forum: Food & Drink

#1 Sun 30 Sep 12 8:41pm

amy mills

Member since Sun 30 Sep 12

gluten free

Hi Jamie, i have been diagnosed with celiacs disease and i'm struggling to cook with all the limits that are in place. You don't realise that gluten is in sauces,stock  and even soy sauce. i know in your Manchester restaurant you have a choice of gluten free pasta, are the sauces safe as well?We need you to do a gluten free book. Hope you can help. Amy x
ps do you know of any good books

    Likes (0)

#2 Sun 30 Sep 12 11:00pm

The White Rabbit

Forum super champ
From Sydney, Australia
Member since Tue 22 Jun 04

Re: gluten free

Welcome Amy. There are a few of us on the forums who are gluten free or cook for gluten free members of our families. We've started and maintain a nice little thread that summarises pretty much everything gluten free ever mentioned on this forum along with lots of links and ideas.

We also have a gluten free cook book review thread

Jamie doesn't have a gluten free book but I find a lot of his recipes are gluten free already or can be modified with very little effort. I'd also suggest Tobie Puttock's recipe books as he has a gluten free note at the bottom of each recipe. That could help you learn ways of modifying recipes. You can always ask here too. Nigella Lawson's books are also fairly low on wheat ingredients and some of her more recent US editions actually have the gluten free recipes noted down.

Good luck. You're in for a lot of experimentation with products. Things to look forward to are expensive chocolate, rich cakes and fine dining (though perhaps less often than you'd like).

My thoughts on eating out:
It would be good to call the restaurant and ask them. I don't know much about Jamie's restaurants so they may not always use the same ingredients or exactly the same recipes. Bear in mind that often hospitality and restaurant staff are not very aware of gluten issues (or other food sensitivities and allergies). It doesn't always feature strongly in their education and when busy, people are not always as careful as they should be, even if they have good intentions. A pair of tongs used in a wheat pasta might easily be used in a gluten free one. So restaurants are always a risk for gluten contamination. After all there is only about 1% of us so as much as I'd like there aren't any great fully gluten free restaurants. There is another issue that I think colours the view of restaurant staff. Gluten free can be a trendy diet for some people and you sometimes get people not taking you very seriously. I think this is because they see some customers come in and make a huge fuss about gluten free and then eat something that contains wheat. Those people are jerks but not all staff will see that. They may just see a "difficult customer". I've worked in food service and despite my issue being very well known in that kitchen I once had to explain to the cook that a customer was not being difficult, she very likely genuinely had an issue (not with gluten, with onions) that we needed to deal with. The cook's attitude was that "she didn't call ahead so she's just being difficult and I'm too busy". We sorted it out and the customer was very happy.

A lot of restaurants won't advertise as gluten free because they are concerned  that if contamination occurs that they'll be blamed and it will look bad for them. Sometimes coeliac societies will have lists of restaurants that receive their information on how to handle gluten free ( … rants.html). This is still not risk free but it does often mean more knowledge.

I always call at least 3 days ahead even if I'm not the person who booked it. I've had someone assure me they've told a function centre only to turn up and they weren't (luckily that centre was well equipped to handle that kind of situation). I then often call the day ahead as well just to check. Normally I ask about what they do that I can have and talk to them about the ingredients and ask if there are any packet sauces etc. If in doubt I go for plain cooked meat and steamed vegetables. When I arrive I identify myself to the staff. If it's a function centre also to the wait staff who are working the table I'm on. This has still not stopped wafer biscuits ending up in desserts (and the rolled eyes when I sent it back) and entrees with pastry turning up in front of me. Always alert them as soon as possible. I find that a well run restaurant is very on top of getting you the right food first time. In fact some go well over the top because they feel bad that you can't have everything (I once found myself in front of a plate sized steak with a massive pile of roasted vegetables). I've never gone back to anywhere that can't handle it or the staff seemed uninterested. Certainly if I've had a bad feeling when on the phone to them I either don't go or eat before I leave so that I'm not starving when I get there. I tend to find the higher end of restaurant that make a lot from scratch are more reliable in terms of providing a gluten free meal - the food is generally better too.

Oh and just because somewhere advertises gluten free doesn't mean they can really do it. There has been a trend here for pizza places offering gluten free bases. Realistically you are going to get gluten contamination if they handle flour regardless of the toppings. And usually the same cutter will end up getting used in a busy period.

    Likes (0)

#3 Mon 11 Feb 13 8:21pm

Gravy Queen

Occupation Being Fabulous
From Liverpool
Member since Sun 10 Oct 04

Re: gluten free

The White Rabbit has written a really comprehensive reply so not much to add to that . Great advice .

I have eaten in Jamie's Italian and the staff were helpful when I explained about having coeliac disease . Many foods are naturally gluten free.

Regarding books, Phil Vickery has a gluten free cookery book, plus a baking book, also Darina Allen and Hannah Miles have books . Hannah Miles is a good one for gluten free bakes and cakes in particular .

    Likes (0)