If you’ve got a gluten allergy or if you’ve just been tempted to expand your culinary horizons, you’re in luck. View the Vibe is excited to be one of the proud sponsors of the first ever GlutenFreedom Week. From May 25th to 31st, participating Toronto restaurants will offer a three-course gluten-free meal for a fixed price. We caught up with Rachael Hunt, the 26-year-old founder of GlutenFreedom Week, to find out more about the upcoming event.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I am a self-proclaimed foodie who is living with a serious gluten allergy. I’ve been living in Toronto for four years now and enjoy checking out the city’s hottest restaurants, cruising through the city on my bike, picnicking in Trinity Bellwoods, and cooking with friends!
What made you decide to start Toronto’s GlutenFreedom Week, and what are some of the highlights?
The impacts of eating gluten-free while trying to maintain a “normal” social life have been challenging, but I have made it my mission to seek those places that can cater to people in my situation. Through my blog, I shared my experiences of eating gluten-free around the city – informing others of where and what they can eat when dining out. The idea for Toronto’s GlutenFreedom Week came out of the increase in demand for gluten-free options in the restaurant industry, as well as the number of foodie-related events around the city that don’t exactly cater to the gluten-free community. I missed being able to attend such events worry-free, so decided to create this event to include those living gluten-free and to bring back the joy of dining out for us!
We have just over 20 restaurants on board for the event, which is an incredible number given this is the first year. We have a diverse range of restaurants to choose from, such as Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, Mexican, and Japanese. This allows guests to dine out multiple times during Toronto’s GlutenFreedom Week without getting bored! We’ve also got really great partners working with us to help make the event even more spectacular. We are currently running some fun contests with incredible prizes to be won so everyone can get involved.
What are some of your favourite restaurants for dining out gluten-free, and what do you usually order at each?
Some of my go-to restaurants for gluten-free fare are…
– Khao San Road: Chef’s Special Phad Thai
– Fresh: either the Baby Buddha Bowl or the Tangled Thai Salad with Marinated Tofu
– Magic Oven: I mix up the toppings, but their gluten-free crust is the best I’ve had
– Golden Turtle: No. 1 Rare Beef Pho (sans Hoisin sauce)
That said, any of the participating restaurants in Toronto’s GlutenFreedom Week are phenomenal and are all offering delicious g-free fare!
What are the biggest benefits of going gluten-free in your opinion?
For me, going gluten-free has actually improved my overall diet. While I always considered myself a healthy eater, now that I have to read the labels on everything I am more conscious of the things I put into my body and am aware of how many chemicals and preservatives are added into common food items. I now opt for more organic, non-GMO foods, which has definitely had a positive impact of my health. Even if you do not eat gluten-free, reading ingredient labels should become a part of your routine so you know exactly what you are eating.
What are three things you can’t live without?
Chapstick (usually Burt’s Bees), my phone (I have an unhealthy need to be constantly connected), and mascara.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…there is always something to do for everyone. It is such a diverse and eclectic city, and I love that I am still discovering new things even after four years here. Toronto is such a cool city!