AIP Luncheon

(the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts,
in Vancouver, Canada)


For most people, eating in a restaurant isn’t stressful. On the contrary!  Eating out usually represents leisure… service… gastronomic discovery… a treat, even. But for others — for people diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, for example — eating in a restaurant can feel like an ordeal.

First of all, there’s the obligatory “confession” (to an all-too-often disinterested server) of all of your numerous and varied dietary restrictions.  Next, there’s the uncomfortable faith that the information will be…

  1. accurately transmitted to the kitchen, and
  2. followed by kitchen staff.

Then, it’s fingers crossed that cross-contamination will not be an issue… that, in this restaurant they’ll surely not, for example, use the same serving spoon to plate rice as they did couscous.

And finally, when the plate does arrive, there’s the slow but not unfamiliar realization that the process of adapting an otherwise beautiful and undoubtedly delicious pre-conceived dish to a set of after-the-fact ingredient restrictions, really only ensures that the food is under-seasoned, under-decorative, unimaginatively plated, and hardly worth the price.

Enter Jan Steele, a recent culinary arts graduate from the Pacific Institute for Culinary Arts.  Jan has Celiac Disease… always has.  And, after a bout of severe illness prompted her to complete a certification in nutritional therapy and a further specialization as an AIP Certified Coach, Jan undertook PICA’s Culinary Arts programme as the final step on a new career path aimed at making the experience of eating out less stressful for the autoimmune community.

A not-so-simple task

Elimination diets are becoming more and more common, it seems. And while some have come to be mainstream enough that restaurants can incorporate their principles — gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan — others are considerably more complex.  The Autoimmune Paleo diet is one of the complex ones:  grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free, nightshade vegetable-free, free of all industrial and refined products, and minimal in refined sugar content , with a focus on nutrient density.  It’s a doozy!  Still, enough variety remains — carefully-chosen meats of quality, almost all of the vegetables, many fruits — that the task is an interesting one for a budding student of the culinary arts. Having followed the diet myself for several months before starting at PICA, I was already in the habit of flagging the various recipes that I was discovering in the programme that were a) naturally compliant, or b) easily “tweakable”. Thus was born a beautiful three-course meal, complete with amuse-bouche and tailor-made beverages:

A peek at the desserts

Duck-leg “Confit”
on Beetroot Noodles

AIP-compliant “petit-fours”

Citrus Tuna Tartare

Is the AIP perhaps a solution for you?
Let's talk about it...

Optimize your health despite your autoimmune disease
by adopting the AIP.  (I will help you do it!).
The Auto-Immune Protocol is a diet and lifestyle intervention that minimizes inflammation in the body
and facilitates healing.