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Dickson’s Diary: Feeling Special

Dickson's Diary

The number of people following special diets continues to grow and it’s therefore massively important for caterers to take responsibility to prevent cross contamination.

Gluten free is seeing the biggest growth driven through lifestyle change, and separate preparation areas and equipment are an absolute must.

Front of house personnel need to be educated and take responsibility too. There are lots of easy changes you can make, such as substituting flour with cornflour, and there are plenty of Country Range products to help in the making and preparation of FreeFrom and Gluten Free dishes.

There has been a lot of development in ready-made products, so much so that you can’t tell the difference. A great example is the Country Range Gluten Free Carrot Cake – it’s delicious! The question is, do you need to have both? Why not minimise the risk (and cost) by only offering Gluten Free?

Menu planning should be as simple as possible and you should write your recipes  focusing on a small group of customers, then extend them to different food groups. For example, take the Country Range Five Bean Salad, which is vegan and gluten free. Add some chilli, garlic and vegetables for a Mexican vibe which will appeal to vegans, then you can add cheese for vegetarians, prawns for pescatarians or meat for meat-eaters. Focus on seasonality and use spices to enhance your dishes and keep an eye on current trends.

The Country Range Curry Pastes are allergen-free and vegan and also tick the box for gluten free too. Add chickpeas, sweet potato, butternut squash and seasonal greens for a good vegan, FreeFrom dish. Add flaked salmon or Country Range King Prawns for pescatarians or create a surf and turf for meat eaters by adding pork or chicken to the prawns. Serve with Country Range Easy Cook Basmati Rice.

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