Monday, December 14, 2009

Felt like a GF Ritz Carlton Buckhead

I recently attended a Christmas party for my husband's work. I followed my own advice for GF Party Etiquette and contacted the catering department of the hotel throwing the party. I spoke with a very nice young lady who told me either her or the Executive Chef would call me back. They were very familiar with the term/definition of gluten free and assured me there would indeed be plenty of 'safe' food for me to eat.

Imagine my surprise when I was contacted the next day by the Executive Chef himself. I wasn't able to return his call prior to the event, but he gave me his cell phone number and asked me to call him directly. Of course, I lost the piece of paper on which I wrote the number, so when I arrived at the hotel, I spoke with a staff person. I relayed my story and told her that the Chef asked me to inform him when I arrived.

The Chef came out from the back and offered to prepare me a meal in the back to ensure that it was free from cross contamination and asked me what I liked to eat. I told him that I liked just about anything and thanked him for his willingness to meet my dietary needs. To this he replied "it is my pleasure".

About 10 minutes later he arrived with a beautiful plate of food that included: an avocado and tomato salad, sliced grapefruit, shrimp cocktail with a spicy sauce and two beautifully seared lamb chops. The plate was decorated with a palm leaf and each food item was in its own dish with a garnish. As I walked across the room to sit at a table, my food was the envy of everyone. Many heads turned to see what I was eating.

To say my food was good is an understatement. Not only was it fabulous, but I felt like a GF Queen. The rest of the diners didn't have lamb, or the two salads and I am pretty sure my shrimp cocktail was prepared fresh. How wonderful to attend a party and feel like my needs were not only considered, but exceeded in every aspect.

"It is my pleasure" should be the motto of all restaurants and food service industries. I am already thinking of reasons to go back to the hotel and eat for random occasions.

Don't be afraid to eat out and don't be afraid to discuss your dietary concerns with the staff. You never know what lengths the staff is willing to go to meet your needs.

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