Owner, One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli & Bakery (Gluten Free; Allergen Friendly)
FoodASC Member since June 2016
Member Spotlight is our new monthly column in which we interview FoodASC members to highlight their businesses, publications and personal experiences. If you are interested in being featured or nominating another member for the spotlight, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please tell us about yourself and why you are interested in food allergies, celiac disease, EoE.
I have Celiac Disease and a Milk Allergy and founded One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli and Bakery in 2009 so I and others like me could eat out safely.
Please tell us about your business.
One Dish Cuisine Café, Deli and Bakery is free of Wheat, Rye, Barley, Oats, Soy, Egg, Sesame, Peanuts and Tree Nuts. Coconut is rarely used and we have a separate kitchen that is also completely free of Milk/Dairy. We make just about everything in house from scratch.
Describe a challenging experience you had related to food allergies, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, EoE and your lessons learned.
Dining out is always a challenge… people don’t understand that gluten is wheat, rye and barley and often when you say you have a milk or dairy allergy they say: “oh, so you can’t have eggs?” Then you have to explain that eggs come from a chicken, not from a cow and have to explain that eggs may be sold in the dairy section of a grocery store but it does not mean they are dairy. I sometimes say, I have never seen a cow lay an egg and then I wonder what farm they visited as a child!
Describe a rewarding experience you had related to food allergies, EoE, Celiac Disease.
Being able to feed adults and children safely is always a reward when they smile or cry and tell me this is the first time they have eaten out in their lives or the first time they have been able to get anything they want in a bakery!
What motivates you to do what you do?
Food is such a huge part of our culture and family lives. Often, people take being able to eat for granted. Being able to sit down and eat as a family in a restaurant is often not attempted or a very stressful experience. I often say; we can send a man to the moon but we can’t safely feed our people and that is just crazy! I knew I could do this and nobody else was stepping up to the plate. One day I decided that I could sit back and keep complaining that there was no safe place to eat or I could do something about it. So, I did it by creating a safe Café, Deli and Bakery for myself and many others like me.
Do you have a go-to resource? If so, what is it and why is it useful?
My go to resource is my years of experience cooking this way. This way of cooking is not taught in culinary schools. I used to think that I was cursed. Now, all of these years later, I see things so differently. My Celiac Disease and Milk Allergy is a blessing which has allowed me to share food with others that would normally not be “safe” for them. I know that you have to live this life to really understand how important it is to be able to create safe food that tastes like regular food.
What do you wish other people knew about food allergies, gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, EoE and what’s one action that can be performed to increase knowledge and awareness in the general population?
I wish the general public understood how serious Food Allergies, EoE and Celiac Disease can be. Often, people don’t have a clue unless someone they love is afflicted with the above. Every day I educate customers about the seriousness of these afflictions and welcome people back to the table where they can relax and feel the difference while eating top notch food.
What advice would you give to someone just embarking upon this journey?
Always trust your instincts. Always stand up for yourself. Always be assertive when it comes to keeping yourself safe in a dining situation. Never let anyone intimidate you into eating something that you feel may not be safe for you.
Thank you Maureen for being part of our Member Spotlight! Have any more questions for Maureen? Ask them in the comments below.
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