PORT Fairy is now home to the only gluten-free pub in the south-west, a chef who's overhauled the menu believes.
Victoria Hotel head chef and co-owner Dianne Bradley spent a year eliminating gluten from the pub's menu, refining dishes like parmas, pizza, focaccia, salt and pepper squid, and even stocking the bar with gluten-free beer.
Ms Bradley has owned and led restaurants for 35 years, including at Melbourne's Rialto, where she's seen a wave of patrons' dietary requirements gradually change the cooking industry.
Since buying the Port Fairy venue five years ago she's noticed a spike in requests for gluten-free meals, particularly in the last three years.
"When I was in the Rialto one-in-100 customers were coeliac. Now there's approximately 20-in-100," Ms Bradley said.
"With the way dietary requirements are changing I think it's really important to look after people."
Coeliac Australia says about one-in-70 Australians have coeliac disease, although it believes up to 80 per cent of that number are undiagnosed.
The charity claims awareness was leading to increased diagnoses, but there was also a "true increase" in the prevalence of the disease.
Ms Bradley said she wanted to help people with dietary requirements not feel "alienated", with the pub also catering to other requirements such as lactose intolerance.
"Why should they have limited choices? These customers are so important because you're pretty blessed if they come out to dine," she said.
Ms Bradley said the hardest dish to perfect had been house-made gluten-free focaccia bread.
"We have been making kilos of focaccia bread since we got here, we have finally got it right," she said.
The pub launched the new menu on Boxing Day, but Ms Bradley said the food's flavour hadn't changed.
"No one has noticed who doesn't need to," she said. "There are a lot of cafes dedicated to gluten free. I would think we are the only pub in regional Australia that has gone completely gluten free."
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