MEDIA RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Australian first – restaurant creates unique dining experience for families with rare disease
The Grand Hotel Warrandyte today launched a specialised menu for families with rare Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM), such as PKU (phenylketonuria), to mark PKU Awareness Month.
Eating out for those with an IEM is often a challenge, due to the inability of those with an IEM to process protein. The new IEM specialised menu is an Australian first for the dining industry.
Speaking of the specialised IEM menu, Grand Hotel General Manager, Peter Appleby, said that it was important to listen to the community and provide a dining experience that didn’t discriminate.
“We are a strong supporter of community groups, including the Metabolic Dietary Disorders Association. When they spoke to us about what options were available for extending the menu to those with an IEM, we jumped at the chance,” Mr Appleby said.
PKU is a rare inherited disease, affecting around 1 in 15,000 babies in Australia. It is diagnosed at birth via the newborn heel prick test and requires an immediate and life-long low protein medical diet to avoid brain damage and numerous other health complications.
Due to an enzyme deficiency of the liver, individuals with PKU can only metabolise very small calculated portions of protein on a daily basis to avoid toxic build up and brain damage.
National President of the Metabolic Dietary Disorders Association (MDDA), Monique Cooper, welcomed the Grand Hotel’s move and encouraged other restaurants to consider what they could do to provide a more inclusive dining experience for their patrons.
“Providing the gift of a normal dining experience for IEM and PKU families is very special. It gives families with prescribed medical dietary needs the ability to enjoy an inclusive dining out experience together, which traditionally is difficult,” Mrs Cooper said.
“The Grand Hotel, in consultation with the MDDA, has created a selection of delicious, restaurant quality low-protein menu options. They have also taken the time to understand the complex PKU dietary needs and adapted their traditional meal preparation techniques,” Mrs Cooper said.
The PKU menu has been created with the dedicated commitment and support of Executive Chef, Brad Hawker. “Initially the complexity of the diet was somewhat daunting and it was difficult to not get caught up in the science of it all, but once the nutritional concepts were clear, it became a thrill to come up with a menu plan that would provide a real treat for these patrons”, Mr Hawker said.
The Grand Hotel Warrandyte is located in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne.