We’re coming up on a very special time of year: May, aka National Celiac Awareness Month. There are oodles of activities that happen during May, but one of our favorites is the Gluten Intolerance Group’s Chef to Plate Campaign.
To borrow from the GIG’s own description, “the Chef to Plate Campaign is a grass-roots campaign designed to help spread awareness of gluten intolerance through the use of restaurants that offer a gluten-free menu. It is free for restaurants to join. We simply ask that they post educational table tents and/or posters during the month of May—to celebrate National Celiac Awareness Month.”
Hundreds of restaurants around the world participated last year, reaching more than 7 million diners. This year there are more than 1,400 restaurants participating — more than a 50% increase from last year’s event!
If you’ve ever been burned by a restaurant that doesn’t keep a gluten-free menu, or by trying to order off the normal menu without clearly explaining your needs — only to find a big crouton floating in your soup, unannounced (or to eat your meal happily and find out a few hours later that something was contaminated) — then you know how important it is for a restaurant’s staff to be fully trained in gluten-free cooking.
So how can you participate?
Well, if you are a restaurant with a gluten-free menu, you can add yourself to the list by filling out this easy form. The GIG will send you materials to display.
If you are a gluten-free person with a love of restaurants, you can participate by enjoying a meal at one of the participating establishments. For a text-based list of options broken down by state, click here. Or, for a series of maps (North America West, North America East, Italy), you can visit The Celiac Scene.
Of course, this article wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the GIG’s Gluten-Free Food Service Accreditation Program (GFFS), which helps restaurants, bakeries, camps, schools, clubs, and other commercial kitchens learn how to keep their gluten-free customers safe. Accredited facilities are reviewed and audited to ensure compliance. To learn more (or to learn which restaurants near you have GFFS approval), have a look at their website. We bet you’ll see a few of your Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide favorites!