Let's Talk About (Gluten) Intolerance: An Interview With Chef Marc Vetri

gluten intolerance

My Facebook and Twitter feeds were all abuzz last week and we all know what that means. More dang controversy in the gluten-free world.

What people were sending me was an article on Huffington Post titled “I’m Gluten Intolerant…Intolerant“. I figured it was just another hack article meant to draw traffic like so many others on Huff Post these days.

I figured wrong.

The article was written by Marc Vetri, a chef. But not just a random chef. He is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s Vetri Family of Restaurants, which operates a collection of the country’s most critically acclaimed Italian restaurants. He is a member of Food & Wine magazine’s 1999 “Best New Chefs” class and the 2005 winner of the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

In other words, he’s not working the deep fryer at your local Applebees.

And when he speaks, the industry listens. And boy did he speak.

Take a moment and read his article and then come on back. Only read the comments if your feeling brave and you have no sharp objects nearby.

Here…listen to some acoustic Bruce while reading the article to help soothe your soul.

Ok…welcome back.

I know a lot of people are pissed about the article. Personally, I like hearing from the other side. I did a post from a chef in 2012 and totally get it.

So after the article came out and the storm was brewing, I reached out to Marc on Twitter asking if he’d grant me an interview to share his side of the story. I figured it was a long shot. He got back to me immediately. He was totally game.

The purpose of my interview was not to badger him. It was to try to dig a little deeper into his message and see if he could clarify some things.

Look…did I like the headline of the Huff Post piece? I did not.

Did I think he was too rough and condescending at times? I did.

Do I understand where he’s coming from? To a point, I do.

Ok…enough of this way too long intro. Bring on the questions!!

GD: First question is of the utmost importance. I’ve been desperately trying to learn to play the guitar for years and lack of time and frustration of not getting better is keeping me from moving forward. I see you are an avid player. You have any tips to someone who can’t get to the level beyond sucking?

MV: Ha, sorry…just like anything else…practice, practice, practice. You’re gonna go through hills and valleys. Just gotta keep picking away!

GD: Can you give me a brief story of how you went from Marc Vetri the person to Marc Vetri renowned chef?

MV: Honestly I can’t. I’m just Marc the person. I don’t see it any other way.

GD: You say that “if you need to explain Celiac disease to the restaurant…get up and leave. It’s not a good restaurant and you’ll probably have other issues there.” How do you train your staff to deal with a celiac eating at your restaurant as far as what’s safe, how to handle cross-contamination, etc.? What system do you have in place to make sure the meal is completely safe?

MV: I truly believe that if you walk into a restaurant these days and they don’t know what Celiac is…there is something wrong with the organization. They have certainly not trained their staff well and if you are in fact Celiac there is a risk of having something contaminated. As for us, we talk about it all the time, we put big colored marks on tickets with allergies and we have so many markers that the dish has to go through before it hits the table to insure its right.

Brad Spence from Amis was even the Iron Chef champion of the Celiac awareness fundraiser here in Philadelphia three years in a row. We take this stuff very seriously!

GD: Ok…let’s talk about your Huffington Post piece. You have to understand that “gluten-free” has gotten bashed in the media lately and the celiac/gluten-intolerant community has gotten defensive because of it. Based on the reaction on Facebook and Twitter, it seems many of those with gluten intolerance were pretty pissed at your post. For the record, do you want to clarify your point of view for those who perhaps misunderstood you or just saw the headline and reacted? Or maybe they were not misunderstood…you tell me.

MV: Well, I don’t really believe that’s entirely true. First, probably 95% of people were positive about my post. It’s up to almost 20K likes on the huff page, and 3K shares. I got numerous emails about it and twitter was almost all positive. It may seem like there was a lot of backlash because by in large, people who write comments are writing something contrary to the article, people who like it will just press the “like ” button. It was a very positive response!

I chose that headline specifically to draw people in to read it. I also thought that many would not read it because of the headline. But once you read it, if you think that I’m anti-celiac or anti gluten-free diet, you’re way off base. I even mentioned in the article how easy it is to cook gluten free. The fact is that many chefs don’t think of a specific kind of food like vegetarian or gluten free. We just cook good food. What I mean is…I make many dishes from vegetables, but I don’t think of it as if I have to make something for the vegetarians who come in the restaurant. We have pescatarians, vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, nut allergies, shellfish allergies, kosher eating and more. To us…its really all just cooking food, its really not as much as effort as people seem to thing. It’s actually no effort at all..its fun creating! Nothing bothers me more when someone doesn’t eat the whole dish and I find out later that they usually don’t eat something I served them but they didn’t want to make a fuss about it because the rest of the table ate everything. Make a fuss!!! Please tell me! I want to cook for you and make you happy.

GD: I’m not a fan of the gluten-free trend. I don’t need 10 different types of mostly crappy gluten-free bread to choose from. What I need is for my autoimmune disease to be given the respect it deserves and I think the trend takes away from that. I know many people do gluten-free half-ass for all the wrong reasons and it makes it more difficult for us to be taken seriously, especially when eating out. Talk about the trend from your point of view. You have people coming in who MUST be 100% gluten-free and then you have the posers. Is this frustrating as a chef and restaurant owner and how do you handle it?

MV: I wouldn’t say its frustrating…just interesting. In that article I wasn’t so much frustrated with the woman than I was simply interested in the fact that she didn’t know certain things about what she claimed to be. This IS the problem! I use the restaurant almost as a metaphor to bring a much bigger issue to the discussion arena…we are a nation that is getting unhealthier by the decade and we’re all looking for a quick fix that doesn’t exist. So we’re talking on things like whole grains, finding a loophole where maybe eaten in a certain way it spikes Glycemic index and then jumping on the bandwagon of another serious disease like Celiac.

It starts there and goes into our everyday life. It’s in our lunchrooms at school, it’s in our quick grab and go eating trend, its about our decision to have a quick dinner instead of sitting as a family at dinner table and have a meal together. It’s in our lack of actual cooking at home. And “IT” is making us a much less healthy society physically and mentally.

GD: You state in your HP post that “Nowadays everyone is seemingly allergic to something.” I mean no disrespect in this, but at the end of the day, isn’t your job to deliver what your customer is asking for and not question them on what they are eating and why?

MV: Not at all…my job is to make people feel at home when they come to my restaurants. My job is to push the boundaries that are there and create new exciting things for people to experience in the restaurant. My job is to highlight Italy and its regions and respect the cuisine while at the same time moving it forward. My job is to run a successful business, create jobs, nurture my staff, teach, and give back to the community. My job is to cook. My job is to create memories for my customers, celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, joyful occasions, and give them an experience that they will long remember. When I question…I question because I believe I’m going to give you a better experience. For me, that’s what hospitality is all about.

GD: Not so much a question, but just want to make sure you understand…gluten intolerance is not an allergy to wheat as you claim. Someone who is gluten-intolerant does not have a celiac diagnosis but cannot tolerate wheat, barley and rye. I just want to make sure you and your stuff understand that it’s not just wheat.

MV: Yes…I left it out because I wanted to stay pretty simple. I actually have been studying this stuff for quite a while, although I feel like I’m learning more everyday!…and yes…I get that Celiac is not actually an allergy.

GD: You state that “Truthfully, unless you have celiac disease, which is a major issue in 1 percent of the population, you probably don’t know what gluten is.” I know many people in this community who have not had the luxury of a celiac diagnosis for various reasons and still suffer greatly would be really offended by this condescending statement. Anything you want to say to them?

MV: I don’t think it’s a condescending statement at all. As I said, most people who posted something are in fact Celiac or don’t eat much gluten because it upsets their stomach from other autoimmune issues. By and large its a pretty true statement, especially considering the amount of people who come in to the restaurant and don’t really know what it is. If you do know, than why would that statement bother you. Kudos to you, you should know.

GD: You tell the story of a woman who asked for a gluten-free meal and then refused to eat the risotto (one of my favorites by the way) because she insisted risotto is NOT gluten-free. And then at the end of the meal, as she was finishing her gluten-free dessert, she was drinking a beer. Two questions: 1) Do you serve beer or is it bring your own? If it’s bring your own, it could have been a gluten-free beer, no? 2) If it was indeed a regular beer, how tempted were you to say something? Because I have to be honest, if it was me, I would have lost it. These are the people that are making our lives more difficult than they need to be.

1) Its not a bring your own; we serve beer, and it was not gluten free

2) I was not tempted at all. As I said, you can only say so much. I made her a great meal and she had an amazing evening. She’ll figure it out. Again, I wasn’t angry at her…it was all very amusing. Like the vegetarian who told us that we can serve them foie gras last month. Or the vegan who said cheese was OK. We’re happy to serve you whatever you want to eat. Especially at Vetri. That’s our thing, we are there to make you happy.

GD: Anything else you want to say/clarify/spew? The Gluten Dude floor is yours.

MV: I’m actually glad that this blog caught on with such verve. I know a lot of websites spun it like it was a rant…but in fact, it wasn’t a rant at all. We should talk about things like these. If people think whole grains are bad for you, they need to know why that is simply untrue. I have been studying wheat for the better part of two years for a book that’s coming out called Mastering Pasta. The research took me on a journey that I never imagined I would go on. I read more scientific studies about wheat in the last couple years than I read about anything in my life. It’s really fascinating stuff.

Also, there is an amazing documentary coming out called The Grain Divide that I have been involved with as well. It talks about the history & future of grains. It features the world’s top bakers, chefs, researchers & scientists, and brings you on a journey through the fact/fiction of the state of grains & their byproducts. Something that EVERYONE who has an issue with this article should certainly see!

In the end…I truly hope that this article brings some awareness to the misrepresentations by many people about wheat. Its really is as simple as that.


I want to thank Marc for his time. As I said earlier, there are two sides to every story and I think it’s imperative we hear both sides.

marc vetriI also want to give a shout out to Marc for his charity work. Outside the kitchen, Marc is the driving force behind the Vetri Foundation for Children, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. Additionally, Marc and his business partner Jeff Benjamin are the founders of the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Ok folks. I would love your feedback on this one. What did you think of Marc’s article on HP? And did reading this interview alter your opinion in any way? Thanks.

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197 thoughts on “Let's Talk About (Gluten) Intolerance: An Interview With Chef Marc Vetri”

  1. Bravo to our Dude & to Chef Marc. Great and “motive revealing” interview! I appreciate Chef Marc’s candor and concern – his “intolerance” really is “advocacy for education.”

    I’d have more positive comments but I’m off to my retina specialist. Hope to “see” everyone better soon!


  2. Dude, really appreciate you reaching out to Chef Marc and clarifying things. I can understand the chef’s (and everyone else for that matter) frustration with the posers – “oh I don’t eat gluten because Kim Kardashian said it was bad. Does the baked potato have gluten? Oh never mind, I’ll just have the french dip. Oh and waiter, could you bring a basket of bread and some gluten free water?”.

    What frustrates me the most and I’m sure everyone else here, is that in all this gluten-free ‘craze’ there is very little real discussion about what NCGS and Celiac Disease are and how it affects people that have it. It’s a constant defensive mode. Some writes an article or makes a ‘funny’ skit about gluten intolerance being a made up issue or all in the head and then those that have to live with it have to come out and defend themselves, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have people educate about NCGS and Celiac Disease first and then talk about it not being a diet that helps you lose weight? Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a funny skit about living with NCGS or Celiac that at the same time educated in a lighthearted way instead of just making fun of the “GF people”?

    One thing that I had hoped would happen with the GF product boom is that it would become more competitive – meaning better products, better prices…. instead its more crappy products at ridiculous prices…. like you said, instead of 3 or 4 crappy overpriced breads to choose from, now we have 10 crappy overpriced breads to choose from! Meh. I’m sorry if I’m a little grumpy, I’m starting to suspect that I have to give up dairy and that’s been a tough one…. I don’t eat a lot of dairy but I love cheese the ‘tofeeze’ makes me want to cry….. and of course now I have to look for casein in things…. I’ve just gotten the hang of looking for hidden gluten!

  3. I’m interested in why the lady thought risotto was not gluten-free. Pure speculation, but it could be because some alternative therapists / nutritionists / campaigners etc consider all grain to contain gluten, and potentially damaging to coeliacs, despite the evidence lacking. It is not difficult to find organisations or individuals who hold these views, and the web is filled with conflicting information on this front. Perhaps it’s that which needs to be addressed, rather than confused and ignorant diners made an example of?

    1. I am in San Francisco at the moment and decided to order from room service to save myself the trouble of finding a restaurant after along flight. I decided on a salad and risotto had my doubts about the salad (the dressing?) but none whatsoever about the risotto (I cook – risotto is rice and whatever vegetables or seafood or meat you add – simple, right?). The person taking my order said, wait a minute I’ll check the ingredient list to be sure and then showed me the (long) list. Sure enough, wheat starch was being used to make risotto! I guess the moral of the story is never ever take your GF food for granted. (SF – so far – has been a delight; no eye-rolling, lots of helpful servers; I realize I’m being Pollyannish again, but it has been a pleasure.) I passed on that risotto, by the way.

      1. I am not disagreeing with you, margaret….but I sincerely doubt a chef of the caliber of this man we are discussing today would make risotto with “wheat starch”

        I make Risotto Milanese often….no wheat involved.

      2. I’ve been refused risotto a number of times because of gluten in the stock (probably not places as nice as the restaurant in this piece). I’ve also been to places where they say they sprinkle flour onto their potato wedges and baked potato skins to make them more crispy. So I always ask about absolutely everything, although I realise people might think I don’t really understand gluten when I check if a baked potato dish is truly gluten free…

  4. Actually, reading both Marc’s article and your interview has made me want to eat at his restaurant more. His article didn’t upset me as much as the woman who didn’t want to eat risotto, but could have a beer. The GF posers really get me! I’m lucky that I don’t live far from Philadelphia, though. I will have to add the Vetri restaurants to my list of places that won’t try and poison me.

  5. Sue in Alberta

    I just read the article in its entirety and got his point right away. The title grabbed my attention but I didn’t get the feeling he was celiac/ncgi bashing. In fact, his issue is with the uninformed.
    I just recently listened to a book review on “Wheat Belly Cookbook” on CBC radio ( JUST the mention of Wheat Belly raises my heat rate). As Irishheart would say,” imho”, so much b.s. Wheat, specifically and sometimes all grains have been vilified. Over processing and over consumption would be two of the more obvious problems for the population that is not in “our” situation.

  6. I think his piece came across as judging NCGI as a whole instead of serving the individual. It’s very hard to give the benefit of the doubt when improperly prepared food can be your enemy.
    But, the interview clarified his position. And I’m especially comforted and impressed about his studies regarding wheat.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that people who don’t understand a disease may be more likely to take a flippant statement about a customer who was Ill informed, and take it to mean we’re all undereducated about gluten.

    Funny, I posted something akin to this on my facebook last night and one friend said he doesn’t believe people who say they have a gluten intolerance, but believes me because I have celiac.

    Hap! Hope the eye is getting better!

    1. Ken

      Thanks so much! Sitting here like a hoot owl waiting for dilations to subside enough to drive. Eyes are better & hopefully continue getting better. Thankfully our eyes operate like a water filtration system so unless retinas fall apart again (hopefully not since everything else healing) vision should keep improving.

      I only provide these details to help others with CD to be mindful of good eye health and have regular eye check ups. Although it’s inconvenient, let your Doc dilate & look when they want to look. I’m very grateful that I was in right place/right time for surgery or I would not have vision today.

      Go ahead & eat Chef Marc’s GF non CC risotto, but refrain from the beer.

      1. I miss beer. I was just describing a particular brew I used to love to a friend the other day. But that’s another thread as well.
        I love Italian food (especially risotto). I’ll try that and whatever else Chef Vetri has to offer me when I get down to Philly again.

        Im really glad you’re vision is improving!

        1. Ken

          Me too! We’ll meet in Philly sometime at Vetri’s & drink & eat Italian until we can’t & celebrate our status as part of the 10% of GDude’s male support team.

          Thanks again! (Hope no misspellings, I’m like Jimmy Buffett at the moment – things are not too clear just yet!)

  7. What upsets me is that most of the celiac population is undiagnosed ..they ARE the ” gluten intolerant ” perhaps …maybe their doctor never gluten challenged them so their test was negative . ( like my kids first test) . For decades I had no idea why when I ate pasta and bread my belly bloated to the point I had to curl up in the fetal position . The next days were spent on the sofa / bathroom ( no explanation needed, eh?) I think folks are making the connection now ..gee , when I eat pasta/ bread/ baked goods I get sick . And , yes , ordering a beer sounds crazy , right ? All that barley . Well, on my 40 th birthday my friends convinced me that beer was ” ok” …I had a few sips of Coors light and started itching like crazy on my neck , I was sick for 3 days ..from half a beer !

  8. I’m a truly diagnosed Celiac with a dad who is “gluten free”but refuses to get proper testing. Even after telling him the whole genetics thing and how my celiac was most likely from him. To me, he is that lady. A person who knows deep down there is an intolorance but hasn’t educated themselves enough. I can talk about the seriousness of Celiac disease and getting a proper diagnosis till I’m blue in the face, but to my dad, he is doing what he needs to do. Generation thing? Perhaps. Baby steps. Baby steps.

  9. His article in the Huff Post distilled amounts to:

    Woman comes into the restaurant and requests a gluten free meal. She balks at a suggested meal because she believes it to contain gluten. Chef tries to convince her otherwise, but she’s not budging. She knows better than the chef. But at the end of the evening woman is seen having a beer.

    Notes our master chef there’s no need to warn her that she’s poisoning herself because “I made her a great meal and she had an amazing evening. She’ll figure it out.”

    Oh yes, she’ll figure it out. If she’s a celiac or NCGS she’ll figure it out in short order. She may not figure it out correctly. She’ll probably think that she’s been glutened by the meal. Imagine what word of mouth will do in that case for our chef once she starts telling her friends about what happened to her after the meal.

    There’s no way for us to know what truly happened because we only hear the chef’s side of this. But I have a hard time believing that they were willing to go to bat for the gluten free risotto, yet knowing that she needs a gluten free meal, they say nothing when she orders a gluten containing beer? Nobody tells her she’s about to self destruct?

    Something here doesn’t make sense.

    Yes, it’s true that our chef and his staff have no obligation to warn her. But does that bode well for anyone? It’s rather lose-lose don’t you think?

    “She’ll figure it out.”

    That’s so sad. And it’s a heads up to anyone who eats there.

    1. Terry…it’s not the chef’s job to tell the woman not to drink the beer. It’s the woman’s job (and all of our jobs) to know what we can and cannot put in our body. I’m sorry but beer is Gluten Free 101. It’s basic knowledge. My feeling is that she was a gluten free poser.

      1. Yes, I said that. I agree that it’s not the chef’s job to help her.

        Sure, he’ll instruct he on which food is safe, but she’s on her own when she orders a beer?

        How do you figure she’s a poser? She sounds like a newbie at this diet. She easily could be me nine years ago. I’m no poser. I just had almost no support. I was unpreapred. My allergist, when he diagnosed me as being NCGS, handed me one xeroxed sheet of paper with ingredients to avoid. That was it. “See you later, have a nice day”, I was out the door and gone from his care.

        I remember being a newbie at this diet. I got sick quite often. I made mistakes. That didn’t make me a poser. I was just ignorant.

        Luckly for me, I sword off alcohol for five years because I felt I wasn’t healthy enough to drink it. That saved me a lot of grief.

        “She’ll figure it out.”

        Yeah, that’s sad. If we should be doing anything, we — the GF community — should be reaching out to people and helping them, rather than just assuming that someone who makes a serious mistake is a poser.

        That’s why I post so passionately about my experience in these articles. I try post my story to help those who might be struggling.

      2. They don’t need to tell her not to drink it, just a gentle professional reminder that it does contain gluten. After that it is her choice.

      3. Is absolutely is their job. She was as responsible as she knew how to be. She clearly informed him she could not have gluten, even having a conversation about it with him and being overly cautious with the risotto. Clearly she was clueless about her drink, for whatever reason. He knowingly withheld that information from her and laughed at her, instead of at least letting her know the risk when she ordered it. That is negligence. It’s judgmental, condescending, passive aggressive snottiness. No one trying to eat GF for any reason should risk their health by eating at any of his restaurants. They can’t be trusted.

        1. Oh, good grief, Laura! This line……” It’s judgmental, condescending, passive aggressive snottiness.” You have got to be kidding!

          I hate to say this but you sound like a professional victim. Even someone who has lived under a rock would know that beer contains gluten and if you don’t, then you have no business eating out. It is up to each and every one of us who are diagnosed with Celiac to learn what we can and cannot eat. Until then, you stay at home and do your homework until you do know what you are doing. This is not rocket science. If someone cheats like this woman obviously did, it is not anyone else’s job to tell her so. As Marc said, she’ll figure it out. And if she doesn’t? She’ll have only herself to blame.
          At some point in adulthood, you have to responsible for yourself.
          Geez……what a concept, huh?

          1. Allmost everyone starting this journey doesn’t know what gluten is, much less what it’s in. Why would we who have spent time learning the ins and outs be so condescending and unsupportive of those who are just starting? I totally reject the notion that we are supposed to stay home like a prisoner until we know every facet. That’s totally unrealistic and just wrong. She chose a restaurant that goes out of its way to brag about its gluten safety and training. She repeatedly made it clear she couldn’t have gluten. What decent human being would not at least ask if she realized she was ordering a beverage with gluten in it? It is not obvious at all that she was cheating; it’s obvious she was making a mistake, and he did nothing to help her. She had specifically asked for his help! He says “Tell me! I just want to make you happy!” Her real mistake was trusting him! He laughed at her! What responsible restaurant owner knowingly does that to a customer? If another informed him they couldn’t have nuts, then nut ingredients shouldn’t even end up near that table, much less in their mouth as he watches and snickers from a corner! In a world where every restaurant visit is a crap shoot for gluten sensitivities, this one has made it clear they can’t be trusted: the owner, who doesn’t know you or your life circumstances at all, may decide you don’t deserve safety because you seem like a fadder. God forbid you make a mistake – he may decide you’re the joke of the evening and use you to set advancements in respect for gluten intolerances back to square one.

            1. No, Laura, sorry….I am not buying into the victim mentality and you are getting so far out in left field with this that I can see anyone else’s viewpoint will fall on deaf ears. But I’m going to say it again because it’s important……

              Most people do not know jack squat about medical conditions they are diagnosed with, until they are diagnosed and learning begins. There is definitely a learning curve with Celiac but we have brains and this is what they are for. I never said a person has to shutter themselves away in the beginning, I said they should not go out to eat until they have a good, basic grasp of what they can or cannot eat. It is most certainly up to the diagnosed Celiac to learn this for themselves…unless you are 7 years old. No excuses, no whining and no victim crap.

              You also seem to have a persecution complex in that you think people are out to either gluten you intentionally or make you the joke du jour. This is the mentality that makes me wonder why anyone would want to offer us anything gluten free at all because of all the backlash from people who obviously haven’t done their homework, who like to blame everyone else for their mistakes.
              Good luck with that….I’m sure it will take you far in life.

              As for me, none of this affects me at all because I did my homework in the beginning, made some mistakes along the way that I learned lessons from and now lead a completely normal life, eating out and everything else included. I would eat at Marc’s restaurant because I know the difference between risotto and beer.
              I also enjoy helping many people who are newly diagnosed. I teach them not to be victims and to let go of the anger because they will never be happy until they do. That is important as learning the gf diet inside and out.

            2. hummingbird_86

              Gemini, I completely agree with you. WE alone are 150% responsible for our own health, happiness, and well-being… at this time when gluten-free this-and-that runs rampant, those of us who know our illness have no excuse for doing things like drinking beer! And even those non-Celiacs hear about gluten-free “stuff” all the time! It is absolutely NOT the responsibility of the chef to babysit his customers to make sure they haven’t consumed anything containing gluten. As someone who suffers greatly from this debilitating disease, I, too, would have snickered at Gluten-Free-But-Drinking-A-Beer lady. She makes those of us who need to be taken seriously look like absolute jokes, and I don’t appreciate it.

              I couldn’t agree more that if you don’t know beer is full of gluten, you’re living under a rock. We couldn’t escape gluten and the gluten-free fad & lifestyle if we tried.

            3. Thank you, hummingbird! I am all about personal responsibility.
              I think that is why I have done so well with my recovery. You read, you learn, you be strict with your diet and take no unnecessary chances. I do eat out but not often and usually only at higher end restaurants because they too have an education in food and know what gluten and cc are. I have had phenomenal success sticking to this regimen and I do not feel deprived in any way. I love to cook, which helps knowing what is in the food you eat and creating great food at home. It’s not hard but there is work involved in being gf successfully. I know people don’t want to hear that but there is no magic bullet to recovery….you can’t intentionally cheat! Mistakes will be made in the beginning but learn from them, pick up and move on.

            4. Just wanted to say that yes, it is all about personal responsibility, but sometimes no matter how gluten free you are, you don’t always heal from all the damage done to your body. I don’t feel deprived, and I work really hard at maintaining a 100% gluten free live style, cheating to me is a ridiculous thought, and I don’t eat out, but I developed 4 other autoimmune diseases in my journey to diagnosis and have some pretty extensive nerve damage as well as tendon and ligament damage. I also have problems with memory, at times. I test negative to the Celiac blood tests now, after being “off the charts” prior to going gf, and I am way better than before going gluten free, and I am not on a pity party here. Just wanted to add that hard work to be gf doesn’t always get total recovery, so when someone doesn’t get a total recovery, it isn’t always because they aren’t working hard enough at being healthy.

            5. Hello Dee…….so glad you brought this up! I will respond by telling you that I have a total of 4 AI diseases myself, including Celiac, so I get that. But you know what? They do not slow me down at all because I don’t let them. I have been gf for 9 years now so am a veteran at this. I have to say that my other 3 AI issues have all calmed down tremendously with my strict, no cheating diet. I still have them and they need to be managed but I do that myself quite well. It took a long time but I have to say, things are much better now and I take virtually no meds. Just Rx eye drops and thyroid hormone.

              I have learned that it doesn’t matter whether you get total healing or not…..this does not mean you can’t live a normal life. My bad days are very few now and I still don’t slow down that much even on a bad day. I find that becoming less active makes things worse, not better. I work full time and hit the gym twice a week and those things have helped me push myself to do better. Maybe being focused on more than having a disease is a good thing, I don’t know. But as we all age, you are going to have something….everyone does. We are no different than many others who struggle with worse illnesses. I just decided when I was diagnosed with all these problems that they were not going to win. And lucky us….we have a disease that we have a good amount of control over, once you get on track with what you have to do. But it does require personal responsibility.

    2. Terry,
      Sorry you feel that way. But honestly, we have a pretty good handle on things. We don’t feed someone nuts who is allergic to them. Someone who truly has a reaction to something will not order it. If they do, I can’t stop them. Last week I had vegetarians who said they eat foie gras…was I supposed to tell them that Foie gras isn’t vegetarian? I had vegans who said cheese was OK? Do I tell them that they shouldn’t eat cheese. People need to take responsibility for their own actions. It was clear that this woman was following a fad…so she ordered beer. She would have been angrier if we told her that she shouldn’t have beer. Sorry to say, thats just the way it is. As I said, if she really does have a gluten issue…she’ll figure it out.

      1. You don’t tell her she shouldn’t have the beer, you professionally inform her it has gluten in it.

        “Sorry we don’t have any gluten free beer, would you like more information about the ingredients in the beer we do have? Let us know if we can help you choose something that will work for you.”

      2. Once the patron has informed you that they cannot have gluten, it is your obligation to let them know if anything they order has gluten in it. If they still want it anyway, then serve it. You don’t know what she “would have done”, and you never will because you knowingly served her gluten without a word and laughed at her for it. That’s disgusting. Do your job and stop judging people and making decisions for them. Respect your customers.

        1. Maybe some out of the ordinary dish that a chef has invented himself or created his own version of a classic dish……yes, I would definitely ask what the ingredients are. But a beer? “Stupid is as stupid does” comes to mind on that one! You are being rudely defensive and over reacting on a basic Celiac issue…….personal responsibility.

          Who pee’d on your Cheerio’s today?

          1. “Who pee’d on your Cheerio’s today?”

            Who cares? Anyone in the GF community would never eat Cheerios. It’s poison to US.

            1. Well, it would make more sense to ask “Who peed in the corn chex?”

              I couldn’t care less about who’s peeing into gluten covered cereals! (Maybe I could use them for kitty litter now that I can’t eat them?)

            2. ” Nope….sorry…….I like Cheerios better! That is how the saying goes and I’m stickin’ with it! : )

          2. You, as well as the chef, are being rudely judgmental of a person doing everything she can to try to have a nice gluten free meal at a supposedly gluten friendly restaurant. She’s not stupid because she hasn’t learned yet that most beer contains barley. Her problem was condescending people who imagine they have the right to label and punish her for not being an instant PHD in glutenology. And ‘anyone who knows Gluten Basics 101’ knows it’s Chex, not Cheerios.

            1. My, Laura….you really are a Last Word Lizzy, aren’t ya? No one is being judgmental or rude or anything else. I think you need to be far less sensitive about other people’s opinions and allow them to voice them without getting your panties in a twirl over it. You are very naive about responsibility also and that won’t get you far with this lifestyle.

              “And ‘anyone who knows Gluten Basics 101′ knows it’s Chex, not Cheerios.”

              As far as the saying goes, it’s Cheerio’s, not Chex. Has nothing to do with Gluten Basics 101.

            2. It would seem you are the one who can’t take it when someone disagrees with you. It’s sad you have to resort to sarcastic name calling, which is inherently rude and judgmental. I have every right to voice my opinion about something I feel strongly about, and if I feel someone who has not been given the opportunity to defend herself is being unfairly mistreated, I’m going to say so. I’m not naive about responsibility, and my underwear are just fine. I am sad that anyone in our community could become such a gluten snob that they lose compassion and stop supporting those new to this journey. Why any one of us would defend the deliberate, cruel treatment this woman received, and encourage it for others in the future, is beyond me. If the criteria for being a ‘real’ GF person is that we never ever make a mistake in public from day one, then your apparent perfection might leave you without much company.

            3. hummingbird_86

              I would hardly say this woman was doing “everything” in her power to enjoy a nice gluten-free meal while drinking a beer. If you are diagnosed with Celiac disease in this day and age, what do you do? Hit the internet, buy books, attend support groups = get information! Knowledge is power, right?! One of the first things you learn is that beer is now off-limits. I could care less about the risotto (I still get tripped up on more obscure items and whether or not it’s safe for me to consume them… and when in doubt, go without!) but I find it darn near impossible to believe that the woman and her dining-mates had no idea that beer contains gluten.

      3. “It was clear that this woman was following a fad…so she ordered beer.”

        How is that clear? You can’t possibly know whether she’s following a fad or if she’s just new to the diet.

        I could easily have made this mistake 9 years ago when I first started this diet. It takes time to learn these things. Doctors don’t sit down with us and discuss it. There’s a learning curve involved.

        Yes, you have no obligation to warn her. You’re in the restaurant business. You’re not there to help people. I get it.

        She’s responsible for her own decisions. You can sit back and chuckle at the silly person ordering a beer after having a gluten free meal.

        She’s MUST be a fadder. Why else would she do that? She couldn’t just be making a mistake — a very serious mistake.

        A gentle reminder, while not required, would have been the empathetic thing to do.

        Definitely listen to your wife, Marc. Her advice to you is spot on.

  10. Great point, Theresa. If the people who write articles about how annoying gf’ers are would also include descriptions of what gluten does to us, it would give us a little more believability. So many of us have struggled to be listened to by our doctors and families for most of our lives. We have been sick and not known why. It has simply been torture. We don’t need to be criticized in the comments sections on fb and blog posts. Enough.

  11. I really appreciated the article and enjoyed the interview even more. My only disappointment is that I don’t live anywhere close to Philadelphia and won’t be able to make it to Vetri anytime soon. Thank you Chef Marc (and Glutendude) for taking the time to bring light to this.

  12. Gluten Dude,
    Thanks both to you and Chef Marc for this interview. I was diagnosed 20 years ago with Celiac Disease, and I have “seen and heard it all.” I was not offended by the chef’s article. In fact, he highlighted exactly the same things that really bug me about people who claim they are GF but then do not really know what that means.
    I hope I get to eat at one of Marc’s restaurants some day. I would trust that he and his staff are educated about CD and go to great lengths to avoid cross-contamination and offer delicious GF meals. My only question to them, should I order their risotto, is what liquid do they use to prepare the rice? I have had a couple of unfortunate experiences where restaurants have used canned chicken or vegetable stock that contain gluten. Same thing happened once when a brother-in-law made paella with stock that had wheat in it. Sometimes, people think they are cooking GF, but they do not know to check every ingredient and then people like me have to pay the consequences: either getting glutened, or more likely, just not eating.
    Keep up your quest to keep the our world a safer, more educated place.

  13. I had the same thought as Terry. I think this chef just wanted to get attention…I doubt this even happened. It just doesn’t add up.

        1. and there is no reason to be speculating about customer’s choices either.

          Maybe my problem is he did choose a very mild example to use. Let me hear the really wild examples, and not the vegan eating cheese or foie gras, everyone is allowed exceptions for their own personal reasons.

          1. stinks a bit like Romano ~ bottom line is the food industry is in it for the money. Real nutrient rich food is our medicine. Last time I checked in with a famous chef in his restaurant, the profits were still the main focus. It’s a business and there is usually a spouse or child with celiac dx that opens their minds to making a difference in how they view every customer who walks through the door.
            I agree with Jennifer that this is a suspicious bit of sensationalism.

  14. GD,
    I like MV’s approach. Other than a couple of minor things, I thought the article was well written and contained good information. I had no problem with it.
    Here’s one area that continually causes problems — fuzzy terms, confusing labels, and random descriptions. After a lot of thought, research, and consulting with experts over the years (like Alessio Fasano), I use the phrase “gluten intolerance” as an umbrella term to describe all conditions that, for medical reasons, warrant a gluten-free diet. We quote Dr. Fasano in our book (you have a copy, check page 30 for a detailed description) explaining it this way, “What is clear to us now [is that] there is this big family of gluten sufferers — people of all shapes and sizes and symptoms who suffer several forms of gluten intolerance, including celiac disease, wheat allergy, and gluten sensitivity.”
    Those three conditions trigger different types of immune responses, but the common activator is gluten containing foods. So — you could actually say that gluten intolerance does include an allergy to wheat.
    Blurry semantics, I know, but wheat allergy is part of the gluten intolerance spectrum, but very different from celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. There’s also a condition called wheat-dependent, exercise-induced anaphylaxis. An allergy, but via a different immune pathway.
    Bottom line — this is fuzzy territory. It’s not black and white and until researches learn more about these debilitating conditions triggered by grain proteins, we’ll have to deal with lots of grey area. Bottom-bottom line — if you can’t “tolerate” something, it’s best to avoid it.
    It sounds like MV is a great chef. I’d definitely dine at his restaurant and I’m pretty darn picky. I’m also not on the “all grains are evil” bandwagon, so his practical and thoughtful approach appeals to me.
    Great interview, GD. Thanks for taking the time to sort through this.

  15. I don’t really think this interview clarified anything, although thanks for trying. I didn’t misunderstand the original article, I got the point he was trying to make, I still disagree with the method of education and frankly thought that the ridiculing example used will cause a lot of problems for people who have dietary issues that are not so easily defined as Celiac or allergy. Way to make it even more difficult for them when they eat out, the increase in eye rolls and unmet needs will certainly be measurable.

    A few points of why the examples used were weak anyway, I would bet a lot of customers on a gluten free diet are confused by risotto. People who don’t have a lot of food experience may often be confusing it for orzo, a pasta with a rice shape. Orzo is one of the first tricky foods pointed out to people with a gluten/wheat issue. The woman in the story called it pasta, she wasn’t believing it was rice. I know there are a lot of people who really are uneducated about gluten free diets, but I think a better example could have been used. I think she was trying her best, just got two things confused.

    My biggest question about the beer is did the staff inform her it had gluten when she ordered it, just to make sure she understood? Also anyone with a dietary restriction education for non-Celiacs will also know that different glutens affect people in different ways, she may not have an issue with fermented barley.

    I really get that people should be informed about what they eat, and it is a never ending process really. There is always more to learn. My problem is I think the popularity of this article has made it more difficult for educated eaters who don’t have easily pigeon holed dietary needs, who understand their own nuances that might not make sense to the restaurant staff, and that makes me really sad.

    Dealing with the eye rolls, judgement and scrutiny and improperly prepared food was already difficult and annoying enough. I know that there will be people who think this article is really cool and funny and will lamely want to try to find their own funny examples in their life. Great.

    A question for the owner of this blog, I would think that the best thing about the gluten free fad is not the 10 crappy overpriced breads now available, but the smaller less flashy benefits, like teas without wheatpaste used for the glue on the tea bags (I know, use loose leaf, but traveling with that is hard) or just the removal of other hidden unnecessary wheat in some basic pantry staples and the easier to find bold labeling of items like gluten free mustards or if tolerable to you, gluten free steel-cut oats (transported, stored, and processed in gluten free facilities). The rows of highly processed gluten free foods can be easily ignored.

  16. All one really need do is look to the Italians in this matter. The Italians, yes. They test all children for Celiac, and sufferers even get stipends for food. Italians, can you imagine – that wheat loving, traditional food forward country.

    There are lots of local folks making good, food for gluten or sans gluten, breads and pastas etc. LIke foods with gluten, there are chemical versions and non chemical versions.

    Why must there be “sides.”

    Not to mention that as stated, it’s more than just wheat that has gluten. I’m sure he is a great chef and has a great reputation, but gf cooking is a different science. I would rather hear from the people who are making it work, by testing methods, researching products etc. (And there are many – happy to mention).

  17. Melissa said “’I’m also not on the “all grains are evil” bandwagon, so his practical and thoughtful approach appeals to me.”

    IH: Ditto!

    MV said:

    “The fact is that many chefs don’t think of a specific kind of food like vegetarian or gluten free. We just cook good food. What I mean is…I make many dishes from vegetables, but I don’t think of it as if I have to make something for the vegetarians who come in the restaurant. We have pescatarians, vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant, nut allergies, shellfish allergies, kosher eating and more. To us…its really all just cooking food, its really not as much as effort as people seem to thing. It’s actually no effort at all..its fun creating! Nothing bothers me more when someone doesn’t eat the whole dish and I find out later that they usually don’t eat something I served them but they didn’t want to make a fuss about it because the rest of the table ate everything. Make a fuss!!! Please tell me! I want to cook for you and make you happy.”

    IH: I’d eat at this chef’s restaurant in a heartbeat.

    2 other thoughts:

    (1) the anti-risotto lady doesn’t understand what GF really is…and why should the chef have to tell her beer is not gluten free? Not his responsibility.

    (2) I hardly think the chef “made up” the beer incident.
    What would be his motive? Clearly, he’s on our side. He has done his homework and like most good chefs, he wants to provide safe, delicious creative meals.

    Like all comment sections of a Huff Post piece: the comments on this article show that so many people do not really read anything entirely and often miss the point of the articles.


    Plans to introduce GM wheat in were abandoned in 2004

    I wish people would stop saying that and using the “GMO” issue as the “reason” for an increase in gluten intolerance. It’s just not true.

    and finally….good interview, GD.

    1. It is the restaurant’s responsibility to inform the customer of anything they serve that may have gluten after she requested a gluten free meal. Just because it is assumed that beer having gluten is common knowledge, doesn’t mean the responsibility goes away.

      The scenario was either made up, some information was left out, or it was really irresponsible of the staff.

      1. Or the lady is a “gluten free fadist” who picks and chooses when she eats gluten.?

        I am not sure why you can assume all the other scenarios and exclude that one.

        I have been in places where the staff tells me they have taken a GF order from someone only to have them say “oh, and you can bring the bread basket. I may pick at it a little”..

        THIS is the reality we live in. A world of GF dabblers who give the staff mixed messages. This is why we get eye rolls and get mocked.

        Not sure why people can’t see this truth.

        GF faddists will be the death of us all.

        1. I agree with Irish. The “faddists” have given us all a bad name and it is not the chef or wait staff’s responsibility to make sure they are ordering correctly. I was at a buffet a couple of weeks ago and was basically harassing the poor guys working the line. Finally, my questions became too much, and they went and got the head chef. I asked him my questions, determined what I could and couldn’t eat, and then he thanked me. Thanked me for knowing the right questions to ask and for being an advocate for myself. He said they are barraged by “I need gluten free…” only to be asked “can I get some gluten free wheat bread?”

        2. My simple point is that it is not up to the staff to determine if she is a fadist or just has other special needs.

        3. It is no one’s business but the diner’s how sensitive they are, where they are on the learning curve, or even if they have a weak moment and choose to cheat. Why does anyone think they have the right to monitor someone else’s food choices for validity? They even have the right to try to eat as GF as they can just to try it! If they announce they don’t want gluten, it is a responsibility of the server to inform them of anything with gluten content. Period. If they then say they want it anyway, just serve the item and go away. Shut up. What do you care? If non GF people would stop trying to be the gatekeepers for others and treat them like anyone else with a stated food restriction, this problem wouldn’t exist.

      2. Sorry Jennifer, you’re incorrect. At some point people have to take responsibility for their actions. As a matter of fact…you would be floored by some other restaurant stories…this one was mild

        1. I have a lot of experience in the food/restaurant business. I understand perfectly. Sometimes there is a need to vent frustrations, but that is best done privately, and then it needs to be let go so each customer situation is dealt with fresh.

          1. but, the point is…how do you know the server didn’t remind her and she ignored it anyway? You weren’t there.
            The chef doesn’t have time to be a GF watchdog.

            This is what’s wrong. It’s OUR responsibility to be aware of what’s going in our mouths.

            IMHO of course!

            1. If she had been informed and ordered it anyway, it would have been included. Instead he says it was her responsibility to know, so they had no obligation to warn her, even though she was clear about not wanting gluten. He also sneers, “she’ll figure it out.” If he’d ever had to “figure it out” for himself he wouldn’t be so callous. Why are you so insistent on assuming she’s a fadder? There is no reason to assume such a thing, if it were any if your business to begin with. My point is, I don’t care if she is trying GF out, she has every right to do that. It is haughty, judgmental non GFers who insist on dividing everyone into labels based on their own prejudices that have caused this problem. The customer told them she was trying to avoid gluten. They should have told her the beer had gluten. Period.

            2. People with your attitude are the reason we have warning labels on hair dryers, telling people not to use them in a bathtub. Or warning labels on new stoves, warning people to avoid burns because stoves are hot when they are turned on. Or putting gf labeling on carrots or mustard or anything else inherently gluten free. I could go on and on with this but I’m sure you get the picture.

              Insert GIANT EYE ROLL here because it’s well deserved……

            3. And people with your attitude are the reason people new to GF get glutened, and discouraged. It is why people who need to be GF for a variety of reasons, get unfairly judged and labeled as posers every time they make a mistake, leading nonGFers to think they’re qualified to judge who is worthy of good service and who is worthy of mean treatment and mockery. Her experience level is irrelevant, when both the server and the chef at a “Trained, gluten friendly establishment” knew she was ordering and ingesting gluten, but thought it was funny to not tell her, even though she had asked them for their cooperation in helping her eat GF, which she had demonstrated she was trying hard to do. That is, at best, negligence, when all they had to do was mention that the beer she ordered had gluten in it. Despite your gluten omnipotence, the rest of us have a learning curve, even with beer.

            4. Sorry Laura, but I seriously have to disagree with you. You say “Why any one of us would defend the deliberate, cruel treatment this woman received?”. It seems to me she got a fantastic gluten free meal. While I may not agree with all of the chef’s statements in his post, the customer was NOT mistreated.

    2. You cannot say, “Make a fuss! Tell me! I want to make you happy!” and then accept as okay that after she did all that he served her a beer without saying a word and laughed at her behind her back. Clearly he didn’t respect her or raise a finger to ensure she had a safe dining experience. All of us had a huge learning curve when we started. Judging motives and sincerity is not a restaurant’s business.

      1. Laura…we have no idea whether the server informed her that beer wasn’t gluten free. And I’m sorry, but some responsibility MUST fall on the person ordering their food. It cannot all fall on the restaurant.

        1. If she had been informed, he wouldn’t have rudely joked, “she’ll figure it out.” He would have said so to make himself look better. They served her a gluten item after she had gone out of her way to tell them how careful she was trying to be. They did this knowingly. They then laughed at her. He then wrote an article mocking this poor woman to justify his indefensible actions. I don’t know how you can defend this, especially from a chef who claims to be so fully informed on what gluten can do to a person. It’s sick.

          1. Not sure why, but you seem to be the only one reading into all of this and thinking he has cruel intentions. You’re the only one who thinks she was just making a mistake about the beer….

            I am betting that the rest of us are thinking this:

            If she “thinks” risotto has gluten in it and then orders a beer?–that woman is not a celiac.

            I knew from day one of DX that beer was off limits.

            And I knew that (thank heavens) wine and booze wasn’t.

            1. Laura (fairly obviously) isn’t the only one that thinks informing the woman would have been the kinder course of action. It would have been smarter as well. Because they didn’t know her medical status with any certainty, they should have erred on that side of kindness and safety. It is reasonable, I must say, to postulate that there may actually have been cruel intentions. Is it not cruel to let someone with celiac or NCGI drink a beer out of ignorance? The possibility exists that’s what she is, so not communicating about it wasn’t a reasonable choice if that’s the choice that was made.

              This customer just was not sincerely accommodated. How does a restaurant go to the lengths of preventing cross-contamination, then turn around and recklessly serve the beer? Maybe this is (one reason) why a few folks have speculated that the story isn’t adding up. The chef finding it all “very amusing” is of concern to me. The inconsistencies lead me to wonder how diligent or genuine the CC avoidance really is.

              Are those among us that eat out regularly getting bolder & more brave, to the point that these concerning elements are being tuned out? Or is the tune-out due to the acceptance that there’s risk involved in eating out, but acknowledging the risk and then moving on to the trust (the servers & cooks) premise serves the moment better? To me, either way, it’s a desensitization. Please don’t try to marginilize those among us that haven’t gone that far out.

            2. and you are all (obviously) assuming the waitstaff didn’t tell her “hey, did you know this has gluten in it?” and she chose to go ahead and drink it anyway.

              In fact, we are all assuming a lot from the entire episode.

              It’s not the staff or the chef’s responsibility to tell customers how to live a gluten free life.

              That’s on us.

            3. No one is asking staff to tell us what we should or shouldn’t be eating. But if I have informed the staff of a dietary restriction, and they KNOW something I’ve asked for contains that ingredient, I damn well expect them to mention it, just to be sure I’m aware and knowingly choosing to violate my before-mentioned restrictions.

      2. He did mention that there was only a little of the beverage left, “a little bit of an amber-colored liquid”, and thought it might be a sweet wine. They’d just had a great meal. I don’t think he wanted to rain on her parade. If she had already consumed all but “a little bit” of the beer, it doesn’t seem to be that there would have been much point in warning her that it contains gluten. If she’s a faddist, it won’t matter. If she has a real problem with gluten, she’ll learn, perhaps while trying to figure out what part of the meal caused her problems. And anyway, how polite would it be to tell her that the drink that she’d already consumed had gluten in it, making her seem like a goof in front of her companion.

        Besides, we don’t know the circumstances of how she ordered the beer. Drinks are often ordered before the food, and often from a different server. She may not have announced that she had called about a gluten free meal until it came time to order the food. A bar waiter may not have had any reason to warn her. Too much we don’t know about the situation.

    3. Irish Heart,
      I’ll meet you at MV’s restaurant someday. Let’s be taste testers. It’s about time we met anyway. GD, you can come, too. =)

  18. I do get it and his point but still feel like another negative light was shined on us. I’ve always heard there’s no such thing as negative publicity, but I believe what we’ve had to deal with is an exception. It makes the chef look good and NCGI look like they are uneducated. Fueling the fire that it does not exist.

  19. GD-

    Interesting post. Ambivalent here. I applaud master chef marc for his broad understanding of the culinary world and the fact that he has (I assume) many offerings for celiac and G.I’s safe to consume. My thought though is that I wish that his article (and the title, which is abysmal in my opinion) would have been a story about how a successful restaurant truly understands this autoimmune disease and not highlight the 1% in red, or perhaps taking the letters G.I. and joking about the many abbreviations that it could stand for. Sorry master chef marc, I would have hit the dislike button.

    Jersey Girl
    “and the days of vanity went on forever
    and he saw his days burn up
    like paper and fire.”

    Paper in Fire
    John Cougar Mellencamp, 1987

  20. I was not offended or bothered by the HuffPo article. I thought he was right on in calling out the “anti-grain” hysteria and the quick fix mentality that has consumed our nation. Your interview was excellent as well, it clarified some things that might have been confusing for some. And that lady he talked about in the article. I would have thrown her out of my restaurant … or at least corrected her. No risotto, but drinking beer….yes, she is the problem!

    1. Yep…people like her are indeed the problem. I’m sorry, but if you claim you MUST be gluten free and you are eating out, you are representing the gluten free community, like it or not.

      1. You can’t tell me you were instantly an expert on all GF when you started. When I state clearly ‘no GF’, I have a reasonable expectation that if I mistakenly order something with gluten, my server and chef, who KNOW it’s not GF, will let me know so I can make a more informed decision. They not only knew, they didn’t tell her and laughed at her. If I’m about to cluelessly poison myself, the chef of all people should want to warn me, especially when I already asked for his assistance. I’m so disappointed that you would approve of anyone trying to eat GF being victimized in this way.

  21. I have CD. I always say to the chef, “I’m not picky, I just want something completely GF, please don’t make a fuss, keep it simple and I will love it!”

    I rarely eat at restaurants, but if I do, I avoid GF pasta (too risky), GF desserts (again, have you seen the pans after baking?), or GF pizza (seriously, no way). I stick to simple grilled items and a salad with oil/vinegar. I treat myself to a cappuccino with a little honey and cinnamon for dessert, or a nice glass of wine. I’m happy, they’re happy, everyone wins!

    The more you try to replace a gluten item with a GF item, the higher the risk. Just keep it simple and be appreciative of the staff that go the extra mile to help you out. This woman is clearly uninformed and made a fool out of herself. Too bad her ignorance affects the safety of all of us eating at restaurants. Ugh… I can’t wait for this stupid GF fad diet to just go away. I miss being “special” ; )

    1. “Cappucino with honey”… do you mean that you replace the powdered chocolate shaken on top with honey, if not do you check that the chocolate powder does not contain gluten? In Australia at least, chocolate powder frequently contains wheat or barley or may be cross contaminated (even expensive mixes). Just had to mention it as it was a mistake I made early on. I couldn’t work out why I was sick 80% of the time I had a hot chocolate. NB I’m not talking about wheat glucose syrup. Often it’s barley malt or a thickener.

  22. I have the utmost respect for people who work in food service – I’ve done it myself and it’s a damn difficult job. The woman he talked about was certainly ill informed – or ignorant at the very least. We all have a responsibility to know what we are putting into our bodies and in my eyes, one of the mixed blessings that comes from having celiac is that we become super aware of what we’re eating and hopefully as a result, are much healthier overall than we otherwise might have been.

    My biggest gripe with this article – and he’s not the only one who’s guilty of it because the statistic is quoted in every piece you see written about celiac – is “only 1% of the population even has celiac disease”. I know that statistic is technically correct, but using a percentage rather than the actual number of 3.8 million people minimizes the disease. It makes it sound more rare than it actually is and that drives me nuts because it’s quoted in EVERY article you see.

    It did come off more as a rant to me and I’m actually curious as to his motivation for writing the piece to begin with. In the meantime all we can do is press on, continuing to educate and raise awareness.

      1. Thanks Hap! Good to “see” you here. Glad to hear your sight is getting better!

        That’s an interesting read – it’s also not lost on me that Alvine Pharmaceuticals was behind the article. Dr Fasano himself says that the 1% he estimated in his original studies could fluctuate a little either way due to diagnostic limitations, going gluten free prior to diagnosis, etc. I just hate the way that percentage gets thrown around by the media. It just makes it seem so minute. Celiac is more common than type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease. And 3.8 million people in the US alone is a pretty big number in my eyes. But then again, I’ve lived it and would never doubt or minimize someone’s experience with it. The media and the medical community however, are an entirely different story. 🙂

        1. Music

          Thanks again – it’s good to be seen! As my golfing buddy says to me, “At least I’m still looking down at the divots (hole in ground club makes) rather than up through them!

          I agree with all of your statements in 2 comments above & would say more but can’t “see” to say more at the moment.

  23. Comrade Svilova

    As someone else said, it is possible that the diner is just learning — although beer is definitely one of the first things I heard about when I started eating gluten free, so I’m inclined to think that this particular person was a fad dieter.

    But when I started eating gluten free I was following doctors’ advice that left me making a lot of poor choices. They told me that I could just pick the croutons out of salad, that I could work as a baker, etc. I ordered food that I shouldn’t have ordered, avoided things that were safe, all because I was uninformed and no one was helping me to become informed — in fact, my doctors were actively mis-informing me. My GI doc still says that no one can get glutened via cross-contamination (e.g. by juices made in a juicer that hasn’t even been washed between the production of juices including wheat and barley).

    It’s difficult when there is so much misinformation for people to make the right choices. I too think that informing the diner that beer contains gluten would have been a kind step, even if she ignored it and didn’t learn anything from that.

  24. Canadian Celiac Mom

    I read this article a few weeks ago. I just read this interview.
    The first time I read it I believed this lady was a faddist.
    I. Am. So. Tired. Of Faddists.
    They are the reason we are not taken seriously. They are the cause of the eye rolls, the smirks, the brush offs, etc. Every time I go somewhere new I am wondering what reaction I will be getting.
    I feel required to disclose my medical condition prior to ordering anything and often get the “oh, so you’re THAT sensitive.”
    The Chef has highlighted the cause of these incidents. If it is possible, the title of his article probably brought on more readers looking for another GF bashing but instead got taken to school.
    I almost didn’t read it because I am so tired of the “Jimmy Kimmel and Friends” type jokes, but I did.
    The followers of Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are blindly following the latest trend. I have never read either, but I’ve heard many things about these books. My anger level grows whenever someone starts referencing one of them. This lady was acting like many other Wheat Belly devotees. I applaud his patience in this situation, I would have lost it long before dessert. (And That is why I don’t work in the service industry)
    There are far too many uneducated “gluten free” eaters in the world.
    I too, am Gluten Intolerant Intolerant.

    1. I, personally, am tired of the phrase “gluten free”.

      I play a game with myself where I count the number of days I can get through without using the phrase myself in something I read, or reading the phrase on something stupid like water bottles or reading articles that discuss this fad ad nauseum..

      latest count – 0

        1. Well, hey, I don’t like the phrase either, and these fad dieters are
          enough to make me totally crazy, but what can we substitute instead? If I go to a place where the waiters know me, it’s easy, I don’t have to educate them, But at a new place? What do we say?
          I really enjoyed reading Vetri’s rant and believe this is why many
          chefs and restaurant owners are getting fed up with the whole thing. I hear this all the time. So, Dude, what do we say instead? “Please be careful preparing my meal and make sure the pasta is prepared
          properly?” Huh? “No thank you, please don’t serve me some of that
          wonderful bread you baked today and, oh yeah, forget that dish of dipping sauce?” Can we come up with something else?

          1. well, of course we have to use the phrase, I just said I am sick and tired of it and what it MEANS now.

            It’s a prescription for me. It’s how I stay well.

            but let’s face it, thanks to the trendy aspect, it has a connotation attached and the vast majority of people are tired of hearing it too.

  25. Great interview! I think a lot of people have knee jerk reactions when reading articles like Marc’s. I understood where he was coming from. I get pissed when I hear people “cutting back on gluten” but they’re eating a wrap (because it’s not bread but it’s also not gluten free)…. or they eat white bread because it’s not “wheat”.

    I like that he wants to make great meals for everyone…. even if they don’t understand what they think they can/can’t have. I think he just drives home the fact that uninformed posers and people who “cheat” just make it hard for the rest of us… And kind of invalidate the seriousness of our issues.

  26. Well done chef Marc and gluten dude. As a celiac I wish there was a restaurant like marcs close to me. He understands celiac and the issues with gluten. I would feel safe eating there for sure.
    I would also like to say that I agree with you gluten dude in wanting to slap the women drinking beer, she is one of the reasons that some food places are so lax with the way they treat gluten free meals. Even if she does have celiac or gluten intolerance she can’t really not know beer is full of gluten. 5 mins of research tells you exactly what are major and popular gluten filled foods and drinks.
    Anyway if I am ever in the are travelling I would stop by marcs restaurant in an instant. Thanks dude for doing the interview.

  27. To the person, I forget whom, wondered whether they were making stock from a can at Vetri. I say no. You don’t get to be one of the best Italian restaurants on the East Coast by pulling open a can of College Inn chicken broth. Nor do you get a JBA for that activity. Everything there is made from scratch.

    As for his HuffPost piece, I really don’t understand why people are so upset about it. It’s smart and measured and comes from a real place. I don’t know what needs to be clarified, honestly. I think sometimes people just come into an issue, in this case the gluten-free fad vs. celiac disease, with an ax to grind and approach said issue defensively because they assume other people don’t understand them or aren’t smart enough or haven’t done their homework or whatever. But from what I can tell, Marc Vetri is a smart guy and savvy about this stuff, and sensitive to those who come to his restaurant. He wants to make people happy; didn’t he say so, himself? This is what really good chefs live for.

  28. I am “gluten intolerant,” and have never been tested for Celiac Disease. I never take offense to anything anyone says about people who claim to be gluten intolerant because my body and how wonderful I feel since I have eliminated gluten are all that I need. I appreciated the fact that Marc didn’t have a problem with an interview and I would eat at his restaurant in a heartbeat. Isn’t it wonderful that there are chef’s who study and care about what we put in our bodies and are tolerant of our problems. It is probably very difficult for people to hear Ii can’t eat this, or I can’t eat that all the time.” It is so easy to eat gluten free, and I don’t even bring it up when I dine unless it’s absolutely necessary. So many restaurants now cater to allergies and other problems that I find I can get away with not even talking about it. There is only one time so far that I ordered something that made me sick, and that was a lesson learned; it was actually my fault.

  29. Thanks Gluten Dude for the interview with Chef Marc Vetri. What seemed like an article written for spin purposes, I appreciate the clarification that he gave you. I feel the more the general public knows what Celiac is, the more serious we will be taken, and will be more comfortable eating out in restaurants that can accommodate us. I’ll phrase it however they understand it to be and if they can’t, then he’s right…you just have to leave. Can’t wait to visit when I’m back in Philly:)

  30. Good interview, Gluten Dude! It’s a good thing Marc Vetri is open to further education around allergies, intolerances, and gluten problems. One thing not addressed at all is the possibility that a person who has an intolerance to gluten can be experiencing the repercussions of FODMAPS. And, that is not specifically just about grains/gluten but about an intolerance to fructose (if I remember my literature correctly). So, Marc Vetri is not in a position to pass off grains/wheat as “healthy” for anyone who isn’t a celiac/gluten intolerant. The food intolerance research has only scraped the surface of all the various reasons why people cannot tolerate certain foods… I have a whole list of foods I still cannot eat after 3 years of gluten-free eating and greatly improved health. I just think that basic TOLERANCE with another person’s perceived intolerances is in order…. how many of us had absolutely NO idea what was wrong with us until we experimented with food elimination?? I would estimate that number would be in the thousands….

  31. What a great post. Well done on reaching out to Chef Marc Vetri. I haven’t time to read the original Huff Post article now but look fwd to reading it now in a more measured frame of mind (after reading this) and perhaps with a glass of wine in my hand 🙂

  32. Thankful for Whole Foods

    I agree with the chef…I would much rather eat delicious naturally nongluten real food than a GF substitute. I wish I lived close to his restaurants, I would go there right now! And, GlutenDude thank you so much for covering these issues and doing it with a sense of humor. I love that I can get educated and laugh at the same time. I loved that you started with the guitar question.

      1. … finish off a long, arduous day with some acoustic Bruce … to help soothe the soul…. what a great idea Dude…

        ” … thinking that … ain’t that young anymore … ain’t a beauty … no hero that’s understood … what else can we do now except roll down the window & let the wind blow … riding out tonight to case the promised land … Thunder Road … I got this guitar & … I’m pulling out of here to win…”

  33. Julie Rumreich

    Wow! I didn’t read the Huffington Post article, but sure read this with interest. Thank you so much, GD, for your work on this! I love that you took the time to get an interview with this chef and that he was willing to do the interview. I especially appreciated hearing what he had to say from a chef/restaurant point of view about creating food for those of us with CD or even other food issues. It makes me feel much better about my requests when eating out. Thanks so very much for following up on his article and having him explain some of the statements he made. As always, I SO appreciate all that you do for our community and how you draw us together as a community. Thank you!

  34. Interesting article and interview. I like to see the perspective of people who are dealing with the gluten free trend but aren’t so closely tied to it like those of us with celiac or ncgs. It is good to know that at least some restaurants are getting that there is a big difference between those of us with a real gluten issue and the posers. Still I get sick of being lumped in with the gluten craze fools who have no clue what they are talking about.

  35. Kimberly Kuehl

    Hello, I love that there 2 sides. For some reason, I don’t like anything he said, with a few exceptions.
    It’s wonderful you did interview.
    I just can hardly take the whole thing, celiac, GF, allergies. My last Dr. Visit is in top 2 of worst visit ever. She said so much negative crap about the fad and that celiac is “way over diagnosed” she would not allow me to say anything, focused on menstrual issues, which she was incorrect, as I predicted and she spoke to me like I was 4, maybe 6 years of age. Since that visit, 2 weeks ago, any chef, well always exceptions, yes he clarified and explained……..just pisses me off! I respect him as human being but if your going to own restaurant that can catour to anything, anyone, PLEASE RESEARCH OR HAVE A TEAM, PERSON WHATEVER REALLY RESEARCH.
    I agree it is our responsibility of our disease and I would not entertain thought of eating there, like I could:-)

    I can go to one restaurant, if I have to, and it takes 15 minutes to get it right, yes talked with chef beforehand, and they true are kind and patient with me, display no irritation.

    I can’t believe I sent a really angry reply. Maybe because I was just going to call a different Dr who misdiagnosed, prescribed wrong dose, and finally lost my labs???????

    I apologize for length of reply and I am a kind person who really cares; and cares for others.

    1. “I am a kind person who really cares; and cares for others.”

      I know you are Kimberly…no worries.

      And it seems Marc HAS done his research on keeping us safe, which is why I’d trust my health to him.

      1. Just make sure you’re a perfect expert and a good guesser, because if you order something with gluten in it, they won’t tell you; they enjoy a good laugh at the expense of their customers’ health.

  36. I think it’s also time for people in general to stop calling us “Celiacs”. We are PEOPLE that HAVE CELIAC DISEASE. Not sure about what others think, but it irritates Hell out of me to hear someone define me as a condition and not a fellow human being with the same feelings they have.

      1. I say “I’m a celiac” too. I refer to my friends with CD as “fellow celiacs” . I don’t think any of them mind at all. 🙂

        FWIW, my sister with diabetes says “I’m a diabetic”. It’s just a word.

        I don’t think it takes away from my humanity or who I am at all.

        I’m a lot of things and being a celiac is just part of who I am.

        I am a celiac advocate and proud of it, so I don’t mind the “label” if that’s what people want to call it.

        It doesn’t sound negative or derogatory to me.

        But to each his/her own.

  37. Master Chef Marc Vetri-

    I just researched you online and found some great positive things that you have done with your time and money. Thank you. Also, I found this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-vetri/marc-vetri-wheat_b_4741033.html

    I read it and found it semi well written. Since you would like wheat to be sexy again, how about writing an article for the Huffington Post about the antithesis (opposite). That for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, wheat is a poison to their bodies that will try to kill them if it remains untreated. Since you are so successful, certainly you would not mind doing this one thing for our celiac community that would certainly leave a mark.

    The gauntlet has been thrown.

    Jersey Girl

    1. Well stated Jersey Girl. I didn’t disagree with much of what he said, but the last thing we need is another article calling attention to the fad because we all know there’s been enough of that. We need true education on celiac and NCGS to be able to make any progress with the public perception. That’s not necessarily a chef’s responsibility because he’s not a doctor, but neither is calling people out for their dietary choices or mistakes.

  38. Hmm…practice, practice and more practice. I was afraid that was going to be the answer to the guitar question! Oh well, it also seems to be the answer to baking a decent loaf of gluten free (yep, the term is getting on my nerves too) bread. I have Celiac disease and am 10 months post diagnosis. No one even gave me a sheet of guidelines. ‘Don’t eat gluten’ was all the medical guidance I got. So I did two things. I got mad, demanded better medical care AND I educated myself. Okay that’s three things but getting mad definitely served its purpose. Did I make mistakes? Yes, but not many. I have yet to have a problem in a restaurant and I just returned from a 3000 mile 12 day road trip. I packed food, I researched restaurants everywhere, and asked LOTS of questions when needed. I have learned to educate others about what I need to stay safe, including doctors and dentists etc. I would never expect a restaurant to educate me. Good grief-I had to find a celiac specialist four hours from home who knew more than ‘don’t eat gluten’-why would I expect a restaurant to provide education? Now, I am also not stupid. I am well aware that I can be as careful as can be and still get accidentally glutened. However, I would be comfortable eating in this chef’s restaurant.

    I was not offended by the original article and understood the chef’s point, although I can see both sides about the title. I didn’t like it and it put me on the defensive immediately, but I see the chef’s point-I’m sure it caught people’s eyes and made them want to read more. I also think it’s important that we hear others’ points of view. I think I agree with Gluten Dude, that the woman was just into the gluten free fad and thus making life more difficult for those of us who truly have issues. If not, then I feel bad for her level of ignorance.

  39. I wasn’t offended at all by the article. I would totally eat at Marc’s restaurants. When I was given my celiac diagnosis (and grateful I was given one) no one told me that the world would take care of me. I was told that I had to be my own advocate and inform myself of what would make me sick. Honestly, I am still learning. I don’t think it is the server’s responsibility to inform me but I am very happy when the server/chef is informed.

  40. Betsy in Michigan

    I totally got from the article that the diner seemed to be a “poser”, and this does make people, whether they need to cook and/or eat GF, feel crazy. Have any of you ever worked in food service (or customer service, for that matter)? Customers regularly act nuts (the vegan cheese eater and vegetarian pate eater are pretty normal examples. Or the lady in the bookstore saying “I need a dictionary – one with a LOT of words in it”. Or the guy washing his hands like a raccoon under the water cooler that just runs onto the floor. And I have minimal expertise in this arena; those are just two of my “best” experiences ). When I read some of the HuffPo comments to Mark’s article, my first thought was “Did you know 50% of the population is of below average intelligence?”, and figured I needed to let it go at that.

    Yes, didn’t care for the title, but folks should know that the author is not always responsible for that, anyway – often it’s an editor.

    It would indeed be polite/snarky/appropriate to mention, as someone suggested, that they don’t have any gluten free beer!

    1. There are so many great moments in customer service, I love to laugh about them, and I never once forget that I am sure I have provided some doozies for others to laugh about too! Love the dictionary with lots of words.

      I asked my husband/chef of 30+ years what he would do if a gluten free customer ordered a beer. He said if he was a server he’d ask them if they realized the beer did have gluten! Of course, how simple! Then he said he has a friend who has to eat gluten free, (has been for over 10 years) but a barley beer is no problem. I guess those people do exist!

            1. According to the Mayo clinic “If you have a wheat allergy, you might also be allergic to barley, oats and rye — but the chance is slim. If you’re not allergic to grains other than wheat, a wheat-free diet is less restrictive than a gluten-free diet.”

              So it’s possible that someone with a wheat allergy might want to eat gluten free meals, but could enjoy a barley beer.

            2. I doubt Marc is serving corona in his restaurant, but the diner did not claim to be celiac either.

            3. What if she’s not a celiac at all? Everyone seems to think she was a celiac. But what if she’s simply allergic to wheat?

              Then Corona may very well be the beer she was drinking. Not only does it test below 20ppm, but she would be able to tolerate rye and barley. Or she might have had any beer short of a wheat beer. She may have chosen a beer which she found to be safe for HER.

              Just because we eat gluten free and can’t drink beer, doesn’t mean that this was true for her.

              This would explain her behavior and make sense of this story. If so, she probably had a great time and never had a problem with her choices.

            1. ..what exactly is your dealio Jennifer? 🙂

              Every single person who posts regularly to GD’s site (celiac or NCGS) has pretty much said this chef is okay…maybe we do not all agree with all parts of the article or some aspects of it, but none of us have a problem with how he handles GF diners.

              Even Mrs. Dude would dine there….

              …so what’s the problem?

            2. I’m coolio. Just have a different (but educated) view. Can’t expand your thinking by just talking amongst yer-selves.

            3. and the implication is…..we’re “uneducated”? about celiac, NCGS, and safe dining practices? that’s really funny.

              geesh… you’re winning friends and influencing people today, hon.


            4. lol I was defending myself because the implication is those who disagree don’t know what they are talking about.

  41. There isn’t enough music in the world to keep me soothed through those comments. I’ll stick to my peep’s comments here instead!

  42. It’s interesting that he states his job is to “highlight Italy and its regions” yet his take on gluten intolerance is very un-Italian. I just got back from a 2-week vacation in Italy, and the restaurants I visited took celiac very seriously, it was awesome! Italy is extremely celiac aware compared to other places, including the US. Once I informed the servers of my dietary needs, they usually bent over backwards to accommodate me. Often they would offer me gluten-free pasta or bread, and I had the best pizza of my life (baked in a special oven) in various establishments certified by their national celiac association. At one restaurant my family ordered cake, and the waitress felt bad because I couldn’t eat it, so she gave me a basket of strawberries from her own garden! If you suffer from celiac in Italy, restauranteurs are generally sympathetic to your plight; whereas is America, they just seem put out and irritated, which was the impression I got from his article.

  43. Mrs. Dude aka Doodles

    Kudos Chef Marc!

    Ummm…. I can think of a certain someone who would really enjoy a yummy night out before a certain upcoming surgery. Cough cough. Hint hint.

        1. Irish

          I should’ve known you’d catch that one – magnifico Italian food, wine, anniversary & all – might as well celebrate & then sail on through the surgery.

  44. I would eat at Marc’s restaurant anytime. I do believe it was the diner’s job to figure out whether she could have a beer or not. This is what happened to me recently when I ate at a restaurant. I spoke with the chef the day before to see what I could eat. When I arrived the hostess had my name in the computer and a note that I had celiac disease/gluten free. The waiter asked me some questions, the chef came out to go over what I could eat. I ordered a Kettle One martini up. The waiter said, “You know they make vodka from grains, we have a potato vodka instead.” I told him that distilled alcohol is gluten free that the distillation process takes out the gluten. He raised his brow and gave me a look as if he did not believe it. So I went ahead and had the potato vodka instead.

    For the very reasons that is being discussed here. If he wasn’t to believe my claim, which seemed to be the case, I will order order potato vodka every time I go out just so it does not seem I am being a “faddier.”

    Great post GD. Aloha IH !!

  45. I believe she didn’t know beer is gluten if she is recently diagnosed. Many people act surprised to hear that I can’t drink beer when they find out that I am gf. So unless you research for yourself there is a lot of misinformation listening to others. And yes that risotto could have gluten in the stock so I avoid a lot of foods that use stock while eating out.

    1. I find the exact opposite. As soon as I tell someone I can’t eat wheat, rye, or barley their follow up question is: wait so you can’t drink beer?

  46. While I can appreciate Chef Marc’s frustrations — particularly in light of his efforts to serve special gluten-free menu items — I just cannot get past that he felt he had to write such an article. I’d like to say I might like to eat in his restaurant someday, but I neither live in Philadelphia nor could I ever afford its $155-per-person prix fixe price tag. I’m sure that the experience is outstanding. But, honestly, for anyone coming to a restaurant, especially paying that kind of fare for the privilege of eating there, you’d think there would be a modicum of respect, even for someone who may not really “need” — according to his personal definition — to eat GF. Or who might be just kind of naive and not schooled in culinary matters. Or maybe she’s just new to all of this, and had a doctor who gave her a diagnosis without sufficient information (and I do digress, and that would be a rant for another day).

    It would seem that someone clearly needs to come into his restaurant with proper credentials for whatever eating style they may have chosen to follow to garner his respect. Perhaps he’d like a celiac diagnosis to accompany the request, or perhaps he could administer a test to see who knows more about gluten — the patron or the chef?

    But, were I to ever visit Vetri Ristorante, I suppose I should send the following back to the Chef, instead of the standard “Gluten Free” restaurant card:

    “Dear Chef,

    I am Gluten Free. I have chosen to eat at your restaurant today because I understand that you offer options prepared without using gluten. I plan to pay for my food without inquiring why it costs so much — and in return, I do not believe you should need to know or question my reasons for eating GF.

    I am an intelligent person who knows just about everything possible regarding the condition I have that prevents me from consuming gluten. And I know just about everything possible about gluten itself. This is a very serious part of my life.

    If I eat gluten, my throat will not swell up and I will not stop breathing. You will not have to call an ambulance. I will, however, be very ill for the next 48 hours, and, in the long term, my immune system will be threatened and weakened.

    Making the choice to be Gluten Free is a pain in the ass. Living “Gluten Free” is one of the hardest things I do, and I must never let up, not even for a single meal.

    For these reasons, I ask that you respect my situation. I understand that your restaurant cannot guarantee there will not be even a crumb of gluten in my food. I simply ask, as the professional you are, that you do your best to oversee the preparation of my meal in a fashion that will minimize any contact with gluten, without commentary or judgement, and I look forward to enjoying your wonderful food!

    Peace out.”

  47. His attitude is why I don’t eat out. And his article referred to gluten as being just wheat, so does he truly know what a Celiac needs? And if he did understand how deathly it can be for someone who needs to be gluten free, and he actually did care about his customers having a wonderful dinner, you would think he would have said something to her about the beer. I am glad you got to talk to him, but wish he would have shown a bit more knowledge about gluten intolerance not being an allergy and how hard it is for people to really trust that all the people on a restaurant’s staff understand that gluten poisons us. And the woman really might not have had a clue about the beer. He came off as arrogant, to me.

  48. Oh America, how I miss it. Can’t wait to get back.
    That Chef’s comments and replies here and on HuffPo are even keeled, polite and I see no arrogance anywhere.
    A proud professional.

    Disclaimer: I am not a Celiac, but support my two family members who are.

  49. I was finally able to see enough to read enough of the comments above to detect a wee bit of dissension in our wonderful community. I wish I could read all of each & every comment but I can’t.

    Similar to my comments to Dr. Chris a few days ago, Chef Marc’s article and the response/comments thereto remind me of our law school Torts Exams. Our Professor would write a scenario/set of facts with so many twists & turns and violations of rules of law, some controversial & some not, to see which students could accurately assess and write a well reasoned response to the exam. Just like we have different results in different jurisdictions’ courts (national, state, county & local etc) based on the same or similar set of facts & rules of law, we have many different opinions about the nature & intent of Chef Marc’s “set of facts” here in our beloved Community. Our reaction here is very common under the circumstances and specifically reveals the level of passion, intelligence & complexity of our Community & our mutual poisonous enemy, GLUTEN (not each other).

    Not being a Twitterer (Twit?!?) before “meeting” GDude, Chef Marc’s article’s “intolerance” and “knowing joking about customer behind her back to national media” also incensed me so much this last weekend that I tweeted over 100 times about this situation. I tweeted so much that GDude politely asked me to lay off Chef Marc while he conducted his interview. I went to my neutral corner until Sunday afternoon when I started receiving “notifications” to all of my tweets and “questions” to other Twitterers. You know me, I had to politely respond to everyone, no stone unturned. A lawyer boss when I was young told me, “Hap, you don’t have to get every nut on the tree like a squirrel when researching the law.” I still couldn’t help myself & did and 10 yrs later when that case came to trial & we won, that boss wrote a nice letter to me thanking me for my diligence.

    I say all of that to say, Laura and others (if I could see better, I would repeat your names) represented their arguments very well and made very good points. Especially when Marc used “intolerant” and then “joked” behind the guests’ back. As in the law and in picking apart Chef Marc’s article, “intent” is always critical when handing down a judgement/decision.

    I concluded after 100 tweets this weekend and the responses thereto that Chef Marc’s intentions were honorable for the most part, that he possesses some arrogance/ego (as many people in his position do) but that he generally means well even though we all haves faults. I commend Chef Marc for (1) bringing attention (good and bad) to gluten to further discussion and education and (2) being brave enough to expose his own personal flaws (character & otherwise) under a national spotlight in order to further education on this topic.

    This was an absolutely incredible discussion. I hope each & every Community member joins together proud that you contributed well to this discussion. Finally, let’s don’t let our real enemy, GLUTEN, divide us. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

    As someone said above, PEACE OUT. Rock on GDude, I slept like a baby after soothing my soul with some acoustic Bruce before bedtime.


    1. PS As very careful as I am about where I eat & which Chef/restaurant I trust, after all is said & done, I have a gut feeling I can trust Chef Marc to safely feed me some awesome not CC GF creations if for no other reason than because of the pride he personally feels in helping guests enjoy their meals (even though I am probably not on his short list of favorite people at the moment – which reminds me of lawyers who sue surgeons). I am certain there are many more reasons also.

  50. After all the discussion, I did not see if anyone mentioned this simple fact.

    If the diner did not believe him when he told her there were no gluten ingredients in the risotto (he knows all the ingredients–even the broth he made, I am sure– and he was giving her exactly what she asked for……..)


    why on earth would she believe him if he told her the beer had gluten in it?

    His comment “she”ll find out for herself” was the truth.

    Sometimes, when negotiating our way through life (GF or otherwise) the hardest lessons we learn come from our own unwillingness to listen.

    P.S. I did not find the chef arrogant or cruel or anything negative. I found him refreshingly honest. I know quite a few chefs, actually…and.they all just want to make people happy.

    and……… peace out. 🙂 .

    1. Irish

      You know how much I respect your opinion but I think I remember you saying you don’t tweet & please correct me if I’m mistaken. Some commenters perception of the appearance of “arrogance/ego/frustration/etc” from the Chef comes in part from some of his social media comments this weekend. I personally witnessed his extreme sarcasm to at least one tweeter, which could be interpreted as arrogance (not including some of his statements in the article) and which was unnecessary from the Chef in his powerful position of national spokesperson even though the twitterer was passionate but out of line. I can also understand the Chef’s frustration, commenting on social media & trying to run businesses. Some other examples include his judging that commenters are incorrect when there are always more than 1 side to every story & resulting conclusions. Since everyone can have a different point of I am willing to concede the Chef may be simply “confident in his own opinions from his POV” rather than arrogant in his own and the eyes of others.

      I would add some smiley faces here if this thing would let me.

    2. Irish

      I also agree with you that if the guest didn’t believe the Chef about the risotto then she sure wouldn’t let go of her beer long enough to believe him about the beer. I have friends who will fight you for their beer when you couldn’t get them to eat “rice or pasta” if their lives depended on it.

      Also as to the female twitterer to whom the Chef was sarcastic & condescending, he could have simply not retweeted her & ignored her comments like he did most others that didn’t help his point of view instead of displaying her by retweeting. I will also add that yesterday, after all of the discussion here and the good Chef’s willing participation, Chef retweeted a twitterer’s comments that were not at all complimentary.

      Again, I personally like Chef Marc after all of this and would gladly eat his creations.

      1. Marc is in no way 100% perfect here…I agree. He has been a little arrogant in some of his responses and seems to be relishing the attention more than I’d like to see. But we’re getting away from the main argument.

        Was the woman partly at fault? Absolutely.
        Would I trust Marc enough to eat at his restaurant? Absolutely.

        1. I’m not worried about if Marc is trustworthy, I’m worried about his influence. How has he just influenced the world for people who are still learning about their specific needs and make mistakes or have dietary issues that may not be easily pigeonholed.

          An example, someone who has issues with dairy, but can have maybe one serving of butter and be fine. Milk, cream, and most cheese is a no no, and lots of butter can be bad too. If they request a dairy free meal, but are seen putting butter on their roll, will the staff stop caring even more so because of this gotcha influence? Customers should not be put through that scrutiny. This isn’t even about just gluten intolerance, this affects all special dietary needs and how they will be accepted.

          Since that doesn’t apply to you, you may not care or understand those issues.

          1. I have ZERO desire to get into this today so I will finish up with this nugget…

            You are describing me as lacking empathy Jennifer, which is the exact opposite of who I am.

            And during the dining process, the customer was not put through any scrutiny. Sounds to me like she had a fantastic gluten free meal…until the beer.

            Drives me nuts when people refuse to take personal ownership. We need to stop blaming others for our weaknesses. We seriously need to man up.

            (A pirate walks into a bar with a steering wheel poking out from his pants zipper. The bartender says “Why do you have a steering wheel in your pants?” The pirate says “Arrrrr…she’s driving me nuts.”)

            And on that…good day to all.

            1. Since we’ve almost reached the end of this discourse regarding Chefs, beer and bars:

              A community and an autonomous individual walk into a bar.

              The members of the community each order a Tito. The autonomous individual surprisingly also orders a Tito.

              The puzzled bartender asks why the autonomous individual didn’t just order a Tito along with the community.

              One of the community members says, “Aw, we’re all the same but she just likes to think she acts independently because all of our spouses are cooks & she married a Chef.

              Hap the blind lawyer walks into a bar at 3:00 am with his 14 yr old seeing-eye Lab. Hap stands in the center of the bar, takes his dog by his leash, and starts swinging the poor old thing above his head.

              Everyone stops and stares. Upset about the way the old animal is being treated, a pirate drives up to the blind lawyer and demands, “What are ye doing?”

              The blind lawyer turns toward the pirate and says, “Oh, nothing, you wouldn’t believe what blind lawyers wake up thinking at 3:00 am so we just walked in to look around.”

              A Dude walks into a bar with his alligator on a leash.
              He says to the bartender, “Do you serve blind lawyers here?”
              “Sure,” says the bartender, “We don’t discriminate in any way.”
              “Good. I’ll have a beer, and give my alligator a blind lawyer.”

            2. One last thought before my next 90 minute sleep cycle:

              A pirate & a blind lawyer walk into an Apple Store to buy an iPatch. The Apple Genius asks the buccaneer, “Captain, how did you get your peg leg?”

              The Captain responds, “I drank too much ale one night and broke me’ ankle. The ship doesn’t have a doctor, so we cut it off and put the peg on thar.”

              The Genius expected a more exciting story so she asked how he got the hook. He responded, “Twas me night to cook and I wasn’t paying attention when cuttin’ the fish. Like before, we didn’t have no doctor te fix me up, so we put on the hook.”
              So then she just had to ask why both he & the blind lawyer needed an iPatch. The blind lawyer explained, “We were walking into a bar when a seagull flew overhead and its droppin’s fell right into my eye.”

              The Genius was confused. “That’s why you need a patch on your eye?”

              The Captain responded, “Well, I’d only had me hook a few days!”

          2. I’ve decided that maybe I have a different perspective because I am married to a fine dining chef, so I am privy to some back of the house conversations that the general public may not hear. I have great sympathy for chefs and all restaurant staff, it is a really tough job.

            Empathy is understanding that maybe a vegan eats cheese because the doctor has ordered them to consume more animal proteins and that is all they can muster, or the vegetarian eating foie gras indulges in that decadance once every year in a culinary toast to a long lost friend, or the reluctantly gluten free diner may be willing to tolerate the fall out from a beer because it has less of an affect on them and they are willing to take the chance to feel a little normal. Empathy is understanding its none of our business to judge.

            I did enjoy learning the perspective of your community here on this blog, it has given me some insights to consider such as some people are operating as more of a single minded community instead of an autonomous individual – there is good to be had there as there is power in community. I thank you for your time and letting me participate on this subject this week.

        2. Jennifer

          I know GDude cares or else he would not go through all of the unpaid pains he does advocating. I certainly care too or else I wouldn’t spend a second here when I only get paid by the hour. My pro bono clients will also tell you I care deeply.

          I, and I expect GDude also, agree the Chef’s influence matters; however, the education GDude provides during his advocacy regarding such influence is the main thrust of GDude’s advocacy on so many social media sites.

        3. Exactly.
          Look, as much as we rely on doctors to diagnose us, and treat us when we’re ill, do we expect them to give us all the information? I don’t. That’s why my GI referred me to a nutritionist when he diagnosed me. That’s why I ask a ton of questions. Nobody is perfect. Nobody. Ultimately my health is my own responsibility.
          If I had a heart condition, do you think I would want to hear a chef tell me I shouldn’t eat a steak? Maybe my analogy is fallacious, but if I want to drink a beer, I will drink a beer. (I won’t. But I could if I wanted to dammit!) Would I be making the rest of us look bad? Yup. Would I care? Well I’m drinking a damn beer.
          With what seems to be the prevailing attitude toward those of us who have cut out gluten being indifference, followed closely by disdain, I have to look out for myself. I also understand that I represent a community that, while small, has specific needs. If I stray from that path and eat or drink something publicly that I shouldn’t, it affects us all.
          So I send plates back and try not to be a jerk about it. I refuse food and drink offered socially and explain why, trying not to sound like a whiner.
          Really, who would agree with everything Chef Vetri said? He’s stirring up controversy to attract attention. To quote Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight: “Chefs do that!”
          I probably won’t be able to afford to eat at his restaurant, but hey, if I could, I would. Because he said he will make the effort to make sure I enjoy my meal and not get sick. I didn’t realize how big of a deal that is until a year and a half ago.

    3. It has been mentioned several times. The two incidents are not comparable. With the risotto, he gave her information and she assessed the risk level. She decided it wasn’t worth the risk. That is her right. It doesn’t matter why. She was trying to be cautious. Why should anyone take a chef’s word as their only consideration? How many times have any of us been served a dish that we were assured was GF that turned out not to be? Whether she was concerned about pasta being involved, or hidden danger In the stock, doesn’t matter. We have to weigh our own risks and that is no concern of the staff’s. With the beer, information that the staff knew about her risk level was purposefully withheld from her, even though they were fully aware of her concerns and efforts. She was not afforded the opportunity to make an informed decision, because the staff found it more amusing to mock her. No one can make any assumptions about what she would have done, because she wasn’t given that courtesy and respect.

      1. “Why should anyone take a chef’s word as their only consideration?”

        BUT….That IS exactly the whole point.!

        If she is concerned about “stock” or “risotto”…EVEN though she has been assured it is gluten free, then she should damn well know beer isn’t gluten free at all! REGARDLESS of the “reason for being GF”

        Either she is the savviest GF diner or she isn’t. You can’t argue both sides for her. You keep missing this point entirely.

        You may not like the chef’s approach, but this is the point:

        WE DO DEPEND ON THE CHEFS to know what the hell is in the food they prepare. I have never, ever had a bad experience with a chef who prepares all items from scratch. They are, in fact, the most reliable ones we have!

      2. I was surprised to see the discussion still ongoing tonight, but since it is, I might as well jump into the fray. As I said earlier, there are too many twists & turns in the “set of facts” set forth in Marc’s article for this to be a legitimate “one guest diner” example. I believe this article was “created” for advertisement, education &/or discussion, etc purposes with enough poetic license to write a novel. As we can discern from our comments alone, it certainly created discussion. Marc later lamented on Twitter that he wished his other topics would generate as much interest as “gluten”.

        Last weekend, a perceptive “Chicago restaurant critic Twitterer” noted that Marc would surely know dessert wine is not served in the same glassware as beer in Vetri’s, which is just one example that indicates Marc’s whole dining guest illustration is probably not “real”. Although there are some educational benefits of the article, I have some problems with many parts of the article as well. One example from Marc’s article:

        “I noticed a little bit of an amber-colored liquid in their glass, maybe a sweet dessert wine that is rich, sticky and delicious to end a meal on….They smiled and said, “We’ll just hang out and let the food digest a bit while we finish our beers.” “Sometimes,” I thought to myself, “the jokes are just for me!”

        Marc’s article attempted to be mostly educational but was also just another blatant example of the media making fun of and/or generating buzz with the gluten intolerant fad! One of Marc’s Twitter defender’s accused the glassware critic of going all “Internet Encyclopedia Brown” for noticing this detail. However this detail most likely reveals the “guest”, if not a hoax, is at the very least a conglomeration of GI issue examples.

        As many good legal arguments as Laura made above (if she’s not a lawyer/law student, she probably should be) and as much as I would enjoy dissecting each element of Laura’s and other’s legalistic arguments herein, I believe my time would not be well spent. I do not agree with each of Laura’s assumptions with the article’s “facts” nor all of her arguments; however, if (and it’s a big assuming IF with the stated “facts”) the guest intentionally ordered a non GF beer which the waiter served after the guest stated she was GI, as a matter of law, since Vetri’s puts forth it’s restaurant as a GF knowledgeable establishment, the trained server should have informed the guest the beer contained gluten. I fully understand and agree with Gemini’s et al concerns regarding “victimization” etc and I agree we should accept personal responsibility for our own well being; however, as a matter of law, Vetri’s can’t legally knowingly not inform the GI guest, legally then “joke” behind a guest’s back and then legally state she”ll “figure it out”, which by the way is no longer in the article. I thought I remembered “figure it out” language in the article too but it’s not there now. Laura, we simply can’t accurately assume the “beer contains gluten” info was intentionally withheld from the guest from the “facts” stated in the article regardless of whether the guest knew or didn’t know. The server was not quoted in the article and Marc’s assumed related statements were pure conjecture and/or “hearsay” as defined by the Uniform Rules of Evidence. To legally argue otherwise is a waste of time under the stated “facts”. We also don’t know the state of mind of the guest so we can’t make legal assumptions (negligence, intentional, etc) about what Marc/guest knew and/or didn’t know.

        Like Irish, I can’t agree with Laura that we can’t trust our Chefs as our only food choice consideration. I only go to restaurants where I specifically trust the Chefs and especially until I am certain cancer is no longer a problem for me. If my chef tells me I’m safe, then I believe him/her or I would not eat there. If I get sick, which I have, we discuss what happened for his/her education as well as mine. If I no longer think I can trust the food safety (which hasn’t happened yet at the few special restaurants I trust) then I don’t go back. I frequent these restaurants because they care and want to feed me, which I greatly appreciate. I am not demanding but I am VERY careful.

        Laura, I admire your passion & tenacity but I can’t agree with all of your assumptions about the facts. Further, Irish, Gemini and others have earned my respect over the last few months with their persistent advocacy and practical approach to educating folks about gluten and living a positive practical life to the fullest with CD.

        My main point is, like GDude stated several times in different ways, we need to stay focused on the important educational issues & benefits presented by Marc’s article and our discussion thereof as a unified Community of autonomous individuals (thanks to Jennifer with a chef husband). Marc’s article raises too many issues, leaves too many holes & invites too many optional assumptions to draw any exclusionary accurate legal conclusions. The article is only beneficial for educational discussion. Discussion is healthy and hones our offense/defense but a house divided against itself can’t stand. If I made any incorrect late night one eyed conclusions herein, I’m always happy to discuss further and to stand corrected. Again … Peace Out.

        1. There’s a lot we don’t know about this diner. She may not have been a celiac at all.

          As I pointed out on Facebook, she may have been allergic to wheat, but eats gluten free because it’s easier to order a GF meal. Some of the kids in my college campus gluten free group are wheat intolerant, but eat gluten free while on campus. The gluten free items are a subset of what’s safe for them to eat.

          Also she may have had a Corona beer. As the Gluten Dude noted in an October 8, 2013 article, Corona tests less than 20ppm of gluten. See: http://glutendude.com/alcohol/is-corona-gluten-free/

          Or she may have had ANY beer made from barley, as the wheat intolerant often can have barley and rye. Perhaps she knew what beer was safe for HER and had one.

          This points out that we should never judge another person’s choice when it comes to their diet. The gluten free diet isn’t the exclusive domain on celiacs, the NCGS, or anyone else. It’s up to each person to decide for themselves what is safe for THEM.

          It also points out that chefs should stick to doing what they do best: cooking. They aren’t doctors and they should make assumptions about what their guests medical conditions are. They’re free to roll their eyes if they like and chuckle. It only shows how little of the real world they truly know.

          1. Oops! That should have read:

            “They aren’t doctors and they should NOT make assumptions about what their guests medical conditions are.”

  51. There’s probably a few things in the original article that he could have rephrased somewhat, but that’s about it; if every chef on the planet was a clued in to what coeliac/celiac means, then we’d be doin’ OK. On balance, Marc’s one of the good guys, I think.

  52. Kimberly Kuehl

    Wow! I just finished reading all comments and I’m no longer worried of what I wrote. There is so much anger, suspicion…… People who are ill do get angry and all other emotions. I never made call to doc, I wasn’t feeling right, I knew, and yes sick today!! So in the end we, people with whatever issues(chronic health problems), have to fight, join GLUTEN DUDE:-) and find the right doctor. I’m now heading, I think) to neurologist in Madison, who is very interested in celiac and autoimmune system. Most of all he sounds caring and listens. This is coming from family member who has dealt with the oddest, most awful symtoms for 2 years. His words to her, not verbatim, we’re why was this done, that did not need to be done, you have been like this for 2 years!!!! She received call yesterday from DR!!, who said I found several concerns with immune system and to come in. Anyway, Chef is a big deal, celebrity, has knowledge, said the right things during interview, yet I wouldn’t eat there:-):-) thank you for reading, and again all u do for community!

    Ps I have friend in same place as spouse, well a little further along, who is doing excellent, starting to feel good and happier than I have seen all year. Always am wishing you the best of best.

  53. I think that you are right that we should not be cutting wheat out of our diets. Anybody who has no issue whatsoever with gluten and has not been medically diagnosed with celiac disease should still consume some wheat and have just a balanced meal plan.
    As for the customer if she truly does have gluten intolerance than I would think that she should have the basic knowledge of what foods have gluten in them. I mean if I had issues with gluten then the first thing I would do is research what foods I can and cannot eat. Thats just me anyways.

  54. Dear GD,

    It’s Monday morning. 🙂

    I have never seen so much blatant, pointless speculation since the
    last time Geraldo Rivera tried to “analyze”” something.

    For the love of mike, I beg you: please, please post something new for people to focus on today.

    Or maybe we should all grab a good book and go sit on the beach?

    Just sayin………

    Your buddy,

    1. I’ve met the kids (young adults) in the Univ. of Pittsburgh’s campus gluten free group and I’ve learned an important lesson from them.

      Lots of people eat gluten free for varying reasons. It’s not the exclusive diet of those with any one illness. Some of the kids are celiacs. Some are like me and are NCGS. Some are allergic to wheat. Others eat this way because someone in their family has an illness, etc.

      While we have much in common there are differences in what we eat and there are reasons for those differences. It’s best not to judge others for the choices that they make. They’re doing what works for them.

      The group is really wonderful because they support each other. I’ve been asked to be their faculty/staff sponsor and honored to accept. It’s a wonderful positive feeling to meet with people who share so much of my experience.

        1. Yes, it is amazing how different everyone was, yet we all had so much in common. Those allergic to wheat obviously can eat rye and barley, yet choose to eat from the gluten free buffet because it’s guaranteed to be wheat free.

          It’s also interesting to see how differently we react to being glutened. The wheat allergic carry epipens, for example. Some get sick right away, others take a few days to notice the effects.

          It’s a very wide community. But we also have much in common. The time it took to get a proper diagnosis, for instance. Our coping strategies are much the same. We all needed to learn how to read labels too. We have far more in common than we have differences.

          We have a common foe — gluten — but not necessarily a common illness.

  55. We are a group of volunteers and strting a new scheme in our community.
    Yourr web site provided us with valuable info
    to work on. You’ve done aan impressive job and our entire community will be thankful too you.

  56. The server could have easily said “we have these two beers that are gluten free, or would you prefer the one you ordered which does have gluten?”
    In Sevierville, Tennessee we have an amazing waitress at Red Lobster who is very watchful for us. She, herself is allergic to seafood, and is very careful that we don’t get gluten-whacked. Anytime you are visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park, scoot over to Sevierville and ask for Mallory.

  57. Hi CD & everyone. Just arrived here. Read all the posts in this thread. There are some very good discussions & points made. Obviously people have been on an amazing health journey and sharing lots of information and care. As for the restaurants, I’ve mostly stopped eating in them even though my son-in-law owns one. His food and his health savvy are way above average – but he is not ready to take on GF. (yet… 😉
    I’ve been dealing with gut issues (and some other symptoms) for several months and i think I may be NCGS (just looked that up, lol) although I’ve been a healthy vegetarian for over 30 years. Do you have any recommendations of books or articles to begin educating myself about GF – other than Grain Brain or Wheat Belly (which I have not and don’t intend to read.) Thanks for your time and consideration.

    1. Stay away from those that push pseudo-science like the two you mentioned. Jennifer Esposito has a best seller out (Jennifer’s Way) that’s awesome. Tons more out there…but I live it enough that I choose not to read about it too much.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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