Not officially – but you can create one. The restaurant card is a card you carry with you at all times, and it has basic information on it about gluten free diets. They don’t tell the chef everything he or she really needs to know, but I really believe there’s a big psychological factor in handing someone the card. It sends a message that the information is so important that it requires me to carry a card. I mean, after all, people take the medic bracelets seriously. The restaurant card is the medic alert card for a person with gluten intolerance.
When I go to new or familiar restaurants, I always pull my card out and hand it to the waiter. I also ask them to show the card to the chef. If I know and trust the waiter, I let him or her show it to the chef. If I don’t know the waiter I ask to speak to the manager. Then I ask the manager to show it to the chef. After a while, the manager knows exactly what I need. When a new manager or waiter shows up, I have to “re-train” them, but I don’t mind. Remember, the options I have are to wash dishes at home!
You may ask why I show the card to the manager when I order the same safe items all of the time. The reason I do is because, like processed foods, the recipes are changed periodically for standard menu items. I like to make sure the chef understands that I can’t eat gluten no matter how much better it makes the food tastes. I do call the headquarters of my favorite restaurants periodically and verify my favorite menu items have stayed gluten free.
The restaurant card says the following as a minimum:
- I am on a strict gluten free diet
- I will get very sick if I eat gluten
- Please prepare my food carefully so there’s no gluten exposure
I cannot eat:
- Wheat, Rye, Barley & derivatives including spelt, bulgur, durum, semolina
- I must avoid oats, croutons, bread and any bread coatings, soy sauce, wheat flour, malt vinegar and bread
- I can eat rice, corn, potato, tapioca, quinoa, soy beans buckwheat and millet