Did you know Knife & Fork is a 100% Gluten Free Restaurant?
When I first had the idea for Knife & Fork, it was going to open occasionally to satisfy my need to cook and entertain, as I was not convinced that demand would be that high in North Oxfordshire. An additional minor issue was that I had been diagnosed as Coeliac whilst living in Singapore. This means that everything I cook has to be gluten free, otherwise I can’t taste it without making myself ill; contrary to popular belief, even a tiny amount really does matter. However, when setting up Knife & Fork, I decided not to advertise the fact that all the food was gluten free because I felt that this might put off potential diners who might think – wrongly, obviously! – that it would be a bit peculiar.
So, I made the decision that I would not tell anyone that everything was gluten free unless asked. However, from the very beginning I made it very clear that I was happy to adapt the menu for anyone with allergies or intolerances (not just gluten free) as, funnily enough, I am very sympathetic and understanding of their needs!
Most people think that having to cook everything gluten free must be really restrictive for me as a chef, whereas I actually think that it makes me far more creative. As a chef and also as a lover of food I only want to cook or eat something if it is at least an 8/10 – anything below that is a waste of calories!
Rather than trying to replicate a ‘normal’ diet containing gluten, which I find produces a lot of inferior dishes, I take my inspiration from dishes and cuisines that are naturally gluten free. I also have a few very good, tried and tested recipes so that I can have my cake/pudding/bread/cracker fix every once in a while.
If a classic recipe can be adjusted to be gluten free and gives the same result, then I am very happy. If not, I go without or choose to eat something else.
I am now nearly a year on. I am thrilled that the majority of my guests have no need to eat gluten free but are very happy to dine here and many come back regularly even though they now know the truth! I use carefully sourced ingredients – no pseudo-food/ingredients as I call them – just classic cooking in my style – modern eclectic. Basically, what I love cooking and eating using cooking methods and ingredients from around the world.
A recent menu:
Asian prawn spoons
Sweet potato & coconut soup with sweet potato crisps
Leek & Gorgonzola risotto with shredded ham hock
Pan fried chicken breast, wild garlic cream sauce, green beans & new potatoes
Cheese plate – Delice de Bourgogne, Per Las & Black Bomber with celery, grapes, caramelised walnuts & Teff sea salt crackers
Treacle tart with passion fruit curd, Chantilly cream & candied orange
Apricot, toasted almond & chocolate marshmallows
If you are Coeliac, you know that you either are or are not, there are no degrees and therefore prevention of cross contamination is critical. All of my Coeliac diners know that they can just relax and enjoy their evening out; no need to cross examine us about ingredients or methods of cooking. Just relax, enjoy the food and drink, the ambience and the company.