It is such a relief to sit down in a restaurant and have the entire staff understand what eating gluten-free truly means. In order to safely offer a gluten-free menu, each and every employee that is involved in the process must be educated about that process. California Pizza Kitchen has done just that by partnering with the GIG (Gluten Intolerance Group) to take gluten-free pizza to a whole new level.
From the October 16, 2013 press release:
The four gluten-free pizzas are prepared using strict procedures set forth and approved by the GIG, including a certified gluten-free crust and other ingredients verified by California Pizza Kitchen’s suppliers as gluten-free. GIG will also conduct regular site inspections and audits to ensure all guidelines are being met.
“We are excited to expand our product offering to provide delicious and flavorful pizzas to guests who are affected by Celiac Disease or may suffer from gluten sensitivities,” said Brian Sullivan, SVP of Culinary Development for California Pizza Kitchen. “Through this partnership, we can now offer guests the opportunity to dine with confidence and an understanding that we have followed the strict guidelines set forth by the Gluten Intolerance Group. Over the past several months, we’ve unveiled several new initiatives that are all part of the next chapter at California Pizza Kitchen and the addition of our gluten-free pizzas is another great example of the culinary direction in which we are headed.”
The Gluten Free Food Service (GFFS) certification logo, an industry program of GIG, will be displayed on all California Pizza Kitchen menus to indicate the independent verification of quality, integrity and purity of food preparation policies, education and standards. Any of California Pizza Kitchen’s pizzas may be made on a gluten-free crust for an additional $2.00, but due to current kitchen space, only the pizzas listed above can be prepared using GIG’s certified procedures.
“We look forward to partnering with California Pizza Kitchen as the company is committed to maintaining strict policies to ensure that guests are served quality pizzas that meet our gluten-free guidelines,” said Cynthia Kupper, Executive Director, Gluten Intolerance Group.
It is important to note that currently only four CPK pizzas are on the GIG certified menu. Those pizzas are:
· THE ORIGINAL BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA – Our legendary BBQ sauce, smoked Gouda, red onions and cilantro. Add Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon for even more flavor.
· PEPPERONI – A combination of rustic and spicy pepperoni, fresh Mozzarella and wild oregano. Add white truffle oil to incorporate a unique element to America’s favorite pizza.
· MUSHROOM PEPPERONI SAUSAGE – Cremini mushrooms, rustic pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, torn basil, Mozzarella and wild oregano.
· MARGHERITA – The classic. Italian tomatoes with fresh Mozzarella, basil and Parmesan.
I have had the new gluten-free pizzas several times over the past few weeks. I have been really impressed with the staff each time through the entire process. When the pizza was delivered to the table by the staff member, I was assured that all precautions were taken to prevent cross-contamination. The first couple of times the edges of the crust were a little crisp, so the next time I ordered, I made sure to mention it to my server so the kitchen staff would keep a close eye on the pizza as it was cooking.
Most recent visit
The pizza came out just perfect! The server explained that the gluten-free pizzas take a little longer to make, so if they are too close to the center of the pizza oven, the edges may burn. The pizza didn’t just look perfect, it tasted perfect, too! Perfect crust, perfect toppings. I am thrilled with the lengths CPK has gone to for the gluten-free community. They obviously take “gluten-free” seriously.
Hopefully more establishments will take note and go to the same lengths. Kudos California Pizza Kitchen…this is the real deal!