Traveling isn’t just a passion … it’s a calling. My passion, however, became a bit complicated a little more than two years ago when I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. The days of throwing caution to the wind—eating whatever looked and smelled good—was long gone. But what type of journalist would I be if I couldn’t adapt to my current situation and learn to write about something new?
My website, Pasta’s Kitchen, was born out of necessity. I made it my duty to provide the growing gluten-free community with healthy recipes, tips on eating out, and restaurant coverage on chefs and locales who were catering to food allergies. The travel aspect was shifted back into focus after taking a new job with a publishing company that required me to travel both internationally and domestically quite frequently. I began to create game plans, map out restaurants well in advance, and learn to say gluten-free catch phrases in new languages.
This laid the ground work for my leisure travel, which as you can imagine, I take quite seriously. There’s simply nothing like going to an unfamiliar place and exploring its culture, language, people and, of course, food. It helps a person become more open-
After a very brutal winter, my family and I were contemplating a vacation together to celebrate my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary. For their honeymoon, they traveled on a Mediterranean cruise, and although we wanted to attempt to recreate that, we were hitting a wall when it came to pricing, timing, and everything else. Eventually, we found an itinerary to die for and a price we could swallow
, on Celebrity
The Prep Work
Any time someone has a food allergy—no matter where they travel—they must go prepared. I usually create a gluten-free checklist that begins with a copious amount of Internet research. Given what I’ve chosen as my profession, I’m usually head-
For this particular trip, my next step involved plotting out restaurants that cater to gluten-free folks. I made sure I had restaurant recommendations, phone numbers, and addresses for several GF
Just before my departure, I spoke with Rufino Rengifo, corporate executive chef, and Dominique Gamba, traveling restaurant manager of Celebrity Cruises. The duo informed me that Celebrity can accommodate special diets for both lunch and dinner in the main dining rooms that include vegetarian, gluten free, diabetic, low fat, low sodium, low cholesterol, and lactose free—all of which were constructed by chefs, while consulting dietary specialists. “Once guests contact the Access Department of their food allergy, for example gluten free, it will be noted in the booking, and it will be forwarded to the ship. The guest should check with the restaurant manager or maitre’d of the main dining room upon boarding to discuss his or her allergy,” explained Rengifo.
Even though I bent over backwards with prep work before my trip, I wasn’t sure what I would come up against once I was onboard our ship, the Celebrity Solstice. While aboard, I met with the food and beverage director, Giorgio Di Pietro, who gave me the run
The moral of the story : Always be prepared and never be afraid to speak up. Often times, you may let someone know prior to your dining experience that you have an allergy, but somewhere along the way, it may have been forgotten. Go in with a positive attitude and be able to articulate what your allergy is and what you can/cannot eat. A smile and a friendly disposition go a long way—
This article was written by guest contributer Kristen Oliveri. Food writer by day, financial journalist by day-job, Kristen “Pasta” Oliveri began Pasta’s Kitchen in June of 2009, after a flurry of coworkers noted her incredible brown-bagged Italian cooking outshone anything the nearby chains had for sale. They urged her to create a Web site showcasing her freelance food and wine articles, celebrating her love for food. With bellyfuls of manicotti and minestrone, Kristen’s new nickname and blog were born. These days, Pasta is focused on eating healthy and awareness, maintaining a diet that steers clear of pre-packaged, gluten-riddled, calorie-laden dishes. Not only is she learning to deal with her allergies, but she’s also experimenting in the kitchen to create meals she can share with friends and family that are delicious and overall healthy. And if you’re wondering why she sticks with the beloved Pasta nickname, she’ll tell you she never had to give up her beloved pasta. She just indulges in rice pasta instead. Follow Kristen’s journey at www.pastaskitchennyc.wordpress.com.
- Share this:
About the Author
This article was written by one of our awesome guest contributors. We love having new and inspiring voices on our site to help our readers Let Go and Live Big so we hope you enjoyed this guest post!