If you are invited to purchase baking promoted as ‘gluten free,’ but you are not sure of the vendor’s credentials and reputation, be sure to ask:
a. Where do you purchase your ingredients?
b. Do you source ingredients that are labelled gluten free or come with gluten-free documentation?
c). Is gluten used in the same kitchen / baking area that you bake your ‘gluten-free’ products?
d. How can you be certain that the baking you say is gluten free contains <20ppm?
e. If your baking is gluten free, is it safe for celiacs?
a. Health food store
b. I use rice, sorghum, amaranth, teff etc. Aren’t they inherently gluten free?
c. Yes, but I wipe down the counters. Isn’t that enough?
d. No one has ever gotten sick from my baking.
e. FYI: if a product is promoted as gluten-free, gluten-friendly or in a way that ‘suggests’ it is be safe for a person requiring a gluten-free diet, it MUST be safe for celiacs. Health Canada has defined the term that way to protect our community.
If you are accepting baking from a well-intentioned friend or relative, be sure that what they offering has been purchased from a manufacturer that you know and trust. Support the businesses that bake for us all year long – 100% gluten free!
Communication is the key ingredient to every successful gluten-free restaurant meal. When diners, chefs and servers are able to collaborate on what is required and what can be reasonably delivered, there is cause for celebration!
- Please tell me about the meals you recommend to diners who need to eat gluten free?
- What ingredients will be used to make my order?
- How do staff know whether ingredients are really gluten free?
- Says so on labels?
- Checked product website?
- Called the manufacturer?
- Checked with The Celiac Scene? The CCA?
- Will pure spices, prepared seasonings or soy sauce made from wheat be used to make my meal?
- What other food items are cooked in the oil that ‘gluten-free’ items are cooked in?
- How are sauces and dressings thickened?
- How will my server communicate with the kitchen that a gluten-free order has been placed?
- How are gluten-free orders prepared in relation to the regular flow of the kitchen?
- Will staff wash their hands / change gloves / change aprons clean surfaces before preparing my order?
- How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing my food are free from any trace of gluten?
- Separate or scrubbed frying pan? Griddle scrubbed? Aluminum foil barrier? Dedicated pots? Dedicated colanders?
- What other precautions do staff take to minimize / prevent cross contamination?
- How will my server confirm with the kitchen that the order they are collecting has been prepared gluten free?
- How will my server confirm that the order they are delivering to me is gluten free?
How did the restaurant learn how to meet the needs of gluten-free diners?
- Through The Celiac Scene? Canadian Celiac Association?
- Registered dietitian? Local health authority?
- Staff members with celiac disease?
Questions Specific to Pizza Restaurants
- The risk of cross contamination with airborne gluten flour is HIGH. Partake only if strict protocols are in place to protect your safety.
- Are ‘gluten-free’ crusts prepared on-site?
- During regular operations? Before regular production? During downtimes / days?
- See questions in Ingredient section above.
- Are pre-made ‘gluten-free’ crusts purchased from a dedicated gluten-free manufacturer? Who is the manufacturer?
- How are gluten-free sauces and toppings prepared?
- During regular operations? Before regular production? During downtimes / days
- See questions in Ingredient section above.
- Will toppings be taken from the same ingredient bins that are used to top regular pizzas?
- Will sauces from the same containers be used to to dress both gluten and gluten-free crusts?
- How do staff ensure that all utensils used in preparing gluten-free orders are free of any trace of gluten?
- How are utensils, crusts, sauces and toppings protected from cross-contamination with gluten while waiting to be used?
If the prospect of grilling restaurants about their gluten-free friendliness feels intimidating, you’ve got options!
Visit The Celiac Scene for restaurants that enjoy an excellent reputation within Victoria and Vancouver Island’s celiac community.
Join Victoria’s Gluten-Free Foodies to dine with a gluten-free group at carefully vetted restaurants. With more than 100 Meet-Ups under our belts, choose from a huge inventory of tried and tested celiac-friendly restaurants.