Gluten Free at Corporate Events

Every time I have to attend a corporate lunch or dinner event I cringe. Seriously!

No one knows how frustrating it can be to attend these corporate events when dealing with food allergies.

Not that I am blaming anyone, if you yourself do not have a food allergy, it can be difficult to remember those that do. Which is why, when accommodations are made for us folks with food allergies, we are all that much more appreciative - or at least we should be.

I recently attended a corporate event for the Global Women's Leadership Forum, which was hosted by Ashland. Prior to the event I contacted the event's coordinator so that I could either retrieve permission to bring my own food or make some sort of accommodations for lunch. I typically lean towards just bringing my own food, because I know it is safe and it is not just a plain wilted salad - but I always go along with whatever the sites offer.

In this particular case, Ashland's corporate chef went above and beyond! Lunch was buffet style - which at first glance made me very nervous about cross-contamination. I was quickly reassured once educated that the entire buffet (main meal) was gluten free and there was a number of vegan options, including a roasted vegetable stack, baked potatoes, a lovely salad bar and an amazing butternut squash soup.

As if this was not enough to be excited and grateful for, the chef also prepared a number of gluten free desserts - banana bread, angel food cake, gluten free granola bars, flourless cake, etc. I have never attended an event where the entire main meal was gluten free and it is rare that I have been offered a dessert - let alone the choice of desserts.

At the end of our convention, we had the opportunity to take home some of the goodies - with the soup being the biggest hit, I of course, had no problem agreeing to take some home. I also could not resist taking home some of the amazing gluten free desserts - which, let's be honest here, I really don't do desserts -but that is just how amazing these gluten free desserts really were.

I of course shared some of these desserts with family and friends - all of which are not gluten free and tend to dislike gluten free products - they fell in love! They scarfed down the desserts before I could even get a second bite.

I truly wish my company would hire this chef! Such talent and I truly appreciated that the chef was able to provide a healthy, seasonal meal that had both gluten free and vegan options.

I will spend a great deal of time trying to recreate that butternut squash soup on my own.


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