Saturday marked the end of the second ever GlutenFreedom Week and, yet again, the initiative proved to be a necessary addition to the culinary world of Toronto. The gluten-free movement has recently gotten slightly more controversial with some foodies claiming that this sensitivity or allergy is fabricated in people’s heads. However, some of Toronto’s best restaurants obviously disagree and not only participated in the week, but are also now offering more gluten-free options on their regular menus.
The ladies behind this event are Rachael Hunt, founder of GlutenFreedom Week, and her newly-acquired partner, Rachel Bies, the founder of Rachel Bies Nutrition. Both ladies are gluten allergic and prone to getting very ill if gluten enters their bodies. “I have always been a foodie and enjoyed dining out. I created GlutenFreedom Week when I discovered I had a terrible allergy to gluten so that I and others who suffer from this allergy could still enjoy dining out,” says Hunt. It seems that her mission is getting accomplished with restaurants like The Harbord Room, Rasa, Queen Margherita, Osteria Dei Ganzi, and more participating.
I joined the ladies for dinner at Corey Vitello’s The Harbord Room to see what kind of gluten-free meals people were enjoying throughout the week. No surprise that the meal was fantastic, but it was a surprise to see that most of the offered dishes were available on the regular menu too. So while it’s nice to know that during GlutenFreedom Week guests are almost 100% guaranteed a completely gluten-free meal (there is a disclaimer saying that GlutenFreedom Toronto and participating restaurants cannot guarantee that every meal is free from cross contamination of gluten), it’s even better to discover that many of the participating restaurants offer the same dishes the rest of the year.