Gluten Free is not new, but boy has it arrived!
2 months AGOIain Fenwick
There are many opinions on the pros and cons of a GF diet, but one thing is for certain, it is here to stay so get used to it! In fact, the restaurant scene in Scotland is noticeably embracing it, so whether it is a fad or not, choice is no longer a problem. 2 years ago we were discussing Paleo, last year it was superfoods, but who is really still eating acai berries and cauliflower rice?
The difference with gluten, is that there is a genuine intolerance and so for some, it is absolutely necessary to find alternative foods. A gluten free diet though, is not just about avoiding traditional cereals, pasta, pizza, and beer, yes, beer(!), you will also find gluten in many other products, from frozen vegetables to sauces, even some medications contain gluten! This presents a challenge to those seeking out the right foods, and makes dining out an even bigger challenge!
It is important to note that nowadays, it does not have to be a compromise. Look at vegetarian options on today’s menus? Gone are the standard mac and cheese and veggie burger, it could be said that even the most ardent carnivores are enjoying a vegetarian main course in restaurants all around the country. Chefs have their creative juices gushing, and inspired vegetarian options are arguably some of the tastiest dishes on the menu! So why shouldn’t the courtesy (gf) be replaced by a stand-alone Gluten Free menu! One restaurant in Glasgow has already set the standard. The Red Onion leads the way, with chef John Quigley offering Gluten Free Pre-Theatre and Gluten Free A La Carte menus, with dishes such as ‘Seared Shetland squid with Nuoc Cham Dressing’ and ‘Braised blade of beef with maple glazed heritage carrot, smoked shallot puree, kale, red onion pickles and champ potatoes.’ Yes, these are Gluten Free everyone! Who knew that Gluten Free doesn’t have to restrict you to a fruit salad and a chicken with no sauce and gluten free rice!
Food trend or fad, the argument will not go away soon. The lack of knowledge is what is holding us back. Launching later this year in Scotland, is a business that will only offer a Gluten Free menu, however, will not be advertising themselves as GF Only! Why? Because they believe that this will put people off! Not because what they offer isn’t incredibly tasty food, but because of the lack of understanding about what GF means!
It is time to reach out of the unknown, understand more about what it means to be Gluten Free and what is available to us! The gluten-free market is forecast to grow to £561 million this year and that means chefs are obliged to take notice. So, do not be scared to eat out, be safe in the knowledge that the restaurant scene in Scotland does cater for you. There ARE delicious dishes available to you, and the chefs DO care about what is important to you. Get out there and enjoy!
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