When eating out, I always the quiz the establishment to make me feel comfortable eating there and to try to grasp if they have a good understanding of coeliac disease and all about cross contamination. I always phone up first to ensure I feel comfortable and to ensure the business does gluten free food on that night as sometimes they only do certain days. When booking to eat, I also try to not book on busy days such as a Saturday as I think they will have more time to ensure no cross contamination occurs. Here is a photo of one of my favourite places to eat out, Mrs T Potts in Moreton-in-Marsh (soon to be known as Cotswold tea room), they're very good at managing cross contamination (they're actually looking for staff at the moment if anybody is interested), you can read my full post on them here!
Some of my favourite questions to ask are:
Is it suitable for a coeliac?
You'll be surprised to realise the number of establishments where the food is labelled gluten free but isn't actually suitable for us! It is ridiculous and how they can call it gluten free, I do not know but it is always worth checking
What procedures have you got in place to minimise cross contamination?
This is a big decider for me! I find some places just have no understanding what so ever with cross contamination and this just makes them a big no no for me! If it's cross contaminated, it's not gluten free!
Are your chips (and gluten free fried products) fried in a separate frier to the gluten food?
A massive misconception is that gluten is killed in the fryer because it gets hot, if this was true, what would be the point of eating gluten free food if when it was cooked it got killed?! Oh, how I wish that was true but unfortunately it is not. Don't be tricked out of this one. If an establishment doesn't understand this, please do try and educate as we don't want them making this mistake again.
Is the toast toasted in a separate toaster?
This is another big issue. We all jump around in celebration that we can eat toast, but oh no, it's ruined when we realise it is cross contaminated in the toaster.
Can I have a drink not from the bars taps?
I haven't seen that many people are aware of this, but the taps on bars have several settings where different drinks can come out of them. Yes, that means no gluten containing ingredients drinks and the dreaded gluten containing drinks are coming out of the same taps and glutening your previously safe drink!
Is it alright if I take a photo of my meal and and post about my experience on social media?
I have never asked to take a photo of my food, I always just snap away but I realised when planning this post that maybe if you ask in advance, you maybe able to establish how confident the establishment is with their gluten free food, I'm going to try this next time I eat out somewhere new.
What are your favourite questions to ask when eating out? Do they work? See you tomorrow for another post to celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week!