Scotts’ gluten free dishes are seeing them become a firm favourite with diners suffering from an intolerance to wheat.
And, since introducing gluten free fish and chips at Scotts of Helmsley and Scotts at Bilborough outlets, both venues are attracting an increasing number of regular clients coming especially for the allergy-free offerings.
Owner Tony Webster took the step just a few months after taking over the Helmsley venue, when he reluctantly had to turn away a customer with a food allergy away.
Mr Webster, together with chef manager Shane White, realised there was a market to be had by catering for those whose condition prevents them from eating conventional fish and chips.
The pair designated a part of the Helmsley kitchen as “gluten free”, with separate fryer, chopping boards and produce, including bread, oil and flour.
This quickly resulted in people travelling lengthy distances to the award-winning chippie, who heard about Scotts’ offerings via various social media sites the business was actively targeting.
And, when Mr Webster opened his second Scotts on the A64 at Bilborough, near York, one of his and Shane’s priorities was to mirror the Helmsley shop’s gluten free section.
Tony said: “The ‘gluten free’ market is growing annually and any business not in tune to their customers’ needs will miss out big time.
“We have been offering not only gluten free fish and chip, but a range of starters, mains and puddings, for the last three years now, and it is a winner.
“We go to great lengths to ensure our gluten free ingredients and utensils used for preparing the dishes are kept totally separate. This includes fryers, fridges, chopping boards and knives.
“We also ensure all staff are fully trained and know just how important it is to keep both sections separate.”
Diane Wright,from Nottinghamshire, who found Scotts whilst holidaying in North Yorkshire, said: “Scotts’ isn’t just good – Scotts goes beyond the next level!
“I was diagnosed with Coeliac disease four years ago and I am incredibly careful where I go out to eat, if at all. As soon as I entered and mentioned to the Scotts staff that I had Coeliac disease they were knowledgeable, they were trained and it was fantastic.
“Earlier in the week, I had been to a restaurant in Whitby which claimed to serve gluten free food. However, the fish was not battered and they could not guarantee the chips would be gluten free.
“With Scotts it was different, and this is the first time in years I have been able to enjoy proper battered fish and chips. And, even better, they have a choice of starters and desserts.”
Scotts’ chef manager Shane White said: “I have noticed over 20 years in hospitality a significant shift in coeliac dining. Once it was one in 100 wedding guests that requested it, leaving chefs both clueless and reluctant to prepare a special meal.
“The upward trend we see at Helmsley alone gives us great pleasure in providing our award-winning fish and chips in a delicious, crispy gluten free batter.
“More importantly, our stringent process delivers the entire experience in a safe and careful way. In fact, we encourage customers to go behind the scenes and see for themselves how we produce their gluten free dishes.”
Shane added: “It is a wonderful experience talking to sufferers that have not had quality fish and chips for many years – we reassure them, and we deliver not only one course, but starters and desserts too.
“We are in the process of researching more options with nationally accepted Coeliac groups and societies to help further improve our gluten free menu, thereby giving people with wheat intolerance a real choice when it comes to dining out.