Philadelphia’s Gluten-Free Neighborhood Makes Headlines

April 23, 2009

Philadelphia’s Gluten-Free Neighborhood Makes Headlines

NFCA and the Philadelphia gluten-free restaurant community featured in Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Philadelphia Gluten-Free Neighborhood and NFCA’s role in educating the area’s restaurant community about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet appear on the front of the Philadelphia Inquirer Food Section.

The two-page feature touts the tremendous efforts of NFCA volunteers and staff in creating the first ever ‘gluten-free neighborhood’ in Philadelphia, educating the restaurant community and making the city a safe and delicious place for celiacs to dine out. NFCA volunteers Greg Ostrofsky, Nancy Lozoff and NFCA president Alice Bast address the many challenges celiacs face when dining out, and praise the city’s dedication, commitment, and support of the celiac disease community.

“As a diner, you really don’t want to feel like a special-needs person. You still want to go out, and restaurants still want to have customers,” Ostrofsky said. “The right information makes it easy for the restaurants to accommodate them.”

Ostrofsky is so passionate about changing the world “one chef at a time” that he played a major role in organizing NFCA’s 5th annual Appetite for Awareness event at the Wachovia Center in September 2009.

“Baby steps,” Bast said. “We’re still looking for that perfect bread”………”but it’s getting better and better.”

Chefs Marcie Turney and Pasquale Masters reveal that their ability to accommodate those with celiac disease has given them incredible personal satisfaction, and appreciate their gluten-free customer’s enthusiastic support and loyalty.

“I knew people were celiacs. I didn’t know what it meant. I didn’t know people died from it,” Turney said. “When you put a face on the disease, it becomes a little more real.”

Both chefs participated in NFCA’s 2008 Appetite for Awareness event, where they received training in gluten-free protocols through NFCA’s GREAT program. They encourage those in the industry to learn about the special dietary needs of those with celiac disease by enrolling in GREAT.

“I want people with the disease to be able to dine like everyone else,” Pasta Pomodoro chef Pasquale Masters said after the event. “They are discriminated against from the servers to the kitchen and they are paying customers. Restaurants need to cater to them.

NFCA’s GREAT program is available online for interested chefs, restaurants and chains nationwide. Program details and registration information can be found on NFCA’s website.All restaurants and chefs who participate in NFCA’s Appetite for Awareness and Gluten-Free Cooking Spree Events are eligible to receive free GREAT training.

Chef Turney of Lolita and Bindi Restaurants and chef of Vetri restaurant, Marc Vetri, provided recipes for the ‘Free to Eat Out’ story to demonstrate just how delicious and easy gluten-free cooking can be!
Chef Marc Vetri also participated in NFCA’s Appetite for Awareness and won the event’s ‘Best Gluten-Free Dish’ honors. Masters of Pasta Pomodoro won the ‘People’s Choice’ award.

NFCA 2009 Appetite for Awareness is scheduled for September 30th at the Wachovia Center. Check for updates and registartion.

The entire ‘Free to Eat Out’ article can be seen in section F of the Philadelphia Inquirer for Thursday, April 23rd edition. You can also view the article online on the Inquirer website.