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Special menu items for dietary restrictions are about inclusiveness

on January 23, 2017 1 comment

We’ve all had one of “those days” at a restaurant: the “I want one of everything, I can’t decide what I want, it all looks so good, I’m stuffed but I’ll have dessert,” days.

While this carefree dining experience is an afterthought for most, it can be difficult for individuals with dietary restrictions due to allergies, religious reasons, or personal preferences. However, special menu items for gluten allergies, lactose intolerance, veganism, etc, can be equally enjoyable for all guests when a restaurant puts the same quality and attention into every dish.

With dietary restrictions, communication and knowledge are key

The inclusive fine dining experience is all about producing quality and tasty dishes while accommodating those with dietary restrictions. Inclusive restaurants will know how to welcome each guest through staff education, open communication, and details that add a nice touch to your dietary needs.

A key to creating an ideal inclusive dining experience is to speak with staff as soon as possible regarding your dietary needs. Communicating your needs during the reservation or seating process will give the staff ample time to suggest the perfect dish. These suggestions might already be indicated on the menu, or could be a unique creation that caters to your specific needs.

The inclusive restaurant experience will also prepare its personnel to know what foods and dishes are included under specific dietary needs. The staff is prepared to suggest what meatless dishes satisfy vegan requirements, or what antipasto dishes are gluten free.  

Excluding an ingredient doesn’t have to damage taste and texture

A great chef will make something for guests regardless of dietary restrictions. It could be as simple as excluding an ingredient from an existing dish, or creating a customized dish to meet a guest’s dietary needs. For example, requesting to have spaghetti made with gluten-free pasta imported from Italy satisfies a dietary need while maintaining authenticity.

For more complex needs, fresh off-menu dishes can be created with quality ingredients. Each dish will be approached with the same sense of creativity as seen with creating a seasonal menu.

This guest-friendly, adaptable chef spirit is best said by il Giallo’s Jamie Adams: “If I have the ingredients, I’ll make anything a guest wants.”

Inclusive restaurants shouldn’t try to be everything to everyone in a single dish

Not every meatless item should be gluten-free. Not every organic item will be locally sourced, and so on. Vegan, gluten-free, locally-sourced, organic, fair-trade spaghetti simply might not be cost effective or possible to make. Pushing to cater to everyone’s needs at once will only subtract from each dish’s authenticity, quality, or taste.

Essentially, it’s going to take more than one or two special menu items to be inclusive.

The ideal inclusive restaurant will know how to adapt to each unique dietary need while using available ingredients. The restaurant staff will communicate to guests what existing dishes satisfy certain dietary needs, and will accommodate orders that go beyond the typical menu fare.

Knowing that an inclusive restaurant may have its limits, but still prioritizes a welcoming and quality dining experience, is an empowering way to approach the inclusive fine dining experience.

From il Giallo Osteria and Bar: Great attention to any dietary restriction is of the utmost importance with various food allergies and individual health needs. We’ll use this attention to produce a delightful and inclusive fine dining experience that emphasizes our dedication to guest satisfaction and creative, tasty food.

Addison WilliamsSpecial menu items for dietary restrictions are about inclusiveness

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  • Mary Yates - January 24, 2017 reply

    This is a very warm and welcoming message, Chef Jamie! My husband Charlie and I are frequent guests, and I know from past experience that you mean every word. Thank you.

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