From those who make the choice to go gluten-free for lifestyle reasons, to those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities, many people today follow a gluten-free diet. Therefore, this is something every event planner needs to be aware of! It’s important to incorporate gluten-free catering menu options to ensure all guests can enjoy the event!
What does Gluten Free Mean?
Gluten is a protein found primarily in wheat, rye, and barley, which can take the form of anything from bread, pasta, breading seasonings, and sauces. Those with gluten sensitivities can react from ingesting gluten the size of a crumb, so it’s crucial that caterers monitor and prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination can occur during food prep, cooking, or while serving. It can be as simple as using the same spoon to stir the gluten-free pasta, as is used to stir the regular pasta.
Catering Menu Variety
From grilled romaine lettuce salads, and savory roasted brussels sprouts, to Mediterranean chicken and iceberg lettuce tacos; gluten-free doesn’t mean offering dishes reminiscent of cardboard. If you have gluten-free VIP guests or a larger number of regular guests that follow a gluten-free diet, you may opt to include some gluten-free alternatives such as gluten-free bread, desserts, and pasta. Or, you may decide to stick to foods that are naturally gluten-free such as fresh meats, fish, poultry, legumes, dairy, rice, potatoes, fruits, and vegetables. Note, seasonings and sauces can add gluten to these naturally gluten-free products, so never assume a dish is gluten-free. Be sure to be clear with your caterer if you want a dish to be gluten-free.
Consider Different Cuisines
There are some cuisines that tend to contain larger amounts of gluten. Take traditional French fare, which uses a flour-based roux in most sauces. However, other cuisines are naturally safer bets, or can easily be converted! Greek and middle eastern cultures focus on simply grilled proteins and vegetables, stews, rice, and chickpeas. Thai dishes get their umami from fish sauce instead of the wheat-containing soy sauce found in other Asian dishes. Thai cuisine also uses rice paper for spring rolls, rice noodles for pad Thai, and jasmine rice for curries. Mexican and other Latin American foods are often rice and corn-based, or have dishes that can easily be converted to gluten-free versions like masa-based corn tortillas for tacos, rice, and beans, plantains, whole roast chicken. And Italian may be a surprising addition to this list, but consider spiralized vegetable noodle pasta, gluten-free pastas, risottos, polenta, cured meats, and cheeses.
What to Expect from a Gluten Free Caterer
Use a caterer who specializes in gluten-free catering menus. They will know how to properly prepare and serve the food. This will mean a safer and tastier result. Specific things to discuss with your caterer is if they use different pots/pans/utensils when cooking gluten-free foods. Make sure they have a protocol for preparing, cooking and serving gluten-free options safely. They may have even received a gluten-free training or certification.
Messina’s Catering & Events
Meeting the dietary needs of everyone at a catered event is challenging, especially when these needs are medically necessary. We always recommend customers incorporate some gluten-free items into their catering menus. We have lots of gluten-free menu items available, and are always open to new inspiration from our clients! As a third-generation, family-owned and operated business celebrating 58 years, Messina’s Catering and Events has become a leader in providing gluten-free catering menus for our catering customers. Our award-winning Executive Chefs Leon West and Mark Daniels have created delicious and unique gluten-free catering menu options. Doing so will ensure all your guests enjoy a delicious and safe meal.