Many chefs now have an understanding of the gluten free diet, and are happy to meet the challenge of producing a safe and appetizing meal.
You may be lucky enough to find certain items marked on the menu as gluten free. This certainly takes the guesswork out of deciding whether something is safe to eat.
However, if the restaurant you visit does not do this, and instead gives its selections fancy French names, how are you going to have any idea what ingredients are in them? This is where my gluten free restaurant guide comes in useful. I have given the French name along with a description of whether it is likely to be gluten free or not.
If you are at all unsure, ask!
Ask the person who brings you the menu what they would recommend for someone on a gluten free diet. They may be able to point out meals that are safe for you to eat.
If they are not sure, explain what you cannot eat and ask if a particular choice contains those ingredients.
If you are not confident in their reply, ask if you could talk to the chef. Depending on the restaurant, the chef may come to the table to assist you. If you are still unsure, you may wish to choose a different eating place!
Check out my Gluten Free Eating Out page for other options.
As a child, gluten free restaurants only existed in my imagination. Back in the 1960s and 70s hardly anyone had heard of celiac disease, let alone knew how to feed someone who had it!
The ingredients for gluten free cooking were almost impossible to get hold of, and certainly not something that a restaurant would keep in stock.
Eating out with my family was a nightmare. My parents would try to explain what I could and couldn't eat to chefs that had never heard of a gluten free diet, but you could see they were not taken seriously.
It was embarrassing, and got even worse when the meal they did bring me had to go back. There was often a slice of bread on the plate or croutons scattered on my salad. I can remember everyone else tucking in, while I sat waiting for something boring to be brought out for the picky kid on the table in the corner.
Thank goodness it is easier now! You shouldn't have to experience this.