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Old May 2nd, 2019, 05:26 PM
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"Hosting" for someone else and special requests

Part of my position involves "hosting" dinner to thank employees and volunteers on behalf of the big boss. I send the invitations, manage the caterers/food orders, set up, tear down, etc.

I sent out invitations this week to two events. At both events, guests RSVP'd and made special food requests. Of course, I'll do my best to accommodate them. And, since this is to thank them, I'm happy to do it.

But, how? I have to use a particular restaurant for an Italian themed buffet dinner. They do not offer a gluten free option, and I wouldn't ask because of cross contamination. While I can probably place an order somewhere else and pick up something for her, I'm trying to figure out how to balance the "special" with the fitting in. Should I order enough for everyone? Do I highlight it as a "gluten free" option? And if everyone is invited, how do I serve it without cross contamination?
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Old May 2nd, 2019, 10:59 PM
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Re: "Hosting" for someone else and special requests

If this helps....

Once upon a time, I prepared luncheons for the school's staff on in-service days. I had gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan people, plus some coaches with hearty appetites and one guy who couldn't stand anything that might be on a salad.

What I did was prepare the same *basic* meal, but with accommodations for the various people. For example, when I made deli wraps, I'd make one without any veggies for the guy who hated veggies, I'd make one using a lettuce leaf instead of a wrap for the gluten free person, and two that were vegan/vegetarian (different recipe, but same basic "meal") for the vegan/vegetarians. I would tell the people with the special orders ahead of time to look for me because I had something different from (and not on) the standard buffet for their dietary needs. I did this for four years, and had some very happy gluten-intolerant, vegan, vegetarian and picky-eater teachers.

I currently make lunches every so often for a small group of men, one of whom is lactose intolerant. What I do for them is make things that are either "assemble your own" (i.e. tacos) or prepped (i.e. giant salads) but I put the cheese or other dairy in little cups for the other, non-lactose intolerant men to add to their dish and for the lactose intolerant guy to pass up.

In your case, I would add antipasto, salad, and maybe some soup to the offerings (and reducing the amount of pasta you order) so that the gluten-free people can eat off of the same buffet. And order a dessert that is gluten-free. If that won't work, just order the special meal from a different restaurant and discretely give it to her. If anyone asks her (or you), she (or you) can just tell people she had to have a special GF meal.
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Old May 9th, 2019, 05:13 AM
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Re: "Hosting" for someone else and special requests

I decided to add some apps and desserts that are GF, and label them as such. Other entrees will also be labeled so they won't stand out, but hopefully make others aware to avoid cross contamination. I ordered individual meals though, as one is a very advanced celiac.

But, here's the little irritation for me. The advanced celiac doesn't want anything special, but I know, so of course, I will! The other that was very vocal about needing GF for herself is the irritation. We went to an after-work dinner and she ordered a meal that was very clearly not GF. When one of our coworkers asked her about it, she said, "Oh, I'm just sensitive so I can eat it at one meal. I hate to put other people out. I can eat this sandwich without too much of a problem." OK, but I have to make a special effort? I understand that she gets to decide when she takes the risk, but still, it's an extra step for me.
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Old May 16th, 2019, 04:04 AM
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Re: "Hosting" for someone else and special requests

So, I opted for the individual meals at the dinner, with GF appetizers and individual desserts at the buffet to limit the possibility of cross contamination. The GF desserts were clearly marked GF, but the folks ate everything.

Lunch is today. The GF teachers didn't want to be accommodated because they're afraid to eat anything they didn't prepare themselves. I still have GF options, though.
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