AMBLER, Pa., Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The demand for gluten-free options in restaurants, college dining halls and other foodservice establishments has never been higher. More than 30 percent of Americans are avoiding or eliminating gluten from their diet, and in 2012 alone, an estimated 200 million gluten-free meals were requested in restaurants across the country. Yet, many foodservice providers remain unprepared and uneducated on how to provide gluten-free food that is safe for consumers with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
To elevate the importance of food safety within the restaurant and foodservice sector and ensure that all gluten-free restaurant-goers have access to gluten-free menu items, GREAT Kitchens ™, a National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) educational initiative, has paired with nationally recognized executive chef and restaurateur, Chef Jehangir Mehta to launch the GREAT Kitchens ™ Gluten-Free Chef's Table Tour. The tour will feature exclusive gluten-free dining experiences from executive chefs in fine dining restaurants, gluten-free cooking demonstrations with local media and interactive educational experiences at partner universities.
"While some diners opt for gluten-free meals as a healthy lifestyle preference, those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity seek gluten-free meals out of medical necessity," says Alice Bast, president of NFCA. "Through the GREAT Kitchens™ Gluten-Free Chef's Table Tour, we are going right to the source, the chef, who is the most influential person in the foodservice industry. These acclaimed and respected personalities can be our biggest champions of gluten-free safety inside their restaurants, their markets and the industry as a whole."
Making Restaurant and University Foodservice GREAT
As host of the Gluten-Free Chef's Table Tour, GREAT Kitchens ™ prepares restaurants, caterers and universities to meet the needs of gluten-free diners through its web-based, multimedia program. The GREAT Kitchens ™ gluten-free training course teaches foodservice providers front- and back-of-house skills and strategies such as how to check ingredient labels for gluten, how to avoid cross-contact with gluten-containing foods and how to respond to mistakes.
The GREAT Kitchens ™ 10-city Gluten-Free Chef's Table Tour debuts this fall in New York, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles with the full fall tour schedule below. The Chef's Table Tour will culminate in the spring. An open call for spring tour restaurants and institutions runs through January 2014.
Restaurant participants will join the ranks of nearly 1,000 other GREAT Kitchens ™ learners and can earn accreditation from the American Culinary Federation for six continuing education hours. Follow NFCA's Gluten-Free Chef's Table Tour and join in the gluten-free conversation on Twitter through @CeliacAwareness and @jehangir_mehta or by tweeting #GFChefsTable or #GREATKitchens.
- October 22-23, 2013 – New York, N.Y.
- October 28-30, 2013 – Portland, Ore.
- October 31 – November 1, 2013 – Seattle, Wash.
- November 11-12, 2013 – San Francisco, Calif.
- November 13-14, 2013 – Los Angeles, Calif.
"One of my core beliefs as a chef is that your health and your diet are inextricably tied," says Chef Jehangir Mehta, NFCA chef ambassador and executive chef and owner of New York restaurants Graffiti and Mehtaphor. "With proper training, it's possible for all foodservice institutions to provide an elevated dining experience while also accommodating people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or other dietary restrictions."
SOURCE National Foundation for Celiac Awareness