Several years ago, Americans found words like ‘gluten-free’ or ‘vegetarian’ synonymous for ‘tasteless’ or ‘bland’. Gluten free and vegetarian based diets were considered a hindrance to the spread of flavors and foods the kitchen has to offer. However, as of late, grain-free and meat-free dishes have pushed past the bread basket and the carving station and made their way to the front of the table.
Whether for health reasons or lifestyle choices, an increasing number of Americans are becoming more aware of the importance of fueling their body with healthy, well-tolerated foods. Food allergies are on the rise and now affect fifteen million Americans, and sixty percent of adults choose to cut at least one nutritional element from their diets. Among the eight major food allergens, milk, wheat, and soy have become some of the most commonly avoided ingredients. Those with an intolerance to these ingredients can suffer harmful immune responses from mild digestive problems to severe allergic reactions.
Learning to accommodate dietary restrictions when cooking at home can be challenging enough, but dining at a restaurant that does not provide an allergy-friendly menu can be frightening to say the least. The food industry has responded to this growing dietary trend through the introduction of gluten-free (GF), dairy-free (DF), soy-free (SF), vegetarian (VG), or vegan (V) dishes to restaurants’ menus.
As always, we can count on our Devour Phoenix chefs to provide a little something for everyone at their restaurants. “It’s very important to me that our guests at both St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Café know they can find something delicious to eat no matter what their dietary restrictions might be. Why? Because we’re professionals and that means we should be able to accommodate people no matter what. Our goal is to nourish the community and that means diners with all types of preferences and restrictions,” says renowned local chef and restaurateur, Aaron Chamberlin. At both St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Café, Chamberlin has crafted menus filled with an array of mouth-watering dishes that are clearly identified as V, VG, GF or DF for diners’ convenience.
Allergy-friendly dishes are now becoming mainstream offerings at restaurants across the valley. Beckett’s Table is no stranger to being able to serve up a satisfying meal to any diner that walks through their doors. Justin Beckett, owner of Beckett’s Table, says that the restaurant “[takes] great pride in providing a seasonal menu that is great for all occasions… [and also tries] to be as accommodating to guests with special dietary restrictions so that they can leave happy and full.” Along with using fresh, local ingredients, Devour Phoenix restaurants like Beckett’s Table haven’t backed down from the challenge of providing people with delicious dishes regardless of what diet they follow.
Not only do many of the restaurants a part of Devour Phoenix provide allergy-friendly dishes, but some restaurant’s offerings are nearly all allergy-friendly, like those from Green New American Vegetarian and Nami. According to Damon Brasch, owner of the two sister restaurants, “Many dietary restrictions are easy for us to accommodate at Green and Nami because we do not use any animal products in any of our food. Our 100% plant-based menu is perfect for people that are lactose intolerant or allergic to eggs, meat, and cheese. We also offer some menu items that are made with ingredients not containing gluten.” Nami is one of the few restaurants in the valley that doesn’t just stop at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Some of Nami’s best dishes are their allergy-friendly desserts, where the restaurant offers homemade SF and GF donuts and V house made soft serve ice cream with an organic soy milk or coconut milk base.
Devour Phoenix chefs in the valley often provide the most inclusive menus, ensuring that everyone can find something to suit their lifestyle. They not only accommodate those with dietary restrictions to allow them to experience the best that our city’s culinary scene has to offer, but they are also bringing awareness to how delicious GF, DF, SF, VG, and V foods can be for all individuals. While diners with dietary restrictions will be relieved to know some of the valley’s hottest chefs are cooking up dishes just for them, all diners are encouraged to step outside of their comfort zone and try an allergy-friendly creation. You won’t be disappointed!