Saturday Kitchen Chef Belittles Coeliac Disease

Anthony Demetre on Saturday Kitchen

If you are in the UK you will probably have seen or at least heard of Saturday Kitchen. There are so many cooking shows in the UK right now and this is one of them. I don’t normally watch these types of shows as I find then a little boring but I turned on BBC One yesterday when I heard that there was a coeliac chef on the show cooking quinoa. His meal looked delicious but his comments regarding coeliac disease and gluten free dieting were disgusting…


http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010gjn8/Saturday_Kitchen_09_04_2011/

I was gob smacked at chef Antony Demetre (a coeliac) and his comments on coeliac disease. Here’s what was said for those of you overseas who cannot access BBC iplayer.. ‘I was diagnosed as a coeliac maybe 5 years ago so it made me really rethink my whole diet. So I go on this diet with absolutely no gluten for about 3 months and then I for 2 weeks just eat as much pasta and pizza as I can get hold of’ (insert laughing from both him and the show’s host for this ridiculous comment) ‘because I can’t cut it out altogether, completely, fully becuase the body just rejects it when you do have it.’

Can you  believe this? Yip, this was really said on BBC 1 for the world to hear!

Shows like this have huge audience numbers and a comment like this leaves even more people out there with the attitude that coeliacs like me (and I’m sure many of you) who are so cautious about every single thing that they eat and who haven’t (intentionally) touched a crumb of gluten since we were diagnosed are just being a bit over the top. A comment like this belittles coeliac disease and in no way helps the general public to understand what the disease is and how it affects those of us who have it.

I was excited to hear that a coeliac chef was going to be on one of these programmes. Perhaps he would discuss the disease and raise even a little bit of awareness I thought. I was very wrong. Mr Demetre you have made me and many other coeliacs very angry…

I made my complaint to the BBC.  http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/

UPDATE: Here is the reply I received from the BBC after making my complaint.

Dear Miss Emmerson

Thank you for contacting us regarding the BBC One programme ‘Saturday Kitchen’ broadcast on 9 April.

We understand you were unhappy with the comments made by Anthony Demetre about his eating habits even though he has been diagnosed with Coeliac disease.

Anthony is a diagnosed coeliac and his children have shown signs of wheat intolerance. He therefore cooked a dish that was without gluten as it is something he has always been keen to support within his restaurant business.

In discussing his eating habits Anthony was expressing his own personal way of coping with the condition and at no point did he advocate it as a diet that others should try. He accepts that maybe his choice of words could have been better judged but at no point did he intend to anger people and he is perfectly entitled to control his eating in any way he deems right for him. However, he apologises should anyone have been offended or upset by his words but he will continue to serve and cook gluten free food, something that is very unusual in the world of professional chefs.

‘Saturday Kitchen’ highlights a range of different culinary style and foods. We always strive to provide recipes that are suitable for all diets and we will continue to do so.

We would like to assure you that your concerns were raised with the ‘Saturday Kitchen’ production and registered on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

BBC Audience Services

What do you think folks? I wasn’t impressed…

My complaint was the fact that on a popular show with high ratings this man made coeliac disease look like a lifestyle choice. He should be an advocate for coeliacs and gluten free cooking rather than making light of it. He can of course live his life however he pleases but as a coeliac HE KNOWS the long term health risks of eating gluten and such comments as he made could add further confusion to newly diagnosed coeliacs. Someone in his position should really be far more careful!!!

 

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Comments

  • Thanks for posting on this! As I live in Australia, I have not seen the show, nor am I able to directly report it to BBC. However, I think it is appalling as well! It is terrible that Anthony Demetre has done this and I have also taken this whole issue to task. This is terribly misleading toward society, as it gives much of the population a totally distorted view as to what coeliac disease actually is!

  • This reminds me of a surgeon I met about 5 yrs ago, who told me he was a diagnosed Celiac but still ate regular birthday cake any time it was in the office! Needless to say, I did not choose him as my physician. Who wants a guy sick or high on gluten operating on them? And so, it follows that I wouldn’t trust a chef who knew he had Celiac but ate gluten all the time anyway. Ugh.

  • @Kelly. I completely agree. It gives a totally distorted view! I liked your post on all of this madness too 🙂 Check out the response I got from the BBC..they didn’t really cover what my complaint was about..
    @Laura. A celiac surgeon who eats regular birthday cake! What’s with all these ridiculous people who should be ambassadors for celiac disease and gluten free dieting rather than giving it a bad name and making it sound like a fad!

  • Fair play Laura, the comments were crazy, I wasnt too happy with the response either, plus side is you might make points of view 😉

  • I missed this episode and to be honest I knew nothing about coeliac disease. I did some research and now know a lot more about the disease. I just wonder though whether these were maybe just light hearted remarks but as I say I didn’t see the show.

  • Bob, great to hear you did some research. More awareness if what we are going for 🙂 The comments were clearly based on how this chef (who is also a celiac) lives and deals with how he eats. Fair enough he can do as he pleases…it’s his own body..but to make such ignorant comments on a popular morning tv show gives viewers (and what’s worse..newly dx celiacs) a distorted view. It was very silly of him.

  • Omg just watched the clip and cannot believe his stupid comment. All I can say is….I hope he suffers during his pasta binge as much as I do if I eat one crumb of bread. Obviously he mustn’t or he wouldn’t do it. Makes you wonder if he really is coeliac at all. I think he needs a second opinion.

  • HORRIFYING! There are serious long-term health consequences from the behavior he describes for celiacs, even if they are asymptomatic. Every gluten exposure creates internal damage that interferes with absorption of nutrients even if one is tough enough to power-through the after-effects of being exposed to gluten. The cavalier attitude displayed on air also perpetuates the perception that responding to requests from diners for special precautions to avoid cross-contamination is both optional and harmless. So glad you spoke up!

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