The Food Network still hasn’t added a gluten-free cooking show to its prime time line-up, or well at all, but that doesn’t mean that our nation’s top chefs haven’t started taking the gluten-free diet seriously. Whether launching dedicated gluten-free product lines or implementing gluten-free menus in their restaurants, these culinary geniuses have started catering to the growing gluten-free community in big ways.
So who’s doing what?
Chef Guy Fieri
The bleached blond, spikey-haired culinary mastermind Chef Guy Fieri is a national icon for down-home American comfort food. And even though he appears on multiple top-rated shows on Food Network (Guy’s Big Bite and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives), a prime time game show (NBC’s Minute to Win it), and has written two best-selling books, this high-energy chef still had time last year to create a new line of gluten-free barbeque sauces and salsas. And, his two restaurants—Johnny Garlic’s (www.johnnygarlics.com) and Tex Wasabi’s (www.texwasabis.com) —easily accommodate any gluten-free request that comes their way. Both restaurants received gluten-free protocol training from experts associated with the North Bay Celiac Support Group (www.northbayceliacs.org).
Fieri says that his quest into the gluten-free world began simply because people kept asking for it. At every stop he made while filming his hit shows and in his restaurants, fans would ask about gluten-free options, so he said, “I just had to do it.”
Chef Ming Tsai
Chef Ming Tsai is no stranger to the spotlight of culinary television. Ming received an Emmy award in 1998 for his Food Network show East Meets West with Ming Tsai. And today, he’s the host and executive producer of the public television show SIMPLY MING where in 2009 he received two Emmy nominations for his “Outstanding Culinary Program.” Chef Ming is truly a master chef with a culinary point of view that combines the best flavors of the East and West. His Boston-based restaurant Blue Ginger (http://ming.com/blueginger.htm) has impressed diners for more than a decade with its innovative menu and bold flavors. Not only is he a great chef, but he is also a tremendous advocate for the food allergy community.
As the national spokesperson for the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), Chef Ming has worked tirelessly to further education on food allergies and raise awareness amongst chefs on the need to properly accommodate diners with special dietary needs. He was a key advocate on recent legislation that was signed into law by the Massachusetts Legislature that requires restaurants to comply with certain food allergy awareness guidelines. Of course, this work started in his restaurant where diners can enjoy the most lavish of gluten-free meals with no worries of ever getting sick. The gluten-free menu at Blue Ginger can be viewed here: http://ming.com/blueginger/dinner/gluten-free-dinner-menu.htm
For more on Chef Ming Tsai’s gluten-free efforts, be sure to check out the summer 2012 issue of Delight Gluten-Free Magazine (www.DelightGlutenFree.com) which will feature an in-depth interview with the chef as well as some of his mouthwatering recipes!
Chef Thomas Keller
He may not appear regularly on national television, but the lights are constantly shining on Chef Tomas Keller. His accolades are extremely impressive. In 2001, he was named "America's Best Chef" by Time magazine. In 2003, Johnson & Wales University conferred upon him the honorary Degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts for his contributions to the culinary industry. Additionally, Chef Keller is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three star ratings by the Michelin Guide. Yeah, he’s a foodie rockstar and now he’s doing gluten-free too!
Last fall, Chef Keller—owner of eight restaurants and two bakeries including Per Se (http://perseny.com/) and Bouchon Bakery (http://www.bouchonbakery.com)—launched a gluten-free all-purpose flour called Cup4Cup (http://cup4cup.com/). The flour came as a result of a partnership between Chef Keller and his research & development chef at French Laundry, Chef Lena Kwak. With a passion for cooking for others and an interest in nutritional science, Lena began developing a gluten-free flour that offered a successful alternative to the traditional flour that was used in the French Laundry quick breads, desserts and brioche. I’ve tried out the flour numerous times and its’ truly amazing.
The Cup4Cup flour is now used in all of Chef Keller’s restaurants to accommodate gluten-free patrons. Whether it’s bread at the table, a cookie from the bakery, or Chef Keller’s famous Cornet of Marinated Atlantic Salmon with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraiche, every bite of gluten-free goodness will leave you eternally grateful that this incredible chef decided to tackle gluten-free baking!
I’d like to end this post by offering a HUGE thank you to these three inspirational chefs for taking the time out of the busy schedules to make dining out a truly remarkable experience for those living a gluten-free lifestyle.
Posted on Fri, December 23, 2011
by Vanessa Maltin Weisbrod filed under