What these menu items really mean!
Regardless of whether your event is a small board meeting, a black tie Gala or the closing reception for your Annual Conference you will probably be confused when it comes to menu planning. While it might seem straightforward once you receive the 55-page menu from your venue you recognize you might be in a little over your head! We are here to break down what these common and not so common line items mean. These are important because you should have a diverse menu that can be customized for anyone with dietary or religious restrictions.
You will also see this as (GF) on many menus. This means that there is no wheat, barley, rye, oat, related species and hybrids and products of these in the item. It is especially important for anyone that eats a Gluten Free diet which can be a personal choice or a result of such disease as: Celiac, Gluten Intolerance, or allergies.
You will also see this as (V) on many menus. This is different than the symbol (VE) which is often used to as the Vegan symbol. A vegetarian dish can be composed of fruits, vegetables, grains, wheat, rye, oats, barley, and animal by-product. This means that the dish can contain butter, milk, eggs or any other item.
While the vegan diet is closely related to vegetarian it is more restrictive in regards to what a person can eat. They do not eat animals or animal by-products. If you have someone that is requesting a vegan meal double check that no animal products are being made in the dish such as butter.
This is a diet that follows the vegetarian diet but also allows for fish and shellfish to be added to the diet.
This is a religious request that can be complex to understand. As a quick note, the major tenants are that individuals that follow a Kosher diet cannot eat pig, meat, and dairy together, or that were not prepared in a Kosher Kitchen. Unless your venue has a Kosher Kitchen we recommend you work with your Sales or Conference Service Manager to have a Kosher Meal brought in from a Kosher approved caterer or restaurant.
Like a Kosher request, this is also a religious request that can be difficult for a traditional caterer to prepare. For a Halal meal, there can be no pork and the meat must be slaughtered according to the Islamic Religious Tenants. We offer the same recommendation with Halal Meals as we do with Kosher that you contact a Halal caterer or restaurant if you have a request for a Halal meal.
The Paleo diet has been around for centuries but has become more popular in the last few years. The basis behind this diet is that you are to eat like a caveman did with little to no processed foods. It you have someone requesting a Paleo diet we recommend reaching out to the attendee. The diet is broad and some there are different ways that individuals interpret the guidelines.
This can be a life-threatening allergy so we highly recommend labeling everything that might contain nuts. The most common nut allergy is peanuts but a nut allergy will encompass almost any nut… even coconuts!
These individuals cannot digest lactose which is found in dairy products. It is important to let your catering staff know if you a lactose-free request so they can adopt a recipe that might include: cream, milk, or any other dairy product.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of dietary restrictions but we tried to highlight the most common ones that you will come across while planning your events. Please let us know if you have any questions and Bon Appetite.