Restaurant owners: train your staff in safe food preparation!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

So there's this salad place near work that I really like, and on the odd occasion I get take-out for lunch, that's my old stand-by. However, I decided to go and give Sushi Go a try and see what I could eat (incidentally, it seems Sushi Go is a chain restaurant of, obviously sushi, soups and loose leaf teas).

First of all, the place was JAMMED. I had to wait in a line that snaked around the room and began to feel that horrible sinking feeling that I would get to the cash after all that time only to realise there was nothing "safe". But as I made my way up, I noticed a red GF next to a number of the menu items posted on the wall. Could it BE? NAH, can't be!?!?! Yep- they actually name their gluten free products so they're easy to spot. Fantastic!! How excited was I at this point??

So I ordered a tom yum soup with edamame and queued up to wait for the dude to make it. I watched as he made the soup ahead of me, in the style of a lunch counter, kind of like a sub restaurant when certain foods are added from clear plastic bins inside a refrigerated counter. So, first off I noticed that there was only one set of tongs. Huh. Interesting. Then I watched him remove the lid from the udon noodles (wheat!!) and drip them through the rice noodles (which on the menu had the big GF on them) and then use the same tongs on all the veggie trays. When he began to make my food, I said "would you mind please washing the tongs and do you have a bin of rice noodles that have not been opened yet?" and he said "do you have an allergy?" and I said "yes. And when your menu says gluten free, people have the expectation that you're treating the items listed as such"[okay so I wasn't so eloquent, but he got the point...I stopped short of saying 'well DUH!']. He wasn't angry, but seemed frustrated. He did comply, but the whole scene was awash in cross contamination. I definitely lessened the chances of getting sick, but there was a good chance it still happened.

So please, restaurant owners: if you want to serve the gluten free folks out there (and there are many, so having a place to eat is AWESOME and profitable!) train your staff. Put the gluten free bins furthest away to make sure nothing is dripping on them, and just use a few sets of tongs. It's not hard. If in doubt, drop me a line- I'll help you. If it were peanuts, no one would bat an eye. They would get it. But because it's not death, but weeks of ill health a gluten intolerant person experiences, they don't treat the condition with the same respect. You say gluten free, we count on you to come through. Simple as that.


I Am Gluten Free said...

Succinct and to the point. Couldn't have said it better. Thanks, on behalf of all of us who must eat gluten free!

Kirsten said...

Hello! So weird because I was just combing your blog today. You've got some fantastic recipes- can't wait to have a try at some of them!!!
Thanks for stopping by. :)

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