Saturday Kitchen, coeliac disease and cheese on toast

Saturday Kitchen managed to cause quite the Twitter storm among the coeliac community this week after serving Sharleen Spiteri (a diagnosed coeliac) cheese on toast made with non-gluten free bread.

Now, as I’m sure you’ve worked out, serving a coeliac something with gluten in is NOT GOOD.

Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease and eating a gluten free diet is a medical necessity, NOT, I repeat, NOT a dietary choice.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye and even very small amounts (as little as a crumb of bread) can be damaging to people with coeliac disease, not only causing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating and nausea, but also damaging the gut.

It is therefore very important for gluten free food to be prepared in a way that minimises any risk of cross contamination.

Thanks to the brilliant work of Coeliac UK, awareness of coeliac disease has improved immeasurably since I was diagnosed back in the early 1990s.

But incidents such as this one show just how much more needs to be done.

For those of you who didn’t see the incident, Sharleen mentions that she has coeliac disease to which the chef, Matt Tebbutt, replies “well let’s not bring that on”, before proceeding to serve her cheese on toast made with glutenous bread. If anything is going to ‘bring on’ coeliac symptoms, that will do the trick.

It was a breathtaking display of ignorance from a professional chef on a BBC cooking show. They really should have known better.

For information, advice and support on coeliac disease, visit the Coeliac UK website.

Coeliac Man out. X

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