Last weekend I went down to Washington DC to visit my best friend for my birthday and the two of us went to the Gluten Free Cooking Spree in Bethesda, MD. The event, which was held in the Hyatt, was very different then any of the other gluten free events I have been to in the past. The Cooking Spree was almost like a cocktail party with gluten free foods.
There were food stations set up on the perimeter of room. Each station was showcasing their “best” gluten free menu item. Being that I am not from DC most of the restaurants were new to me.
The event also showcased some well known speakers. The most memorable was Dr. Bob Anderson, a recognized international leader in the immunology and clinical management of celiac disease from Australia, spoke about his recent work on groundbreaking celiac treatment trial. He emphasized the necessity for diagnosing the enormous number of people around the world living with celiac disease as well as eventually finding a cure. He stated that the US is one of the farthest behind in diagnosing and awareness. Some other speakers were Linda Arterburn, Vice President-Development for Alba Therapeutics Corporation which is currently working on celiac treatment study and Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Chiropractor and Certified Clinical Nutritionist.
There was also a “best tasting dish” contest in which each of the restaurant food stations presented their dishes to a panel of judges. The best part was that everyone was able to taste the food which was being judged. The restaurants that participated were Wildfire Restaurant (bacon wrapped scallop), Lilit Café (crab cake), Jaleo (endives), Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (pizza), Legal Sea Foods (Paella), Peacock Grand Café (tuna), Sweet Sin (Lamb Chops) and Zengo(scallops).
A separate dessert table was set up as well. In my opinion the most note worthy dessert was the Starbucks new gluten free cake which was not yet out in stores. It was delish! Cherry Blossom Cakes was also there, although, I am privy to Babycakes in NYC.
A silent auction was also held in a separate area along with a small vendor sampling area which included booths from Joan’s (my FAVORITE bagels!), Snikiddy, Mahatma Rice, Cabot Cheese, among a few others. Wegman’s grocery store also provided a great gift bag as we left the event.
Overall, the event was a classy affair which I found very enjoyable. I did notice that the event attendees were not as warm as past events. One of the best parts of attending GF events is meeting the people; I have found that most people are willing to talk and share their stories. However, I felt that this event people tended to stay to themselves. The food was great and the wine and beer were flowing!