Vetri on 'gluten intolerance': He can't tolerate it

Chef Marc Vetri explains the parts of wheat in a January 2014 lecture to his class at Drexel University.

Few chefs today know more about wheat than Marc Vetri, who has conducted voluminous research for his next book, Mastering Pasta, which comes out next March.

His wheat obsession has become so intense that he has taken to grinding his own because of what he sees as the failings and shortcomings of most commercial product.

Wheat contains the protein deposit called gluten, and Vetri lives and works in an age of heightened awareness of gluten intolerance.

Diagnosis: Celiac disease. The gluten allergy damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. It's generally accepted in the scientific community that this is a major issue to about 1 percent of the population.

That's "it"?

"I'll put it this way," Vetri wrote yesterday on Huffington Post. "I'm a stutterer, and we also comprise 1 percent of the population. I bet you probably know many people who claim they're celiac, but how many stutterers do you know?"

Eat less gluten and you'll be healthier - the thinking goes - celiac disease or not. This misinformation has given rise to people pleading "gluten intolerance" or "gluten sensitivity," Vetri says.

His staff has become accustomed to hearing about allergies. "Nowadays everyone is seemingly allergic to something. ... If you don't want to eat goat, or you're simply allergic to mushrooms, just tell us. It's really no problem; we'll make you something else. At the end of the day, we just want to make you happy. We are in the hospitality business after all."

But then came this one customer...

Read the piece here, and check comments, which are solidly in his favor.