Gluten-Free: Chef thinks it’s “Bullshit”

Update 4.12.2011: This update is pertaining to Paul Seelig who sold bread at the North Carolina State Fair and the fairgrounds flea market claiming it was gluten-free.  Per www.newsobserver.com, Paul Seelig was found guilty Monday of 23 counts of obtaining property by false pretense  and has received an 11 year sentence for selling bread which he claimed to be gluten-free.

With the outcome of this matter, it will be interesting to see what happens with Chef Damian J. Cardon, as I don’t think the matter should be ignored and he needs to be held accountable for his deliberate actions in feeding his customers high gluten products when they specifically requested gluten-free meals.

Original Blog Post:

I am writing this blog post in lieu of my “Come to The Table” weekly gluten-free blog series, as I feel this is such an important issue to address.  I saw a twitter post from Allergies-r-us (Twitter: @allergiesrus) sharing this upsetting news!

The gluten-free community is in an uproar over Chef Damian J. Cardon, located in Glenwood, CO, decided that Celiac’s Disease/Gluten-Intolerance is “Bullshit” and just a diet fad & has intentionally been serving customers requesting gluten-free meals high gluten flour products in their meals. He posted this on his Facebook page (as of this blog post it’s been removed, as well as the link posted on my Facebook Wall linking to his post).

Not only is this irresponsible, but Chef Damian J. Cardon is knowingly and willingly compromising the health and well-being of his customers.

As an individual with Celiac’s Disease I find this absolutely unacceptable and careless.  While I have at times eaten gluten, to the detriment of my own personal health and have also been exposed to cross contamination, I trust that when I go to a restaurant and they advertise they serve gluten-free options, I trust that this is the case.  I have also written a prior blog post about the gluten-free diet fad, explaining that the medical community clear states it is not necessarily health for individuals to eat a gluten-free diet if they don’t suffer from Celiac’s Disease and/or  have a gluten intolerance.  Obviously, when it come to diet trends and fads, the gluten-free diet is just the latest trend Hollywood is taking up and once that happens is spreads across the country via TV, magazines, the internet and various other channels.  It is however not Chef Damian J. Cardon’s place to make this determination, as he is not a trained medical professional.

Given this situation, I want to call attention to another recent incident as reported by the Associated Press via The News & Observer of Raleigh, as a man in Durham, NC is being sued for fraud for selling gluten-free bread:

“The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that 48-year-old Paul Seelig sold the bread at the North Carolina State Fair and the fairgrounds flea market claiming it was gluten-free, yet it tested positive for gluten. Gluten is an ingredient commonly used in bread that can cause illness in people with celiac disease and other intestinal problems.  Defense attorneys said Tuesday that the Great Specialty Products owner did not intend to deceive customers but was misled by his suppliers about the gluten content.  Prosecutors say Seelig had told customers he made his own bread.”

Just as Pail Seelig is being held accountable for his actions, so should Chef Damian J. Cardone.  He intentionally served dishes to his customers requesting gluten-free meals.  It is not up to Chef Cardone to determine if Celiac’s Disease /Gluten Intolerance is just a diet fad or “is in their disturbed little heads.”  Celiac’s Disease/Gluten Intolerance is an auto immune syndrome (On average it takes between 3-6 months for the villi in the small intestines to heal from gluten exposure) and repeated exposure to gluten can cause long-term damage, along with irreversible immune and nutritional consequences.

As I was discussing this matter with a non-Celiac, we both agreed that while Chef Damian J. Cardon is entitled to his own beliefs and to what he serves in his restaurant, it is a sad day for the food community overall, as well as the food community in Colorado where this took place.  It is the willful intent, disregard and blatant boasting that I think is the issue here.  One of the things I love about our food community here in Austin is we have a great group of Chef’s and Restaurant Owners that have taken the time out to educate themselves as to what it means to serve a gluten-free menu/items and are continuing to work towards accommodating individuals with food allergies.

Please share your thoughts and comments to this blog post as I think it is imperative that Chef Damian J. Cardone understands the impact of his behavior, should be held accountable for his negligent actions and so we can continue to educate others as to the importance of food allergies, as it is no joking matter.

Damian Cardon¬â„¢s Bio (Unverified) via www.CeliacHandbook.com

Damian J. Cardone has apprenticed under Swiss, Master Chef Kurt Wigger. Damian was the Executive Chef at the Sopris Chalet, Restaurant, Aspen, Co. Executive Banquet Chef at the Tavern on the Green N.Y.C.

After apprienticing under Master Chef Kurt Wigger, Switzerland. Whom, was the last person to study under Du Franze, who was the last person on earth to study under Georges Agustus Esscoffier.

Spending time between Aspen and NYC. In 05 and 06, Damian upheld the position as the wedding/banquet Chef at the Tavern on the Green. Has appeared on Regis and Kelli, Project Runway, numerous P.B.S. segments. Personally cooked for Billy Crystal, Martin Short, Tom Hanks, Segourney Weaver, and George Clooney. Currently resides in Glenwood Springs Colorado as a private chef for hire, and learning how to make tacos.

Additional blog posts on this matter:

www.AllVoices.com

www.CanWeEatThat.Typepad.com

www.CeliacHandbook.com

www.PostIndependent.com

Photo Credit:

SHAWN ROCCO – srocco@newsobserver.com

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