Friday, May 8, 2015

Catering a Gluten-Free Graduation

May will be coming to an end soon, and aside from my constant sniffling and sneezing because of all these beautiful new flowers, you know what that means: Graduation season is upon us.

With graduation season comes graduation parties! These fun-filled, memory-making milestones are stressful enough to plan that some people forego finger foods, cake or cooking altogether in favor of catering, and while that’s a fine option, it can prove dicey for the gluten-free crowd.

While a party thrower can review the RSVP list and make sure his or her menu and kitchen supplies are up to the task of staying gluten free, outsourcing your recent grad’s party edibles to a caterer puts gluten-free guests at their mercy. Will the gluten-free options on their menu be sufficient? Do they double-use utensils? For gluten-free partygoers, the possibilities are not fun to ponder!

To ensure the next graduation gala you oversee is remembered only for its fun and efficiency, here are some gluten-free tips to check in with your caterer about!

Q: Does their gluten-free menu extend beyond just what they happen to have laying around?
    Any kitchen could probably scrounge up a few things that are gluten free – potato products, rice dishes, vegetable trays, etc. – but you want your guests to really enjoy their meals. When choosing a caterer, make sure their gluten-free offerings are up to par, and not just an after-thought.

Q: How experienced are they with gluten-free catering?
    Certainly, a business’ new venture could be of higher caliber than a similar offering that a competitor has been doing for some time. However, there are so many misconceptions about gluten-free diets that it may be wise to choose experience and tried-and-true methods over a start-up. Check those online review sites for guidance.

Q:Do they use dedicated cookers and utensils for gluten-free dishes?
    Cross contamination is one of the biggest ways gluten-free diners ingest gluten. Separate or properly prepared ovens, unique utensils, dedicated fryers and the like are must-haves when preparing gluten-free dishes alongside regular ones. Gluten can also hide in sauces and garnishes, so make very sure your caterer knows their stuff! A request to visit their kitchen before putting that deposit down might not be a bad idea!

Q: Do they provide gluten-free beverages?
    If you want your catering to be comprehensive, be careful. Caterers might get the meat of the menu down when it comes to gluten-free options, but gluten-free beverages are a necessity for guests – especially those of legal drinking age. Gluten-free goers can still partake in the fun of the party with new gluten-free alcohols and beers. So make sure you don’t leave the gluten-free friend out of the toast – understand beforehand that the caterer is prepared with a gluten-free drink options as well!

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