My most rewarding gluten-free project to date was planning my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this fall—a completely gluten-free affair for 140 guests. I was lucky to have Chef David Chung of Akasaka Japanese Restaurant working with me for this special occasion. There was an Asian-style hut set up in the foyer of Le Parc where people could help themselves to gluten-free sushi that was being prepared fresh by Chef David. The sushi was served with gluten-free soy sauce (tamari). When it was time for the guests to move into the dining room, Chef David got ready the Asian Station, one of the four stations for dinner. The Asian Station included pad Thai, fried rice and chicken yakatori. Not only was the food prepared gluten free, it was also made without nuts and shrimp. Chef David did an outstanding job of omitting the things that we couldn’t have in the food while maintaining the fantastic taste of all the dishes.
I love working with Chef David because he always figures out a way to make food safe while ensuring that it is delicious. He runs his restaurant like that as well, which is why Akasaka is one of my favourite restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area. Chef David and his staff are so accommodating and willing to make the changes that are necessary for people to feel safe while dining out. I helped Chef David make his restaurant gluten-free friendly over five years ago. Akasaka has a gluten-free menu that is plentiful and includes many great items to choose from and the staff is well trained on how to manage a gluten-free order. While dining at the Teppanyaki tables, you are served a miso soup that is gluten free and a salad with gluten-free dressing, and the chefs prepare the meal with gluten-free soy sauce (tamari) and teriyaki sauce. We always get a delicious meal when we go to Akasaka and I leave feeling like the gluten-free request was taken seriously and that they truly know what they are doing with respect to keeping the food safe.
I can’t do an entire blog on Chef David and Akasaka without mentioning the wonderful gluten-free cooking classes we do together. Chef David and I offer two different classes: a sushi class and a pad Thai and dumpling class. We do the classes around a Teppanyaki table at the restaurant. The class size is always small so everyone gets to spend ample time with both Chef David and myself, and the food we make is delicious (you get to keep the recipes!). I am so excited to be offering the classes again this year. We will be announcing all the details at the Gluten Free Garage and giving attendees first dibs at a chance to come to one of the classes. Plus, a special price will be offered to those who sign up at the GFG!
Chef David is an amazing chef who really cares about the gluten-free community. I can’t say enough great things about a chef willing to take on all the challenges that come with a gluten-free diet and food allergies in general!
Dr. JoAnne Bennett Mirsky, founder of Gluten Free Consultant, has dedicated the past five years to helping families and businesses adapt to the gluten-free lifestyle. She teaches people which foods are safe and how to read labels, organizes kitchens, takes people on shopping tours, offers recipes and cooking classes, and plans special events that revolve around food (such as birthdays and religious holidays).
A chiropractor by profession, Dr. Mirsky owned and operated two chiropractic clinics before becoming a gluten free consultant. Throughout her undergraduate education, she pursued a number of courses in nutrition at the University of Western Ontario. As a student of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, she won the Drs Phillip and Laura Martin Nutrition Award for the highest academic achievement in clinical nutrition. Dr. Mirsky’s education gives her the scientific background and knowledge to provide accurate information with respect to celiac disease and the gluten-free diet. She became involved in the gluten-free lifestyle when her daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease at a young age. Being a member of a family with gluten-free needs helps Dr. Mirsky relate to others living the gluten-free lifestyle and ensures that her information is up to date.