The Surgery - How do I cater for Gluten intolerant customers?

By Mark Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wheat, Coeliac disease

The Surgery's tips on catering for coeliacs

Dear Surgery: We seem to be getting more and more customers with an intolerance to gluten. What is the best way to cater for coeliacs?

The Surgery says: The number of coeliacs certainly does seem to be increasing, with one in 100 people in the UK affected by the condition.

Coeliac disease is a life-long inflammatory condition caused by a reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, and similar proteins found in rye, barley and oats. This obviously makes it difficult for people when they eat out, and more and more pubs and restaurants are increasing the number of dishes on the menu which are gluten-free.

Chef Lee Groves of the Sherbourne Arms in Northleach, Gloucestershire, has a number of regular customers who are coeliac and a number of the dishes on the menu are marked as "gluten free".

He says: "Apart from bread, pasta and Yorkshire puddings, we can pretty much tailor any dish for coeliacs. I don't use gravy granules so if I've got three roasts on Sunday - such as pork, beef and chicken - I make the relevant gravy by using the appropriate bones. The thickening is done by reduction, and not by flour or gravy granules. I would say that 90-95% of our menu is gluten-free. I even try to make as many desserts as possible without using flour. My advice to chefs is that they should be able to adapt most of their dishes for people who have a wheat intolerance. If, for example, somebody wants fish and chips but they can't eat the batter because it has flour in, then you can offer them a plain, grilled fish with the chips. If they want a rhubarb crumble and custard, then let them have just rhubarb and the custard."

For more information about gluten intolerance, call the Coeliac UK helpline on 0870 444 8804, or go on-line to visit their website at

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