Okay, so there has been a lot of buzz lately around Chef (and I used the term lightly) Damian Cardone and the now infamous Facebook post he made. I was not even going to comment because I felt it gave him the attention he was clearly looking for but I just could not sit this one out. So here’s my two cents from a personal perspective…
Having been diagnosed Celiac approaching 10 years now and also suffering from a severe shellfish allergy, I rely on the entire restaurant from servers to chef to help me navigate safely when dining out (which I do quite often). To hear that someone would purposely go out of their way to cause harm is shocking. While gluten will not kill me instantly – shellfish will. I am actually hyper-allergic and one bite and it is Epi-Pen time and a gamble as to whether or not I’ll die. Food allergies are a matter of life and death for many of us and for someone, particularly the one controlling the kitchen, to allegedly go out of their way to cause harm is mind boggling.
Believe me, I get the whole backlash against the gluten-free fad for those who are not Celiac or intolerant being somewhat hard to understand as a Celiac. If I could eat whatever I wanted, believe me, I would be eating gluten like it was going out of style. However if someone chooses not to eat something for whatever the reason, I totally respect that, and they should be able to do as they like. Do I sometimes feel that when I request “gluten-free” that the server or chef might think it is a preference – absolutely – which is I always quantify it with “I am allergic” and “shellfish will kill me”. It seems to help drive home that I am not just being a picky eater.
I can safely say in all my travels around the globe I have never had a serious allergy-related incident. Have I been “glutened”? Sure have (though very rarely and not in years) and I know we have all been there – nothing is 100% when out and about. Have I had any issues with shellfish – not a one. Will I ever let my conditions rule my life? Not a chance in H-E-double hockey sticks.
Oh, and Mr. Cardone, if you knew what Celiac disease actually was you’d know that the results of the damage you caused do not necessarily manifest themselves instantly – but then again, why would you care?
To learn the full details on the Facebook post that ignited what Zagat Buzz now calls Gluten-Gate 2011 head-on over to their Web site or just Google the “chef’s” name.
…Okay, rant over.