Catering for dietary requirement is one of the main ‘pain points’ of our clients. Luckily, we do it beautifully. This is hugely important to me as I have been a Coeliac on a gluten free diet since I was 5 years old!
Knowing what dietary requirements mean is the first struggle in ordering. Here are our most frequently ordered ones:
Gluten Free (GF)
The Gluten Free diet is one where they cannot eat wheat, barley, oats, rye and any by-products of these (e.g. malt) . Lots of products contain wheat and it is what supplies the protein in a baked good (like a scones) that makes it springy and tasty. This means the bad GF food substitutes are often dry, crumbly, sweeter and untasty. Don’t worry, there are tasty options too!
Coeliac diet (GF)
Coeliac is the name of the disease which means that a person has to eat a Gluten Free diet. These people are severely allergic to gluten and cross-contamination of foods can lead to stomach cramps, rashes, bloating and trips to the toilet. It is a genetic thing, so treat them with kindness!
To clarify, someone who is a Coeliac will always be on a gluten free diet but not all people on a gluten free diet are coeliac.
Dairy Free (DF)
Dairy Free diet is the removal of all the fun things in baking; butter, milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream. If you are baking for them you need to find recipes that are based on oils or eggs rather than dairy items. Once again, people with this allergy can end up with severe cramps if you feed them the wrong things.
Lactose Free (LF)
Lactose is an sugar present in dairy. You can now find lactose free dairy items in super markets. They go through a special treatment process which kills off the sugar. Most popular brand of lactose free items is Liddels and they have a range which includes lactose-free cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and milk.
To clarify, some people are dairy free & lactose free, others are just lactose free. Worth checking with them as it will give you more options!
Vegetarians cannot eat any meat products. Leave out any meats (even bacon!). Some vegetarians also avoid eggs and some eat fish. I have given up on second guessing them, so leave out meat by default and they can let you know of any other specifics.
Vegan (Plant based diet)
Vegans do not eat any animal products. This includes meats, diary, fish, eggs and even honey (yes, those poor bees). To cook for them you need to focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, sugar cane or syrups for sweeteners.
Hope this helps! The good news is your caterer should have options or adjustments within their menu to suit everyone.