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Even though I love and live to eat, I’d never prepared for eating onion bhajis on national television! A few years ago I was invited by This Morning to talk about Coeliac Disease with the lovely Phillip Schofield, Fern Britton and Dr Chris (who has since been diagnosed with CD himself). At the end of the interview I joined Phil Vickery in the kitchen for the cooking demo and tasting of GF onion bhajis. It wasn’t my most elegant eating performance, but they tasted awesome hot from the oil.

Off air, Phil V and I spoke about the challenges of cooking gluten free and he mentioned his work with Coeliac UK Seriously Good! Gluten Free Cooking, which has in my mind helped to transform free from publishing. Now, with three gluten free books to his name and as Coeliac UK Food Ambassador, Phil is a true Gluten Free Champion who also lives by the Naturally Gluten Free values. So I am thrilled to present a little interview below:

NGF – Welcome to Naturally Gluten Free. Now, you’re not Coeliac or gluten free yourself, so why have you championed gluten free cookery like you have?

PV – It all came about from having a Christmas pudding company and not being able to get flour at the right price.

NGF – What did you learn on your gluten free journey?

PV – There is a massive problem and market out there (for CD) and a lot of people ignoring it, or can’t be bothered with it, especially in the catering industry.

NGF – What would your advice be to a newly diagnosed Coelaic?

PV –  Go straight to Coeliac UK – a brilliant organisation with tons and tons of
help. Be prepared to change completely the way you approach food. Check the ingredients lists very carefully and be prepared to experiment!

NGF  –  Given your roles as National Food Ambassador for Coeliac UK and GF author, do you cook more gluten free food now?

PV –  Not more GF food, but I’m much more aware off it and am constantly testing and writing recipes.

NGF –  Given your extensive experience as a chef, what would be your top tip for eating out safely gluten free?

PV  –  Check, check and re-check with the restaurant, chef, managers and owners that they know exactly what is involved with Coeliac Disease.

NGF  –  Any brilliant gluten free products out there that you want to tell Coeliacs about?

PV – Yes but can’t talk at the moment about them… Although Costa Coffee has just produced a very nice Bakewell tart, but the pastry needs to be a little more cooked for me. I also like Foodmentalists Yorkshire pudding mix…

Thanks again to Phil… and for some of his gluten free recipes, check out Phil’s website Vickerys TV