Friday, October 21, 2011

Gluten-free training.

I just thought of a GENIUS idea, and I am so excited about it. My idea is towards the end of the post, this first part is a little background story...

I can't even tell you how many times I have gone to a restaurant that advertises their food as being gluten free, asked them a few questions about there products, and the person working there has NO idea what I'm talking about. They think gluten is sugar or dairy or something and hey, that's cool with me because I didn't know what the hell gluten was until I was gluten-free myself, BUT if they advertise gluten free products, the employee should know a little bit about what gluten-free even means.

Tonight I was eating at a local pizzeria in town that is new to selling gluten free crust. I asked the guy at the front if he knew if their ranch was gluten free. (Do you know how long it's been since I've dipped greasy pepperoni pizza into ranch? THREE YEARS.) He didn't know, so he asked another girl. She didn't know, so she asked her manager. After a few minutes, she came back to tell me that the ranch was not gluten-free because it has mayonaise. I feel so horrible because the look on my face must have said, 'Uhh....are you stupid?' because why in the world would mayo have gluten?

I kindly told her that mayo shouldn't have gluten, and with a very serious face she asked me if I was sure. I sweetly laughed as I told her I was 100% sure, that I've eaten it hundreds of times. Then I said, 'I'm gluten free...maybe you thought I meant vegan?' All the while, the monologue in my head was saying, Even if I was vegan and couldn't have the mayo, I couldn't have the ranch anyway with all that MILK it's made up of! Dur!

She again questioned me, 'Are you sure though? Because my manager says it does. But if you say it doesn't, then you should be good to eat it.' Ha! I wish I could tell her what happens when I'm not so sure about something.

So on my walk home, after deciding not to go with the ranch, my brilliant idea came to me: I will write a letter to the businesses in town that offer gluten free options and volunteer myself to speak at an employee meeting to explain what gluten is and what it means to have celiac disease/be gluten intolerant. I will tell them where hidden gluten is, how they can avoid some cross-contamination, and what gluten does to a person who shouldn't have it, among other things.

I of course would be extremely happy to do it for free because it's MY body that will benefit from it, but hey, if the business throws a few freebies my way? I won't decline. I would think businesses could benefit so much from it because it's really not a hard thing to understand when it's explained properly; most people just don't know about it or have heard false information. It's also never a fun thing to look 'stupid' in front of your customer!

It was great because as I was about to leave, and after explaining to the guy what gluten is, he asked me if I wanted peppers or parmesan cheese. I said yes to both and he asked me, 'Just so I know for the future, peppers and parmesan are usually gluten free, right?' I wanted to jump and give him a high five and say, 'Yes, I'm so glad you want to learn what is and isn't gluten-free! SMART MAN.'

So here's my questions to you: Have any of you worked in a restaurant and gluten-free questions came up? Do you feel if you were an employee this kind of brief training would interest you? What kind of things would you like brought up in the training?


  1. Steffani-

    I work at 1899 and we have quite a few gluten-free items on our menu, but no one has ever taken the time to explain what it means to the employees, so I feel like that stupid person whenever someone asks me about it.  I would love for something like this to happen!  I really think it's a great idea :]

  2. Hahahahahahahahahaha!  I just had to laugh about the mayo being the "questionable" substance in the ranch.  Maybe next time just bring your own?

    Also, I think that you're awesome being pro-active about getting the word out in your community.

  3. Yes, I LOVE this idea! Sheesh, maybe I'll do it in Prescott if you get good results! You'll have to keep me/us posted. =]

  4. I can't say much as I myself don't even no for sure what 100% gluten free means but I do know a friend of mines friend just found out her daughter was allergic and could no longer have gluten! :( I'd love to learn more and I think you have come up with an amazing idea!