Call ahead to talk to the chef or waiter
Highlight what foods are gluten-freeWhen a food has less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten so it is safe for people with coeliac disease to eat.
and suitable to eat. Provide specific examples of what is not safe, for example:
- wheat flour in sauces
- oil used for foods that contain glutenA protein that is found in the cereals wheat, barley and rye.
If an ingredient is bought-in, such as stock cubes, they can check the ingredients’ list as they are covered by the same EU-wide labelling laws as foods in the supermarket. You may also need to explain why it is vital to avoid any contamination with foods that contain gluten.
If there is nothing suitable on the menu, ask if the chef could cook something else gluten-free. Many restaurant chefs are happy to do this once they know the reason for the request.
Communicate with the waiting staff
- Talk to the waiter(s) once you arrive at the restaurant to explain coeliac diseaseA condition where a person is unable to eat gluten as it makes their body attack itself.
and what forms a gluten-free diet.
- Ask what menu items might be suitable.
- Clarify that it is not an allergy in the event a mistake happens.
when ordering takeaways
- Fish and chip shops: avoid chips if they are cooked in the same oil as battered fish. Removing batter from fish does NOT make it safe to eat as it will already have been contaminated with gluten.
- Chinese: avoid wheat noodles and soy sauce. Be careful of contamination if dishes that contain gluten are cooked in the same pan as your food.
- Indian: avoid breads. Most dishes are thickened with chickpea flour which is gluten-free, but remember to check.
- Pizza: conventional bases are unsuitable for people with coeliac disease. Some chain outlets can cook your gluten-free pizza bases if you supply them with one, although contamination in the kitchen may be an issue.
- Fast food: Check out the Venue Guide for fast food restaurants or check the website of the chains for their nutritional information.
Contact your local VOLUNTARY SUPPORT group
They may be able to recommend good places to eat out where other Members have had positive experiences.
Access our Members’ venue guide
Find out if there are restaurants, cafes or pubs near you that other Members recommend in the venue guide. Also, if you have a positive experience, you can recommend the restaurant or pub on our venue guide so others in your area can benefit. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and we will confirm with the establishment.
Raising awareness among the catering industry is an ongoing and key aim for Coeliac UK. We have a dedicated area on our website for caterers, the Food industry professionals section, so you can direct people to this page.