gluten-free options and preparation methods can go a long way toward a smooth gluten-free dining experience. Source: http://www.journals.elsevierhealth.com/periodicals/yeclnm/article/PIIS1751499111000527/fulltext