Sheri’s Rants #63: Gluten Free Abusers

Posted on August 5, 2016 by


thDavid and I are in a high end restaurant.  The server approaches and David says – “We don’t eat wheat, corn, any grain or dairy.  Can you guide us with the menu?”  The server gets flustered.  She heads off to the kitchen for advice, and comes back irritated.  “So, basically, you want a leaf of lettuce?  All we have without grain is meat and some salads with meat.”  What she heard is that we are vegetarians that don’t eat grain and dairy.  “Meat and salad?” David asks.  “That’s it.  That is what we want.”  The meal was easily worked out from there, however the server kept up the attitude.  What David and I reflected on is that we live in a culture where diners with special needs can affect the treatment of those that come after them.  It became clear that our server had been subjected to GLUTEN FREE ABUSERS:

A owner of a popular high end restaurant once shared with me th-1that when someone enters his restaurant and asks for ‘gluten free’, the kitchen staff starts taking bets on whether that person will order and eat clearly wheat based dessert.  This happens, he said, about 98% of the time.  As a result the chef rarely will take real consideration with the ingredients of the meal.   Gluten-free Abusers also burn out the floor staff, who often knock themselves out in communicating with the kitchen to meet the diner’s needs.

I understand that it can be difficult to find a restaurant that caters to our specific needs, but it is how we deal with that challenge that will affect the outcome. On the bright side, the food awareness in this country is rising fast. Most restaurants have menus that will offer an easy option, in most cases we just need to make minor adjustments and not cause stress or irritation.  “I will have the garden salad, just vegetables, with grilled chicken.  No dressing, thank you.”

Choose a restaurant that has some options that are very close to what you want, if not a perfect fit.  Work with what is already on the menu.  Your server does not need nor can respond to your health history, current diet challenges, or lectures!!

If the menu SAYS it honors special requests then request away and make those requests easy on the server, who is your ambassador to the kitchen!  If the menu does NOT state this, then please use a great deal of grace, common sense, and courtesy. 


Posted in: Sheri's Rants