Want to get the celiac or gluten free community riled up?  I think we now know how.

A vile Facebook entry earlier this month by self-proclaimed “chef” Damian Cardone in Colorado did just that when he said “gluten free is bulls*#t”  and he would serve “high-gluten flour” pasta to anyone who ordered gluten-free.  While the entry had been up for a few days, it really didn’t hit the blog-o-sphere until early this week and culminated in pure outrage by Wednesday, March 30th. And the Facebook post has since been pulled down.

See the print screen of the Facebook Status from The Celiac Handbook

Twitter was packed with comments about #DamianCardone who recently left the restaurant Florindos in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  Folks are understandably angered.  Such public comments like that from an apparent chef– who we count on to bring us safe gluten-free food when requested– does nothing but hurt our cause to raise awareness.

But the haters don’t stop there.

Just on Sunday The Savvy Celiac received this angry comment about a restaurant post from a few months ago.

“Screw you, the restaurant has no obligation to bend over backwards for you.  Do society a favor and don’t eat out anymore, anywhere!!”– Anonymous blog comment

Sounds as vile as Cardone’s post.  All we know about that comment is that it came from an IP address in the Columbus, Ohio area.

Hating the Gluten Free Movement

But what purpose do these “haters” serve?  I am using the word Hater– even though I don’t really use it in day-to-day speech– because I really feel that all they’re trying to do is needlessly put a pothole in the road to greater celiac awareness.

I looked up the word Hater and found a few places that actually defined it as an acronym: Having Anger To Everyone Receiving Success.   Not sure if this is actually where the term came from but let’s just go with it for a little bit. Are Cardone and the other commentor jealous of our success in creating a reliable community that helps each other out on Facebook and Twitter?  Or are they frustrated with a community that is gaining strength in numbers and as a result is creating significant change in restaurants?

Or do these two people really just hate us and the “inconvenience” they think we cause at restaurants?

We’re all for free speech, but what does this nonsensical angry speech do for ANYONE? My best guess right now is that it’s not just about us…that they hate a lot more than the celiac community and decided to let loose on us, just like they probably do with anyone and everyone else.   Is it necessary?  No!  It accomplishes nothing other than causing hurt feelings and fueling angry rhetoric.

I can tell you none of us wants to be a pain or raise a stink about our health issue.  But we do what we need to so we don’t have to worry about whether the next 24-48 hours will be spent vomiting, with diarrhea, a migraine and more. Want to tell us something constructive?  We’ll take it. We want to help restaurants, schools, families grow with us– in an educated way.

I hope this is just a well-publicized hiccup  (which has the potential to turn into a gluten free awareness advantage) in the quest to get restaurants on board with serving safe gluten free foods.

Other notes: A tv news piece tracked the issue Wednesday (although they could have used a gluten-free person for the more human element). With the owner saying all gluten-free orders went through him, so Cardone couldn’t have done what he claimed in his Facebook status.  A different report had a quote from the owner saying Cardone was a part time server and not a chef.

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10 Responses to ““Chef’s” Gluten Free Rant– Why Be a Hater?”

  1. I hope if he ever tries to get a job again, they “google” him. He shouldn’t be allowed to cook for people again.
    This is just a terrifying prospect.

  2. I totally agree with the idea that the origin of the hate really has nothing to do with us! There seems to be a growing number of hate mongers with time on their hands to hit the internet waves posting uneducated hurtful comments on what ever their self proclaimed issue of the day happens to be in that moment in time. The Minnesota Nurses Association was the target last summer. They move around in clusters bashing just about anything that comes their way. I takes a great deal of character and focus to ignore their comments, especially when they come directly to you. Anyone who has time to post the kind of comment you received can only be chalked up to an unhappy, shallow individual who doesn’t have much to do. I don’t mind constructive argument and debate but I don’t have time for this kind of petty exchange that adds nothing helpful to the dialog or the cause.

  3. While I agree with the poster that restaurants have no obligation to bend over backwards for me,I believe the restaurant that Mr. Cardone worked for had a gluten free menu, which means that they committed to doing it.

    As celiacs we vote with our money. A restaurant is a business, if they want my business, and that of those that eat with me, they will be accommodating. If they don’t want my business they will be unaccommodating and I will take it elsewhere. There are restaurants in my town that I will not eat at for this very reason.

    However when a restaurant has a gf menu and commits to serving people who need this accommodation, they run a legal risk if they poison us.

    However we do need to keep in mind as a community that the gluten free diet is currently getting a lot of press as a “weight loss” movement and there are a lot of people asking for gf that don’t “need” it but just want it. They should not be denied, but do create a situation where the waters are muddied.

    I am happy that their participation is getting more products on the market for me, but not happy with the inconsistencies they create.

    H.

  4. All good points.
    H. — I completely agree with your stance– if restaurants are going to do gluten free, now you’re obligated to do it right.
    If you’re not going to do a gluten-free option…fine. I don’t believe that gave the commentor a right to be so rude on my blog saying “screw you” and to never tell me to go out to eat again. Constructive criticism is always welcome. I publish all comments except spam and this particular comment that had no value whatsoever.
    I brought this comment out of my Trash Bin, because it went with my topic today.
    And Finally I agree that the “fad diet” gluten free community is muddying the waters a bit for chefs. If they just pick croutons off their salad and move on, it confuses matters for those of us who can’t have croutons on our salad to begin with.
    Thank you again!
    Amy

  5. As the leader of the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group, I have met many people that are simply too afraid to eat outside of their homes. I think the anger projected at Damian Cardone yesterday comes from this fear and is, in a way, justified. Dining out at a restaurant either as a veteran Celiac or a newbie takes an enormous amount of trust in the establishment, wait staff, and kitchen staff. As you order your meal, you are basically putting your health in to the hands of someone else. You are no longer in control of your food as you would be in your own home. It is this breach of trust that Damian Cardone so crassly and blatantly exposed in his Facebook posting; hence the hatred. I do agree that

  6. Wheat Free by Need
    March 31st, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Let us not forget that ALL restaurants work FOR the patrons who frequent them. Would you tell your boss he or she was a pain or an inconvenience if asked to do a specific (legal and moral) task, even if you did not want to do it or see the need? No — you do it because it is YOUR JOB to do it.

    Want to fire your server or chef? Don’t eat there.

    Simply take your money to another place where you will be served safe good food with respect. There are plenty of restaurants out there in that category and plenty of resturant owners and managers eager to scoop in the business that the jerks throw away!

  7. Great points. We do vote with our wallets at these restaurants, but many times, things are so impersonal that many restaurants don’t even realize that there is a portion of society that “won’t return to their restaurant” because they were sickened eating there. Sometimes, a negative review or a call into the manager might be warranted. But being “haters” in response won’t solve the problem either (we can’t yell at them and be otherwise demanding and rotten) – there is unfortunately often some person working in a restaurant that doesn’t “get it” – and if the customer irritates them, they do those things we fear – spit in our food, or in this crazy case, feed us gluten and then rant about it on Facebook. I sincerely hope that those people are the minority, and I’m sure they are. But those of us that truly have need for a gluten-free diet (or any other food allergy issues) need to be firm and strong, but kind, when expressing our needs. And when we receive safe, good food and restaurants DO bend over backwards to help us, we vote with our wallets. Tip generously. Thank the staff. Thank the manager/owner! Return to visit again. Blog about them. Send positive reviews via yelp and any other avenue you can. Sing their praises. We can’t be silent about this issue (and obviously, with this latest rant, we aren’t), but we also must communicate with professionalism and courtesy in order to make positive, respected change.

  8. It always amazes me when people complain about doing THEIR JOB! It is the job of a chef/cook to prepare food (no matter the spec)! If they don’t like doing that, they should find another occupation. I’m glad this yahoo got so much bad press!

  9. He sounds more like a disgruntled employee than anything else. How unfortunate for him. I hope the restaurant is able to keep this from being a PR nightmare for their restaurant. It could also discourage other eateries to think twice about a gluten free menu. 🙁

  10. I agree with everything that Erin said. I was disgusted by what was said on facebook, whoever in fact said it, but I was also so pleased with the press it got & the uproar that resulted. We’re here, We’re Gluten-free, Get Used To Us. Things are going to keep changing, overall for the better.

    Warm regards,
    Nicole

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