Friday, 8 December 2017

Really Raymond, REALLY?!

This post was going to be a silly fun one, a typically ME one. But I've just read something that makes me so mad that as I can't sleep anyway, I'm going to address. It's like going back to warrior FFG mode. Back. In. The. Day.

I'm a sidebar of shame glancer, I know that I'm meant to feel ashamed about being so but I don't. Time wasting skimming over what people in the public eye are up to, it blurs worrying about real life at times.

I just saw something that really shocked me. And I would like to point out that as it's from the Daily Mail, I don't know if it's true, but it's being reported and it affects me and so many people who read FFG that I really feel like I have to say something.

Raymond Blanc, who I have been a huge fan of for years has been quoted as saying:
We are a kitchen not a hospital. Of course, now, if you don't have an allergy, you're nobody.
Well I'm clearly not a nobody in Mr Blanc's eyes as I have way more than an allergy.
It's a very great fashion to have a food intolerance
He allegedly said at the BBC Good Food Show last week.

For starters Raymond, I personally do not have either just an allergy, or a food intolerance. I HAVE A DISEASE AS WELL.

It's called coeliac and it's a bit of a buzz kill.

Here's a review I did of a Brasserie Blanc restaurant in London from over 7 years ago.

Glowing, wouldn't you say?

I still remember the horror at reading the small print at the bottom of the gluten free menu but as the waiter was so wonderful I TRUSTED.

I gave up trying to trust after other experiences elsewhere that were just plain horrific. I haven't eaten out in YEARS.

And I  haven't felt the need to speak out about any of this for a very long time but this has annoyed me. I liked Raymond Blanc a lot, waaay before having food issues and even after I discovered I had, he seemed like a decent bloke what with his Brasserie Blanc's having gluten free menus when back wit it very, very rare.

It became clear at the time after seeing the small print, that maybe offering a gluten free menu wasn't in our best interests as coeliacs. It was novel to think that I could eat out but for me it became apparent really quickly that having that option was useless unless it was 100% safe and that wasn't guaranteed. Maybe I played roulette that night and won.

I think what I'm trying to say is that these quotes that have apparently been said by Raymond Blanc say more about the catering industry than it does me. I NEED gluten free food or else I'm going to get really sick and risk serious damamge to my health. He and his peers don't NEED to offer gluten free and other free from menus, but they do because they know it makes them a lot of money. The gluten free pound, dollar and euro are cash cows.

The demand is clearly there and so they literally claim that they cater for it. Then they call us 'attention seeking'. That's what those quotes amount to, right?

Aside from businesses wanting to cash in on coeliac disease what is happening (and has been for years now but it's getting worse) is that the people who are choosing gluten free as a lifestyle are a nuisance.

I'm not fussed about what mixture you put into your shopping trolley or basket but when you eat out and ask for gluten free this and non gluten free that, why would a server or kitchen take that seriously?

How can I expect a restaurant not to think I'm on a weight-loss diet or a detox of some sort. Doesn't matter if this touches that etc... Because to someone who is choosing to eat gluten free without needing to and not being respectful of those choices, you're being an absolute pain in the arse, and oh could I and soooooooooooo many others tell you about THAT.

I've called out chefs before but this really does disappoint me because I was a genuine fan of Raymond Blanc. Years ago I even enquired about getting married at the hotel where this quote is about:
In my restaurant Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, I look at my board when I look at the order and it's horrifying - you have about 50 people who have an allergy or a food intolerance and we take each of them seriously.
Isolated that reads with concern I think.

But then we have the other 2 comments and I feel like it's 'we do but why should we have to bother, it's a lifestyle choice'.
We are a kitchen not a hospital. Of course, now, if you don't have an allergy, you're nobody.
 It's a very great fashion to have a food intolerance
When anyone says things like that I want to swap my 2007 - 2011 stomach with them and see how they cope. I'd be kind, just for a couple of hours. Somehow I think that would be enough to know that there's no 'fashion' about it.

But then of course we come to the lifestyle bloggers, vloggers and authors. For them it IS 'fashion' because it's making them loads of money. They don't need this diet but they choose to promote it because it's a zeitgeist. For followers of these people it seems like this diet is aspirational living.

I can't but help knowingly smile to myself and shake my head. Aspirational.

I don't suppose I would have written this had it not been about Raymond Blanc. I'm over my own personal issues about eating out. I just don't! There's no missing out on anything here.

But I guess that bit of warrior came back thinking about all the people who are new to this and just starting out down the discovery of the coeliac path. It's not easy, can be utterly terrifying and really, really confusing, that's before news stories like this appear.

I've been there guys, will always be treading that wonky path of keeping safe, it's constant awareness required. It does get easier though and while I know there are lots of coeliacs who choose to eat out and have a lovely time doing so. I don't. For me, it's the easier stress free option and I'll take that every time.

:)

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