Tuesday, February 28, 2006

February MetroCeliac Meeting, Hosting Gluten Free Passport

February's meeting of the MetroCeliacs hosted Kim Koeller of Gluten Free Passport. I have recently traveled to Ireland and Tanya is going to soon be traveling to Europe, so this meeting ended up being rather timely for us. Before hosting the MetroCeliac Supper Club, both Tanya and I (and most celiacs) had experienced firsthand how difficult it could be to dine out safely, even here in America where there are no language barriers or cultural differences in cuisine. Traveling seems like it would be rather daunting, so it was a great find to meet Kim and Robert La France, her business partner, at a U of C event last year. We discussed our common desire to have a way to be as comfortable as possible when dining out and when traveling. Gluten Free Passport makes traveling much easier and more comfortable and it also discusses our responsibility as celiacs regarding these issues. She gave an impressive talk and power point presentation and addressed all of our fears related to these issues and offered statistics that put it all into perspective.

Gluten Free Passport collaborates with individuals and organizations on a global basis across a multitude of disciplines. These include culinary, research, medical, marketing, distribution, publishing and allergy related fields. This advisory structure ensures the applicability, relevancy and quality of their media products and services.

Kim Koeller, Founder and President, has been living with various food allergies and sensitivities for the past 30+ years. Her food-related allergies include gluten, seafood, dairy, fish, pork, food colorings, food additives/preservatives such as aspartame, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate. In 2002, she was diagnosed with celiac/coeliac disease. She has extensively explored food allergies and Western/Eastern medicines and therapies due to her recovery from 12 orthopedic surgeries, three years of physical therapy and her multitude of food allergies.

For the past 23 years, Kim has spent typically 75% of her time traveling across the globe and eating approximately 80% of her meals in restaurants. The combination of Kim’s health concerns and her extensive domestic and international travels has provided her with a practical understanding of dining out with food allergies.

To that end, the passport to which the company refers, is a set of books and dining guides offered to celiacs. Let’s Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free is the first book dedicated to eating around the corner and around the world while managing ten food allergies including: corn, dairy, eggs, fish, gluten, peanuts, shellfish, soy, tree nuts and wheat. At last! A book that gives you the freedom to eat what you want, where you want and when you want with confidence and ease.

Let’s Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free provides you with everything from delicious menu items to order in 7 popular cuisines (American Steak and Seafood, Chinese, French, Indian, Italian, Mexican, and Thai) to which questions to ask in safely guiding your decisions.

Let’s Eat Out! (available on Amazon.com) offers you peace of mind with less effort, enabling you to have more fun. Inside you will find:

The collaborative process of dining out
An approach to eating outside the home
The restaurant approach to handling special dietary requests
7 international cuisines outlining traditional ingredients, gluten awareness, allergy & dining considerations and sample menus
175+ savory menu item descriptions and preparation requests
65+ ingredient and preparation technique descriptions with sample questions to ask
10+ allergen quick reference guides
130+ snack and light meal ideas
200+ breakfast and beverage suggestions
300+ multi-lingual phrases
50+ global airlines with special meal options
100+ product resources in 15 countries
180+ international organizations… All this and more to simplify your gluten and allergy-free lifestyle, Let’s Eat Out! also brings you the worldwide insights and expertise of:
15 chefs and culinary experts
10 health and medical professionals
20 celiacs/coeliacs and individuals impacted by food allergies

Kim discussed how we can establish and maintain a good working relationship with the restaurants in Chicago, which will help the MetroCeliac Supper Club, and also how we as celiacs can address our concerns appropriately when dining out. She really is an expert on her topic and her book(s) would be a great addition to any celiac library. I highly recommend checking out her website. It was a very beneficial meeting.

As a post script, she also told us about a successful beer fest, with around 16 vendors and people from all over, that took place in Europe when she was there. I hope she hosts one here in Chicago soon. I know a lot of interested parties, so to speak.

Our thanks to Gail at Sherwyn's for samples of some new bars and other tasty treats. Amy also contributed some tasty homemade pizza! Thanks Amy!

Our thanks as well to Kim and the Gluten Free Passport company for a successful and informative February meeting of the MetroCeliacs!

Jenny and Tanya

2 comments:

GlutenFree Passport said...

Well I must say, it looks like you had a fun time. I'm sorry I couldn't make it, I was in New York on other business. If you have GlutenFree Passport back in the future, I hope to attend! I hope to see you all in Salt Lake City at the GIG this summer!

Best regards,

Robert La France

GlutenFree Passport said...

Well I must say, it looks like you had a fun time. I'm sorry I couldn't make it, I was in New York on other business. If you have GlutenFree Passport back in the future, I hope to attend! I hope to see you all in Salt Lake City at the GIG this summer!

Best regards,

Robert La France