Often we spend time complaining or discussing the troubles we celiacs have in getting gluten-free accommodations.Sometimes it seems as though we are too much trouble for people whose job it is to feed others (examples: retail, wholesale, catering, restaurants).I have a success story for you.

My grandma recently passed away and yesterday was her funeral.After the funeral we moved to the multi-purpose room of the Benedictine Health Center in Duluth, Minnesota for a meal.Now granted, my parents paid for this meal, but they were able to get great gluten-free accommodations for this sandwich-style buffet.

Arranging the Gluten-Free Menu

When my parents met with the organizers, they had every intention of asking for gluten-free options for our three celiacs.I had warned them not to get their hopes up and to be skeptical of any “accommodations” they thought they could provide.Instead what my parents had with the St. Scholastica Monastery Food Service was a meaningful conversation about the diet and how much it has already learned about it and the gluten-free food options it could provide.

They discussed sandwiches (meat, cheese, spreads), potato salad, and cantaloupe for the celiacs in our family.They would go out and purchase gluten-free bread to accommodate the “sandwich” part of the meal.They promised as well, that those with this special dietary need would be allowed to go through the line first to avoid cross-contamination.

Pulling Off the Celiac-Friendly Event

Once we were there the food looked great!One organizer even noticed my non-celiac daughter take a regular roll and a plate (before anyone went through the line), contaminate the plate, and then put it back.The organizer, Marianne Snyder, removed the plate for safe-keeping.My mom provided some chips and I provided gluten –free cookies and we were off!

My family members loaded up their plates (to avoid seconds) and said it was a great meal with no worries.The monestary food service hopes to expand its catering business and I say for this purpose, it was perfect and well-thought-through.The only suggestion I would have for the food service group about gluten-free foods: investigate a different GF bread for the sandwiches.I am quite confident they purchased EnerG bread. EnerG has many high-quality products, but there are many types of bread out there that taste much better than this brand (hint, EnerG, it’s time to reformulate).One place to check is the Duluth Grill for its buckwheat banana bread which my brother says is fantastic!

Thank you to workers at the St. Scholastica Monastery Food Service for the menu that only comes with an understanding of the diet and a passion to do it right.I love to tell a gluten-free success story and this is one!

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One Response to “A Gluten-Free Success Story: Event Caterer Understands Celiac!”

  1. HI Amy,
    This truly is a success story! I imagine your grandmother smiling down from the other side watching the celiacs in the family eat good food with the family without worries about cross contamination. I hope her guilt is long gone. It is encouraging how many food establishments are “getting with the program”. It’s slow in coming but it’s coming.

    Thanks for your post,
    sharon a. kane

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