Cyrus Todiwala, Chef Patron at Cafe Spice Namaste and Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen has kindly contributed to this blog regarding the hidden allergens that he’s experienced within his industry and how he’s changed his menus to make them more adaptable for the food allergy customer.
Are you aware of hidden allergens within the products you purchase?
Yes! One of the plagues of the restaurant sector in the Asian sector has been the buying of cheap ground almonds. Peanut flour was discovered to cover up the low cost and this has resulted in some serious consequences.
Have you changed products because of this?
In particular you may find label variations very often with imported products, especially from Asia. Sometimes you don’t have much choice and if in doubt we do put the allergen in as we are unsure. Even after using the same product for a long time we find that you must check the labels each and every time. Also the allergens that keep surfacing these days makes life a little bit more difficult. In Britain, though we take labels for granted and trust each label thoroughly.
Are there options that are available to make dishes naturally gluten free, using Gram flour for example?
Fortunately no Indian sauces, bar a very very few, contain gluten and those items that contain gluten are few.
Chickpea flour is not necessarily a good option as it over powers the taste of a particular dish. However there are corn or potato starch options that can also be used and other methods.
Has Cafe Spice adapted to make your menu more adaptable for the food allergy customer?
We have gone above and beyond in many cases and removed some dishes that cannot be done without dairy or gluten or crustacean etc.
However menu knowledge is key and there are charts all over when we operate.