Hot Topic: Gluten-Free Catering
Dietary needs, gluten allergies and other food sensitivities are at the forefront of discussion lately which means tackling the topic as part of your wedding planning process may be necessary. While you may not be able to always cater to everyone, there are certain things you can do if you are looking to meet the dietary/allergy needs of your guests.
We recently spoke with Bobbie of JCB’s Culinary Creations, a gluten-free team of experts in establishing foodservice preparation guidelines for delivering gluten-free menu options. Their professional team is comprised of healthcare, culinary and nutritional experts offering multi-disciplinary approach that successfully aligns foodservice with dietary needs.
We asked Bobbie a series of questions that we thought would help us to better understand catering to gluten-free diets as well as other allergies when it comes to planning an event.
How (or why) did you get involved with gluten-free catering?
I graduated from The Culinary Institute of America and as a chef, my focus has always been on farm to table cuisine. Nine years ago, I started following a gluten-free diet after being diagnosed with celiac disease. It was then I discovered the need for a team of culinary professionals that truly understand all that is involved with creating menu selections for those not only with gluten intolerances but with other food allergies and special dietary needs.
What types of services do you offer?
JCB’s Culinary Creations provides consulting services as well as full event catering. We have expertise in working with all food allergies and dietary restrictions. Our menus are personally crafted for every client’s vision. If someone has chosen the perfect venue but is not comfortable with the food allergy protocols, we will work with the staff from start to finish covering every detail. This includes ingredient sourcing to make sure all aspects are safe for the clients and their guests to enjoy. We will also be present the day of the event, to coordinate a care-free celebration. Our services also include web and phone-based consultations.
What types of events do you cater?
We cater all types of events! JCB also has a line of artisan custom designed favors and miniatures which we incorporate in our candy buffet and dessert bars.
Our chocolates and desserts can be made for those with special dietary requests and shipped anywhere as well.
When planning an event, do you feel that event hosts should be mindful of the dietary needs of their guests? And if so, how do you recommend they go about it?
Food is the focal point, in most celebrations. Sadly, event guests with food allergies and dietary intolerances often feel anxious! They are usually not given the opportunity to evaluate the policies and procedures on how the venue serves this attendee, leaving the guest wondering if their meal has been prepared in the safest manner.
It is absolutely imperative that communication regarding guests with dietary restrictions starts well before the event takes place. This gives all involved the opportunity to provide safe alternatives.
Ask questions about protocols, not just for meal service but purchasing and preparation of ingredients. These must be free of cross contact (due to cross-contamination) as well. Quite often the staff at a venue believes that they can safely serve guests with food allergies/specific dietary needs when in fact, they do not have all the components in place to do so.
When in doubt, hire a consultant with expertise in this area to insure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time.
What are some gluten-free meal offerings at events?
There are many items served already being served that are in fact gluten-free. The problems arise when cross contact occurs that can turn a safe food into an unsafe option. For example, serving a crudité that was prepared on a cutting board that was also used to slice bread.
It only takes a few crumbs to make someone with celiac disease feel unwell!
Thank you Bobbie! For more information about JCB Culinary Creations, click here.