After I read this article from the Gluten-free School, it really got me mad!
Really, really mad!
I was so mad because I understand what the author was talking about. I was in her shoes many times while attempting to dine out in the Chicagoland area including the city of Chicago. Many restaurants will NEVER get my business because they are just simply not safe to dine at because they do not cater gluten-free patrons. There are some really awesome places that I would love to dine at, but simply cannot for this reason.
I am not just talking about restaurants that are "gluten-free friendly." Thanks for your effort, but I will take a pass on your establishments as well. My nervous and GI systems do not want to take the risk of being cross-contaminated with something from within the kitchen. It is not worth my time to spend it recovering after a restaurant served me something that was cross-contaminated with gluten or wheat.
Hell f***ing NO!
I understand that it is difficult to maintain a kitchen that meets the gluten-free cooking standards. There are always risks. At the same time, if I was a restaurant owner, I would make the effort to meet requirements provided by the FDA and as well as meets the needs of the customer. I would not want to lose any potential business just by not making the effort. It is just not ethical.
There are some excellent example of restaurants that have been doing well offering 100% gluten-free menu and provided gluten-free education to their staff. On example is P.F. Chang's, which has a very awesome menu that is 100% gluten-free. Many of their regular menu items are already gluten-free, but they have adjusted the others making sure that they are safe for those with extreme gluten or wheat sensitivities. I love going there because I know that I am 100% safe. I never have to worry about getting sick by eating something that was on their gluten-free menu.
People with Celiac Disease and other non-celiac gluten sensitivities want to feel safe when they are dining out with their friends or family. This is all we ask for. Food allergies can potentially be a life or death situation for some people. Some people with gluten sensitivities can potentially die if they are served something with gluten or wheat in it. If you cannot provide a safe food preparation for people with food allergies, be advise the customer to not dine at your place of establishment.
I thank you for your time and hope you will consider making dining more safe for people who need to go gluten-free not by choice, but by necessity.