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Following from my last post, about the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen programme, I’ve received a reply from the BBC saying the following:

Dear Miss Howells

Thank you for contacting us regarding the BBC One programme ‘Saturday Kitchen’ broadcast on 9 April.

We understand you were unhappy with the comments made by Anthony Demetre about his eating habits even though he has been diagnosed with Coeliac disease.

Anthony is a diagnosed coeliac and his children have shown signs of wheat intolerance. He therefore cooked a dish that was without gluten as it is something he has always been keen to support within his restaurant business.

In discussing his eating habits Anthony was expressing his own personal way of coping with the condition and at no point did he advocate it as a diet that others should try. He accepts that maybe his choice of words could have been better judged but at no point did he intend to anger people and he is perfectly entitled to control his eating in any way he deems right for him. However, he apologises should anyone have been offended or upset by his words but he will continue to serve and cook gluten free food, something that is very unusual in the world of professional chefs.

‘Saturday Kitchen’ highlights a range of different culinary style and foods. We always strive to provide recipes that are suitable for all diets and we will continue to do so.

We would like to assure you that your concerns were raised with the ‘Saturday Kitchen’ production and registered on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

Kind Regards

BBC Audience Services

What do you think of their reply? Have you received one yourself? Let me know by commenting below!

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About Sarah Howells

Hi, I'm Sarah! Diagnosed with coeliac disease 20 years ago, I'm on a mission to create the best gluten free recipes since sliced bread. No fruit salads or dry brownies here.

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  1. It is true of course that he is free to “manage his diet” as he wishes – however if someone in his position talked about binge drinking, or binge eating, as “their way” of “managing their diet”, or someone who was diabetic talked about eating what they want once a month and taking themselves to the edge of a coma as “their way” of managing their condition, there would be an outcry.

    Coeliac disease is not a “diet” to be managed. It is a disease. It really seems that he does not truly understand the facts about coeliac disease.

    As I have mentioned before – but will again because it is worth saying – the extreme result of continuing to eat gluten if you are a coeliac can be life threatening conditions such as cancer. I know this because that is what happened to my Dad.

    I do not feel that the BBC have understood the situation and I do not feel that Anthony has even begun to address the damage that he has caused.

  2. Not very satisfactory answer is it?

    Very irresponsible, narrow view expressed when prime time could have been used wisely

    As for continuing to cook gluten-free food being “something very unusual for professional chefs” that really takes the Mickey

    All in all VERY annoying
    I didn’t get a reply, but guess it’ll say the same…

    Keep trying I guess! And thank goodness for Phil Vickery

  3. My identical reply arrived about 20 minutes ago in my email box.

    It’s astounding really – where they say he can manage his diet in the way he deems right for him. I wonder what internal damage is being done to him and what long term complications he will encounter along life’s way because of this. I wonder what his gastro-enterologist would think about it.

  4. I think the real apology would be best given next week on the show. They could then highlight the risk of the disease better and explain the importance of leaving out gluten completely from the diet.

  5. I agree with Annie that the BBC don’t appear to have understood this, and with Lauren that a full apology and explanation next week would be the way forward. There is an opportunity to put this right, and do something good – I hope they take it. It was the laughter – as if it were some joking matter – that has left a poor taste in my mouth.

  6. I consider it was irresposible for anyone to express such controversial opinions in public, there is the danger that other coeliacs will follow that routine and suffer serious medical consequences.

    I did complain to the BBC and received an almost identical reply. I agree with the opinion that an apology should be broadcast on the Saturday Kitchen show.

  7. I complained and got the same responce – word for word! I expect quite a few people must have complained for them to draft a reply.
    Coeliac UK have also highlighted in on their site too.

  8. At Gluten Free Guerrillas we also feel the same. The BBC reply missed the key points of our and many other Coeliacs complaints and simply dumbed down the incident which is deeply insulting. As we and many of our fans have since written on our blog, the BBC STILL need to apologise properly. They are funded by the public, have a duty of care and the Production team should have put the Chef’s comments into context. By appearing not to listen to the concerns of Coeliacs and our families and friends they have pushed back all the hard work we have done to raise awareness of Coeliac Disease as an auto-immune disease (not an allergy) and explain why the importance of a strict gluten free diet is the solution to managing the condition. Such a great opportunity missed. We hope they put it right by a) apologising on this weekend’s show and b) doing a good informed piece with Coeliac UK in May to support Awareness Week. That would be a real apology! #BBC #Fail

  9. I don’t usually watch Saturday Kitchen and only caught this episode because it was on after the F1 Qualifying last week. I have to say, it hasn’t made me ever want to watch it again. I felt that he was belittling the disease and the suffering people who have it have to go through.

    I also got the same standard response and certainly won’t be either watching the show again nor eating in one of Anthony’s restaurants any time soon.