GLUTEN-FREE RESORT: TRAINING STAFF THROUGH THE GREAT KITCHENS PROGRAM
There is a big difference between a gluten-free friendly restaurant meal and a safe celiac meal. To gluten-free individuals, the difference could be three days with intestinal issues, mind fog, skin flare ups, and many other symptoms. That’s where proper gluten-free training programs come in to ensure guest safety, specifically Beyond Celiac’s GREAT Kitchens program.
The need for safe gluten-free food preparation is paramount to reduce the risk for cross-contamination. It’s crucial for any restaurant offering gluten-free menu options to be fully aware of the measures that must be taken. When the owners of Arenas del Mar decided to offer gluten-free options to the celiac and gluten-intolerant community, they wanted to do it the right way—that’s why we brought the GREAT Kitchens program to Costa Rica.
BEYOND CELIAC’S GREAT KITCHENS PROGRAM
GREAT Gluten-Free Kitchens is a program offered to restaurant and food service professionals as a way to ensure staff members are properly trained in gluten-free food preparation. With so many factors that can affect the safety of food for those with dietary restrictions, this program educates and trains the staff to know all of the steps required to prepare gluten-free food—everything from gluten-free ingredients, to the need for dedicated gluten-free areas in the kitchen.
As GREAT Kitchens explains, “Education is the difference between a “gluten-friendly” meal and a safe gluten-free meal.”
A location-specific program, GREAT Kitchens travels to each restaurant or establishment for hands-on training within each position of the restaurant. This allows the experts to go into all of the minor details that are extremely important, such as the setup of a kitchen, communication with guests and food handling precautions.
PREPARING SAFE GLUTEN-FREE FOOD
A majority of gluten-free individuals have experienced unsafe food preparation when dining out—GREAT Kitchens strives to prevent this unfortunate experience. For example, some restaurants have gluten-free items listed on their menu, but once questions are asked pertaining to food preparation (things as simple as having a dedicated fryer for french fries), it becomes evident that the food is not safe and the staff is not trained properly to handle gluten-intolerant and celiac diners. A training program like GREAT Kitchens educates the chefs and members of the food service staff of the many measures that must be taken to ensure gluten-free food is safe for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivities.
After going through the GREAT Kitchens training program in 2014, the staff at Arenas del Mar became fully committed to ensuring gluten-free options are one-hundred percent safe—and that doesn’t mean options are lacking in any way!
In addition to endless gluten-free options at Arenas del Mar, guests also enjoy a dining experience that doesn’t require the gluten-free spiel that is usually required when ordering at other restaurants or hotels. The Arenas del Mar staff is aware of guests’ dietary restrictions from step one of the reservation process. If there is a gluten-free guest within a party, it is noted in the system and measures are taken to ensure superior service and safe food options from the second they arrive at the hotel. No explanations of the diet are ever needed, whether a guest is ordering lunch at La Playitas restaurant or room service is being ordered in the evening. We strive to make the experience as relaxed and enjoyable as possible for our guests.
Since our initial program training in 2014, our kitchen staff and hotel personnel continue to go through training and education to meet the needs of allergy-sensitive guests to ensure a worry-free stay.
PLANNING A GLUTEN-FREE STAY AT ARENAS DEL MAR
If you’re interested in learning more about the accommodations at our gluten-free resort, you may email our guest services department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the hotel, toll free at 1.800.394.5970. By visiting our blog, you’ll also see several posts mentioning our gluten-free options and other experiences at the hotel.