I enjoy food shows like anyone. I really like watching the Ace of Cakes, Chopped and Top Chef. Clearly America has spoken. The Food Network alone has 50+ different shows it airs on cooking—whether it’s a reality show, contests or more of a basic how-to show. With all these shows you think there would be more love for gluten-free diets. So far not much, but I found a few things that shows we may not be completely off their radar.
Gluten-Free Debuts on big shows
Top Chef Examiner Christine Fu got some good information (ahead of time, which is nice), that Top Chef Masters will be working with a gluten-free diet when it airs its program on Bravo Wednesday night. Fu says the elimination challenge will focus on catering a dinner for a celebrity and her friends, “Miss [Zooey] Deschanel is apparently a quite difficult eater. Not only is she vegan, she is gluten intolerant and does not eat soy,” Fu writes. It will be fun to see what they come up with. Check your listings on Bravo for the time it will air in your hometown.
Of course this last spring The Apprentice had a gluten-free hit on its hands when Schwan’s picked a gluten-free pasta and meatball dish for its winning entrée. Luckily it’s still on Schwan’s list of items to buy. But you have to find it under pizza and pasta. If you search gluten-free nothing comes up (even though when you find the product it has a big gluten-free “sash” on there). This was really cool The Apprentice took on this market. It got some big play. I just wish I’d have known about it sooner so I could have watched the whole thing.
Gluten-Free Hits on Foodnetwork.com
So I decided to explore the Food Network’s website. Do they even have one mention of gluten-free anywhere? The answer is yes. While there are only a handful, there are a few gluten-free recipes on it’s website. This scalloped potato recipe by Dinner: Impossible host Robert Irvine, gives you suggestions on how you can convert the recipe and make it gluten-free.
Good Eats host Alton Brown also shared this gluten-free cookie recipe with his viewers, fans and readers.
Other gluten-free recipes appear to come from other folks. At least we know The Food Network talks about gluten-free issues on occasion. But certainly not enough.
Hoping for Coverage; Knowing Reality
In a perfect world, more of these contest shows would challenge chefs to be creative by dealing with allergen issues. Why shouldn’t they? According to foodallergy.org 12 million Americans have a food allergy – that’s one in 25 people. And we in the celiac community know that 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease who require a gluten-free diet, and thousands more people have varying levels of gluten sensitivities. So why wouldn’t the shows pay more attention to this? Is it because the content/segment would be too serious (food allergies and sensitivities are pretty serious topics)?
I have suggestions on how you could cover all kinds of groups—show people how to cook a dish and drive them to your website for suggestions on converting your recipe for food allergens and sensitivities. Another suggestion is to do a new show entirely on food sensitivities. Honestly, if you can make a show out of cake decorating…why not this?
So while there is some information out there on these food shows, it isn’t enough. Let’s hope someone out there with some influence reads this and takes note!