Reviews Written by Chynna28:  

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Rice University
6100 Main Street
Houston, TX 77005

5.0 Palms
5.0 Palms
Gluten Free Dining at Rice University in Houston Apr 16, 2013
reviewer: Chynna28 from Houston, TX

My experience at Rice has only improved since arriving in Fall of 2011. Before moving in, I had contacted the head of dining services, who told me to talk to the chef upon my arrival. I immediately approached the chef at the cafeteria at my dorm as soon as I arrived for orientation. He was willing to schedule a meeting with me; the next day we met. The chef explained what options were gluten-free, and even offered to make gluten-free pasta or grill me a piece of fish if there was ever a time in which I didn't like the available options.
He would make sure to get me individual boxes of gluten-free cereal and the occasional dessert.
This year, the cafeteria I usually eat in switched chefs. The new chefs, and many others across campus, have begun labeling which of their options are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan. Rice prides itself on the freedom their chefs have in creating recipes and meals for the week; thus, I feel comfortable eating something that is labeled gluten-free. The cereal bar now has gluten-free options (Corn Chex), and foods like soups are labeled gluten-free. Our chef has even made Asian food using rice noodles, and it's always a comfort to glance at the menu near the foods and easily determine what I am allowed to eat.
I ate at one of Rice's other serveries the other day, and even found a dedicated gluten-free toaster. As a active member of Rice's student government, I've been able to develop close relationship with Housing and Dining, and have seen how committed they are to students with food allergies and intolerances. The chefs are accessible and always willing to accommodate requests. I love the occasional surprise of finding gluten-free macaroons in the servery, especially when they are not specifically-made for me, but for everyone else as well.
I am impressed with the relationships the chefs are able to develop with students who have intolerances and allergies. I ate at a different cafeteria the other day, and saw a chef who I had met earlier last year. He immediately remembered me, and came over and said hi. The next day I received an email saying that he had made an entire flourless cake for me and wanted me to come pick it up.
The fact that I am not the only one on campus eating specially prepared foods has done wonders for celiac disease awareness. Many of my friends comment when they notice that a meal is gluten-free, and for a person with a food intolerance, it's one of the few times when I don't feel alienated from my peers regarding my food choices.
Something I am really impressed with is the variety of foods that are available for students with allergies and intolerances. Because almost every dining hall on campus has gluten-free options, I am not restricted in the serveries I have to eat at. Usually, I will look at the menus online before I pick where I eat; however, I usually eat at the server closest to my residential dorm. There is no need for advance notice because the gluten-free options are not separate from what others eat.

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