Gluten Free Cornell University (Part 1)–North Star Dining (Appel Commons)

Hello everyone! As promised, here is the first installation of my gluten free at Cornell University: North Star Dining (AKA Appel, if you want to be cool like the undergrads).

Appel is all you can eat. It is buffet style, but allergens are labeled clearly on all of the food items (again, always double check with the chef! mistakes can happen with labeling but the chefs know what they make!). Gluten-y pizza is kept away from the main entrees and so is the bread–which is great because I am most wary of the crumbs! Each food has it’s own scooper and aside from pasta dishes or fried items, there wasn’t as much gluten as one would expect.

There are tons of stations—salad (which is all by itself), Asian cuisine, Kosher station, rotating main station, the grill station, sides/soups/fruit station, sandwich station and more. Oh I forgot the best one…ICE CREAM STATION!!!! Obviously, you can get salad and lets focus on the truly extraordinary options! Like I said, the other stations, you can check with the chef to see what you can eat. Surprisingly (at least to me), the Kosher station often carried several gluten free options. For instance, their hot dogs are gluten free! At the Grill station, the chefs would make me chicken or hotdogs fresh to prevent cross contamination by people using the tongs to place the meat onto a bread. Super kind of them!

Asian station: My favorite favorite favorite station. Cornell carries gluten free soy sauce—WIN! Jean and King usually manned this station and went above and beyond to accommodate me. They used clean pans and utensils. I was always greeted with a giant smile by Jean and King, which always made my evening. They prepared me fried rice with anything I wanted! I picked out veggies from the salad bar and they cooked me any meat I wanted fresh! On Wednesdays, Appel carries rice noodles…so they would make me a rice noodle dish. DELICIOUS! As someone who wasn’t originally HUGE on veggies, they always encouraged me to include more…how sweet! 🙂 They always made time to make my meal no matter how busy they were. When I graduated, it broke my heart to have to say goodbye to them. Jean and King really really really made the adjustment after diagnosis so much easier and I cannot thank them enough.

Designated gluten free area: This may be one of the best parts (next to the Asian station). There is a fridge full of gluten free foods! Bagels, bread, cookies, brownies, you name it! And right by the fridge is the DEDICATED gluten free toaster!! (kept away from the public) There are also peanut butter/jelly spreads that are dedicated gluten free.

Ice cream station: As of May 2014 when I was last there, the soft serve is GLUTEN FREE!!!!! No cross contamination since it comes directly from the machine (aka no scoops!) and both flavors are gluten free. There is hersheys chocolate syrup (when I was there at least) so gluten free chocolate! There is scoopable ice cream–most flavors are gluten free BUT some are not! You place the scooper back in the running water to rinse it but…it is NOT truly cleaned. so if you are Celiac or very sensitive, I would advise against the scoopable ice cream. However, you don’t want to miss out on this awesome ice cream and you do not have too! This ice cream is made from milk from our very own Cornell cows (cool, huh?) and there is a fantastic Dairy Bar right on campus, where you can buy individual quarts of Cornell Dairy ice cream and they use fresh scoopers for allergies (they even opened fresh containers for me before!)—but that is for a different post. So even though you can’t safely have the scoopable ice cream at Appel, you should check out the Dairy Bar and ask if they can accommodate your allergy.

Keep in mind that I graduated back in 2014, so things may have changed. Although, gluten free most likely has improved since then based on Cornell becoming more aware of allergies. Please feel free to email me at for more info or any questions! And stay tuned for more gluten free at Cornell University.

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