Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Open Letter to "Chef" Damian Cardone

Dear Damian,
I am a gluten-free potential restaurant patron and as such, would like to educate you a bit on your anti-"gluten-free" rants on facebook.
(For those not on Celiac.com, Karina's Kitchen blog, or any number of other high-profile gluten-free websites, here is a sample link to the online explosion discussing this "chef" and what he posted on his facebook wall for the entire world to see: Damian Cardone )

I am certain you know absolutely nothing about Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, or various other reasons why one would find it necessary to maintain a strict gluten-free diet, but as you call yourself a "chef" and claim to have studied under an entire host of more famous, better educated chefs whom I am certain would be embarrassed to be lumped together with you right now (severely anger any large people group who sustains your livelihood and you stand alone), I decided I should personally educate you.

I should also mention that I have been one of those "liberal hippie idiot" diners (and anyone who knows me is spitting coffee at their computer screens right now) ordering the gluten-free meal. I have been gluten-free for five years now. I was gluten-free before gluten-free was cool.

You posted:
"May god help the Liberal hippie idiot whos going to ask for gluten free pasta this weekend."
and...
"Gluten free is bullXXX!! Flour and bread have been a staple of life for thousands, THOUSANDS of years. People who claim to be gluten intolorent dont realize that its all in there disturbed liitle heads. People ask me for gluten free pasta in my restaurant all the time, I tell em sure, Then I serve serve em our pasta, Which I make from scratch with high gluten flour. And you know what? nothing, NOTHING! ever happens! People leave talking about how good they feel gluten free and guess what, They just had a full dose! Idiots!" 


(by the way... you misspelled "intolerant" ... just an ironic little heads up.)


If you would like to know why it is that your patrons leave and you never see any effects of their just being poisoned, it's because (and this is KEY for you to understand) this is not an "allergic reaction" type dietary restriction on the same level as a nut allergy which would cause anaphylaxis. Many of those who are gluten-free do have a secondary skin-inflammation that happens when they use lotions or creams with wheat protein, but that's not central to the actual dietary need to remain gluten-free. This is an "allergy" that happens in the INTESTINES. Now, I doubt you have the type of establishment in which diners hang out for hours on end after being poisoned, but if you did... I feel quite certain that you would be witness to some of the most atrocious "reactions" you have ever witnessed. 


If you have ever had food poisoning, ever had the flu, ever laid on the floor of the bathroom with your cheek on the cold ceramic tile - shaking and shivering  - you have a clue as to what happens when you poison your diners with "high-gluten flour" pasta. I can't even imagine anyone hiring or continuing to employ such a flagrant liability as you, but I can guarantee if I were to eat at your restaurant and become that sick, I would know without a doubt that I had eaten gluten and that you and your restaurant were the culprit. And I would show up at the restaurant the next day (or 48 hours since usually I can't leave the house for that long when I get poisoned) and discuss these ramifications in person. 


Furthermore, the effects of such a poisoning can last many days. Those with full-blown Celiac Disease actually have intestinal damage which can be seen during a scoping procedure following even a slight gluten-ingestion (such as the gluten in a beef base containing Modified Food Starch coming from wheat or barley)... much less a full onslaught from being intentionally poisoned. I am sure that any unsuspecting diner would welcome you into the exam room while they have such a procedure preformed, and you can even have one as well for comparison purposes! 


Lest you think I am being hard on you because I don't understand the stressful nature of your job, my husband is a chef. A really awesome one at that. He has won competitions all over the country and has ACF medals stashed in his glove compartment, cups in the garage, and various drawers all over the house. He teaches morons uninformed chefs like yourself. He judges competitions and tests chefs for their next certification level. What is your ACF certification level? I bet I know. 
When we go out to eat, he helps me decipher menu items under the lens of his experience in kitchens for the past 20 years. He has multiple family members who are gluten-free and has many, many years of experience and I am sure he would gladly come to your restaurant and inform you personally of the culinary malpractice of which you are so boldly admitting. 


Finally, Mr. Cardone, good luck finding employment. Last I checked, a quick "googling" of your name brought up blog posts like this one, articles quoting your facebook rants, and various websites mentioning your ineptness. Not ONE result was a good review, a competition you have won, or a newspaper article singing your praises.


I would recommend an apology, and that you take some continuing education classes on allergen awareness, celiac disease, cooking for those with intolerances, and perhaps good business practices in the electronic/social media age. 

(*Edited* - This news report (the video feed) covers the story well: Colorado News Story )

64 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing what I cannot at this moment.

    ReplyDelete
  2. p.s. copy and paste this as a message to his Facebook account!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you from all of us!! I pray he gets a life lesson in all of this and truly learns something and doesn't just blame the gf world for his unemployment.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great response to his ignorant rants! Thank you for posting this, I am sharing it with my readers and Facebook fans!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this post.I cannot understand why someone would want to inflict this type of agony on another person..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for writing this. I encountered a person just like this at the Claddagh Irish Pub in the midwest. The ignorance is unbelievable.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You are so much nicer than I want to be right now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Excellent post. Ooohhhhhhh .... my blood is boiling right now, and I can't write anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sharing this as well - thank you for writing this! I as thinking of writing something similar - but need to let my anger cool for a while before an attempt, as I just discovered all this uproar this morning.
    -Caneel from Mama Me Gluten Free

    ReplyDelete
  10. No question this chef handled the issue poorly and tactlessly. If he doesn't want to cater to gluten free customers that is certainly his right, but he should say so openly and NOT assure customers he will honor their request and then not do so. "Gluten free" for most commercial kitchens is a difficult issue since gluten is in many of the foods that we eat and insuring a dish is gluten free is challenging if your kitchen is not gluten free but that is no excuse for not being honest about your practices!!

    Just an FYI for everyone - Celiac isn't an allergy but rather a condition in which the body does not produce the enzyme required to separate or break the amino acid chains in gluten. As you pointed out, those with Celiac disease suffer painful symptoms upon ingestion of gluten and it can cause damage to the intestinal tract.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So very well written! I am absolutely OUTRAGED by this person's ineptness. I will be sharing your article on my Facebook page (Hold The Gluten). Take care, Maureen

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonderful letter. Although I have no gluten issues, I have been appalled by this man's behavior. I do not think he realizes the power of the internet and would not be surprised if his employment comes to an end soon.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Even a "real food allergy" can have a delayed reaction. I know they say up to 4 hours, but my son has had reactions 24 hours + after consuming an unsafe food.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I am speechless. Thank you for writing this! I hope this 'chef' never finds work again. What an ignorant and evil man...

    Laura ( the Gluten Free Traveller)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I wish there was something more I could do to "out" this person. We do not have Celiac in our family, but two of my four children are allergic to wheat, one severely. If my oldest child had eaten the pasta that Cardone served claiming it was gluten-free, without medical attention, it would have killed my son right there in the restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks like this is his FB profile. Stay away from Tavern On The Green in NYC! http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001260439226

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for this. I linked to it on my blog if that's okay. People should know how sick this guy is.

    -Taylor (no grain, no pain)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for this letter! I have Celiac and this type of "chef" would make me EXTREMELY sick not just for days but for weeks! I thought that when they went to school they were taught about food allergies, maybe that class should be called food diseases instead. I to will be sharing this and hopefully his name will go viral!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank you so much for this open letter. It's beautiful and well written. Your blog is a joy to read. I hope the "chef" gets the message.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thank you not only for helping to "out" this guy but also for writing such an eloquent, informed rant against everything he stands for. Your comparison of the gluten reaction to food poisoning was perfect. May this mean-spirited idiot never find employment in the food industry again.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This guy has publicly admitted to purposely feeding people things they've asked him not to. At best he gives poor customer service. At worst he is a poisoner and needs to be stopped.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Bless you for getting this out there!

    ReplyDelete
  23. thank you for sharing this---I had no idea.
    the idea of my children being intentionally glutenized in the name of profit, or for a sick joke makes me physically ill.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Masterful. Sharing. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I first saw the "chef's" comments yesterday and since then it's been a fire storm of complaints and outrage. This response is fabulous. Thanks for all your hard work for this awesome community.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I recommend voicing your concern directly to the person involved via facebook. I left him an email. Won't you help me convince him that there are lots of people who can get sick from this?

    Also, please write to the food and/or health editor at your favorite newspaper. I wrote to the NY Times. I hope that it gets picked up by a newspaper that can make a difference and expose this sort of thing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I sent him a personalized message that was similar to this without as much detail. I am a chef as well and was diagnosed last March. I cannot believe this man's rant-he is a horrible person with no regard for the health and well being of his diners. Shame on him on so many levels.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I see a lawsuit or 12 in his future! Well said, Chrissy.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you so VERY MUCH for articulating this so beautifully in writing!

    ReplyDelete
  30. What about sending your reply to the owner of his restaurant? And the editor of the paper where he lives in Colorado?

    Great reply, btw.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Just saw that someone called the restaurant and he hasnt worked there since March 15th

    ReplyDelete
  32. thank you! My son has celiac and is also allergic to wheat and other products. I will post on my blog too and lead back to here.

    ReplyDelete
  33. At our house I have always equated gluten the same as RAT POISON. I truly feel like what this chef has done is criminal. Thank you for giving your readers a heads up.

    ReplyDelete
  34. THIS! I just posted on my blog about him in the hopes of adding to the google cache when someone looks this guy up. Does anyone know which restaurant he works at in CO (not the one we all know he doesn't work at anymore)? YIKES!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Well said!!!!!! I doubt he will ever see this, but with luck other chefs and cooks will and avoid following in his footsteps in regards to patrons and their dietary needs.

    ReplyDelete
  36. I just sent a message to him as well - uneducated & biased ... as you say, he'd be better off saying 'no, I can't fill your request!'
    My daughter had the genetic testing done about 20 months ago, & have been winding down that road of trying to avoid glutenation when we eat out ... a sweet little Italian Rest in our area - Cielo Blu in Carlton, OR, DOES offer GF pasta & is very good!
    We now take digestive enzymes, & those can be a great help with accidental gluten ingestion ...& help heal the gut.
    My daughter experienced a return of panic attacks with heart palpitations for almost a week after an accidental ingestion - a whole cupcake that she thought was GF, - yuck! & her 9 year old daughter threw a full fit, kicking, screaming, hitting things ...

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you for remaining calm and presenting the facts of gluten free life needs so eloquently.
    This guy needs to retool for another career ASAP

    ReplyDelete
  38. God Bless you for writing this!!!! You spoke for all of us that have to eat gf!! I linked your blog to my fb page....


    Blessings to you & your family!! ~ Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  39. by the way, one of the familys in my daughter's 'Moms Group' just returned from Ethiopia with their new daughter Rebeka - beautiful, beautiful baby gir!!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you for your letter! Let us hope he reads it!
    I don't wish any evil on this man. I see he has a family to provide for too, so I hope he can find employment again if this indeed causes him to lose his job. I just really hope this is a learning process for him and that he will come to understand how serious of an issue this is.
    One thing different I did as a response to this is that I sent the information about this incident to the management of my favorite local restaurant. They've been working so hard to make their restaurant a safe place for celiacs like me, so I sent them the articles and told them how relieved I am that this type of attitude and these procedures aren't seen at their restaurant and how much I appreciated them!

    ReplyDelete
  41. excellent. Thank you very much. Hopefully other chefs will take notice of this and not follow in his steps. Incidently, I wonder if he could be charged for fraud and attempt to harm? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  42. My wife found out last summer that she is gluten intolerant, and I have been struggling against a host of misleadingly labeled products on the grocery shelves to learn to cook all over again, so she can be healthy. For an arrogant prick like this to take that control away from diners, the control of their health, is outrageous! People (and I use the term loosely here) like Cardone are why I do not eat out much. As his reputation makes its way around the net, I am sure he will have to find employment elsewhere, and in a new career path.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great letter!

    Unfortunately, I don't think Mr. Cardone really thought about the consequences of his little anti-Celiac rant in the age of social media. I also think he should seriously reconsider his career path...a true chef wants their patrons to enjoy food, not suffer because of it.

    Hopefully all of us who are affected by Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, or even just know someone who is, can help continue to educate people on how serious it really is! We shouldn't have to explain ourselves to idiots like this guy!

    ReplyDelete
  44. http://paulandchrissy.blogspot.com/2011/03/open-letter-to-chef-damian-cardone.html


    It just breaks my heart that someone would be that cruel to unsuspecting customers. I just found out back in May of 2010 that I have Celiac Disease. As everyone knows this is not a diet that people choose or wish to imprison themselves and their family members too. If a restaurant doesn’t want to serve people with Gluten Sensitivity or be a Gluten free Friendly restaurant that is their choice, but please don’t lie to us and pretend to be sensitive to our plight and then serve us Gluten, just because you do not believe in it. That is just plain cruel, and this person should lose his job for not being completely honest with his customer.

    ReplyDelete
  45. As of this afternoon, I see he no longer has a Facebook page, he had posted a picture with some *&%$# under it showing how many emails etc. he received today.

    ReplyDelete
  46. thank you for saying this i have googled him also and found nothing good about him. i can not believe how rude and self centered he is. it has not been easy for my large family to change their ways for me and mistakes have been made but never on purpose and we have learned from that this man is suppodedly educated in the kitchen and i am very angry hearing of this!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. You are AWESOME! Fantastic response. My instinct is to want to hope that Mr. Cardone rots in h*ll; at least yours is constructive!

    -- Gluten-free Minneapolis gal

    ReplyDelete
  48. On behalf of the gluten free community I would like to say thank you for saying so eloquently what we would like to have said ourselves!
    You have my respect.
    Aunt Jayne

    ReplyDelete
  49. Well said! How terrifying to know that there are folks like him out there. I hate to hear what he'd have to say about gf vegans! (haha) Not the best way to gain/keep customers. Geez o peez.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Well said. Interestingly enough...Damian Cardone has mysteriously disappeared from facebook.

    ReplyDelete
  51. This man shouldn't just be fired, he should be in jail. At the very least he should be sued into the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Yes, his Facebook profile is gone now...too bad that's not going to help because he ticked off a bunch of people who grabbed screenshots first: http://flic.kr/s/aHsju6fPhM

    ReplyDelete
  53. I know nothing about the gluten free issue,but I worked in the restaurant business for 15 years and I am appalled by Mr. Cardone's attitude and reprehensible behavior.
    That is not the way to run a restaurant.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Thank you for writing this. This man is an absolute imbecile and should be poisoned himself. I don't understand how someone can knowingly and willingly be harming so many people through his lies and actions. I feel so awful for the people who have been poisoned by him, and hope that he never finds a job as a chef/cook anywhere ever again!

    ReplyDelete
  55. What a dumbass.....thanks for responding to this uninformed person. I was 90lbs and almost dead at 27 years old then thankfully was diagnosed. My intestine walls were totally destroyed then within 6 months after the diet was started I gained 25 pounds within 6 months and when re-biopsied my intestine was back to normal.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thanks for standing up for the gluten free community. Also, I'm to be a grand-mother to an Ethiopian baby sometimes this year. Sorry, I'm so excited that I had to tell you!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thank you so much for your post. I wonder what Gordon Ramsey would say to Damian?

    ReplyDelete
  58. A great response! There is no way I could have worded a reply like that! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Amen to Chrissy! Your description of the after-effects was "right on!" Been on the floor like that many times but never read anyone else's description of it. That floor experience is exactly what I wish for Damian to make a believer out of him.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Very nice response! I love it! I too have Celiac disease and was mortified to hear that this guy is intentionally giving people gluten when they request GF. Ohhhh... so bad..

    ReplyDelete
  61. This man annoyed me so much. Believe me my daughter and I don't eat this "diet" because we want to and enjoy it. Believe me I would much rather eat what I want when I want. But Just last night we ate out at a Restraunt with a "gluten Friendly" menu and I had my little girl crying and throwing up in my bed at 4:30 this morning. But he's right it's all in her head.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Beautifully written! Thank you for such a clear coherent response to these atrocious actions. I hope he one day discovers he himself has Celiac disease.

    ReplyDelete
  63. what a horrible person for doing this! I'm so glad you wrote a great letter to him. He needs some serious help.

    ReplyDelete

Drama-free comment zone: