I recently was invited to Vancouver to speak at a Social Media Workshop in healthcare. The workshop was part of a Quality Forum hosted by the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. The presentation was for work with my employer and not the work I do with this blog.
The conference was being held at the Four Seasons Hotel, and the conference organizers asked if there were any dietary restrictions. So I turned to Amanda and asked "Hey, should I ask for gluten free meals?" Amanda's actual response was "Why would you want to do that, you don't need it. I wouldn't if I could, I'm sure the meals won't be as good." My response "Challenge accepted!".
So off I go to Vancouver as a psuedo Celiac. I contacted @gfvancouver for some extra tips in the downtown area and off I went. But for this post, I'm going to focus on my conference experience. Also I will note that this blog post is entirely about the food and my experiences and I assure you that I was actually working & learning and not just eating all day long.
Since what I was eating was essentially the same as what others were eating, I did not get some of the odd stares at the difference in food options and questions that Amanda has described at the last conference she attended.
Next up lunch. For everyone else, wraps, wraps and more wraps, with an Asian salad. Once again, I saught out banquet staff for a gluten free meal. Immediately he brings me to the bar where a grilled chicken breast seasoned with basil and lemon juice, with a side of grilled veggies and salad, no dressing awaits me. I didn't notice the lack of dressing right away, so I turned around and asked about dressing, and they responsed, "oh, the dressing has soy sauce in it so you cannot have it". I asked "Do you have another dressing instead?". They were happy to help me out with a balsamic. When I told Amanda about that experience, she said that's pretty much what happens all the time to her, the assumption that plain is the only option when the sauce/dressing contains gluten. I found it weird that this happens so often, because you would think they would just have a different dressing ready, even just olive oil & vinegar, nothing fancy required. Oh well, the meal was good, got some looks this time, because my meal looked much better than everyone else's meal did (chuckled to myself).
At the last lunch for the conference the one meal they had had no trouble with (creatively), and once again still no trouble with serving up gluten free. Carrot and curry soup (same as all the other guests), and a nice pesto garlic gluten free pasta, which looked similar enough to what all the other guests were eating. Except the guests had wheat pasta :-) Then dessert, well, I didn't get the rhubarb crumble, so once again fruit. However, at least this time it was a fruit salad instead of just chopped fruit.
Attending a conference? Check out some of these gluten free tips when attending a conference.