1. FOOD CULTURE: Gluten-free Back of the House
Gluten-free is more than a trend; it’s a way of life for millions of Americans. And chefs—initially under-informed and skeptical about removing gluten from their menus—are now making strides to feed, please, and protect diners who can’t eat gluten. At this year’s ICC, Blogger Shauna Ahern and her chef husband Daniel Ahern told the personal tale of Shauna’s celiac diagnosis and Daniel’s quest to feed her, ultimately making his Seattle restaurant 100 percent gluten free. In NYC, Chef Franklin Becker uses a lexan “survival kit” of pots, pans, towels, and utensils when cooking for guests with celiac and food allergies. We just ate gluten-free mousse cake and pizza at Chef Mark Ellman's Honu Seafood and Pizza (two notoriously glutenous food genres) in Lahaina, Hawaii. Even fast-casual operators are getting into the game. Chef Shaun Doty of Yeah! Burger transformed the guts of his Atlanta chain, building out air-tight rooms for gluten-free prep and using separate utensils, fryers, and cutting boards for gluten-free items—and ultimately making some of the best onions rings we’ve ever had (that just happen to be gluten free).