Do you picture a red faced angry chef, blood boiling and sweat dripping from his brow, when someone at the table reels off their long list of food intolerances?
There’s no denying that each year as a Chef I see more and more dietary requirements and food intolerances.
Catering at home for several different diets on a single table can be difficult, with so many ingredients to juggle and timings to manage it can be challenging for any cook.
‘At Your Table’ would like to offer a few insider tips and ideas in regards to catering for dietary requirements and food intolerances when cooking at home or serving a dinner party.
Many chefs will turn up their nose at a vegan or someone looking for a gluten free pasta. However with a huge shift in focusing on our health and wellbeing, more people are paying greater attention to what they eat and how it makes them feel.
It’s an exciting and evolving trend meaning chefs have to be flexible and creative to please the customers needs. Adopting this approach at home can give your dinner party another level of professionalism and make your life a damn sight easier.
The best way to cope with the possibility of numerous diets or intolerances is to be prepared and take a few things into consideration when planning a menu.
When I write a menu I like to involve at least one if not a couple of intolerance friendly sauces or garnishes. There is no shortage of delicious, exciting alternatives that pack just as much flavour and often highlight the simple complexities of an ingredient.
Having a couple of things on hand like this gives a few options should you need to put together a unique user friendly dish al’ a minute.
Some of my favourites include;
This is a white almond puree which I blend with lemon, chardonnay vinegar, garlic and filtered water. It is naturally creamy, quick to make and, therefore, offers a great substitute for a diary component or as part of a Paleo diet.
Kale & Pepita Pesto
A chunky thick Kale, preserved lemon and Pepita seed pesto is another great dressing, with no nuts, dairy, onion or garlic it is really diverse and matches well with most meats – it is also fantastic with a piece of roasted white flesh fish.
Grains & Pulses
I frequently involve some form of pulse or grain in a menu. Often I will have pearl barley, quinoa or buckwheat at hand offering some sustenance should I have a vegan or low G.I. diet to cater for.
A dark flourless chocolate cake with blood orange and candied hazelnuts is a great gluten free dessert.
Chia seeds soaked in a spiced vanilla syrup topped with fresh fruits, toasted coconut and macadamias is a delicious dairy free option.
Considering what you could rustle up at any given moment when planning a menu really is the key to leaving your options open. It’s an exercise that I and many of the other ‘At Your Table’ chefs perform regularly.
It will help you find your creative palate as you consider new fangled flavour combinations, you may even come up with some new favourite dishes planning this way, I know I have!
Do you have any favourite dishes or garnishes you would like to share? Any tips for dealing with intolerances or crowd pleasing recipes?
Just post up in the comment box, we would love to hear your ideas.