For the last few weeks I’ve talked on and off about navigating the holidays parties when you’re on a gluten-free diet. I promised I would talk to someone who organizes these types of events and I did. Now I have more insight for you – from the professionals.
Gluten-Free Diet Arrangements Not Too Rare
Sue Reimer is the Metromix, Human Resources & Community Relations Director at KARE-11, a Gannett-owned television station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She often schedules big events for the station. It turns out; you may not be the only one in the room who has a special diet. “We get requests for kosher, vegan, gluten-free, etc, with some regularity at large functions. Most hotels…and event planners are more than used to these types of requests.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s a relief to me. I haven’t really had to worry about this yet so I haven’t been sure what to expect. “We’ve even done peanut-free sections at [Minnesota] Twins games for groups with that request,” Reimer said. Cool.
Hints for Gluten-Free Success
There are some things Ms. Reimer pointed out though that should be taken into consideration when you make your accommodations. “As long as the request is made before the event, when they RSVP; it can be more difficult if the request is not made until someone is seated and being served.” Most of us know that in order to improve the chances of a successful gluten-free meal, timing is key. Being seated at the table and asking for a gluten-free meal is not good timing. However if you’ve requested a meal ahead of time, and you don’t get it, then you’ll need to speak up — whether everyone’s being fed at that time or not.
As for smaller meetings, Reimer said, “…a quick call to whomever is making the arrangements …can set this type of request in motion.” Just make sure you do it with enough advance warning. And if you want to keep your accommodation private she says it’s possible, “…no one else would really even know a special request had been made ahead of time,” Reimer added.”
Making gluten-free arrangements may not be a “piece of cake” as they say. But I think we should start our own celiac-version of this phrase. Making these arrangements could be “a piece of gluten-free cake”: more difficult to make but always worth the effort.
To read more about gluten-free events and work lunches you can read my previous posts on the topic: Work Lunches and Parties: Orchestrate your Gluten-Free Options , Celiac-Friendly Work Lunches and Events , New Suggestions for the Holiday Potluck or Work Gathering.