Bluff View Restaurants Gear Up For Celiac Awareness Month

Friday, April 26, 2013
Gluten free pizzas, pastas and desserts along with house-made dressings and sauces make dietary restrictions seem like a luxury at Bluff View restaurants.
Gluten free pizzas, pastas and desserts along with house-made dressings and sauces make dietary restrictions seem like a luxury at Bluff View restaurants.
Bluff View Art District managers and chefs are taking the next few weeks to train new staff members and strengthen the knowledge of current staff on their gluten free menus, specialty items and preparations at Tony’s Pasta Shop & Trattoria, Rembrandt’s Coffee House and Back Inn Café in anticipation of Celiac Awareness Month which begins May 1. Bluff View’s restaurants have joined a national campaign known as “Chef to Plate,” a program from the Gluten Intolerance Group that helps spread information about gluten sensitivities by partnering with restaurants that offer gluten free menus.
 
According to the most recent clinical research, Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease caused by even the smallest amounts of gluten, affects one in 133 Americans and one in 250 worldwide.
Common symptoms include IBS-like symptoms, fatigue, infertility, bone disease, anemia and other symptoms affecting all body systems. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is estimated to affect as much as six to seven percent of the population. Those with gluten sensitivity can also experience a myriad of symptoms that may be caused by gluten, such as migraines, digestive issues, fatigue, dizziness and Fibromyalgia, among others.
 
Bluff View’s Director of Operations, Michael Vasta, was diagnosed with Celiac disease over two years ago. While gluten safe options had always been available with menu modifications at the District’s restaurants and catering services, his diagnosis inspired Bluff View chefs to rethink the measures that should be taken to provide a truly safe food environment for each and every one of their guests.
 
“We started with purchasing separate equipment so we essentially had ‘gluten free’ work stations, and then reworked menu items so they were as close to our signature dishes as possible,” Mr. Vasta explains. “Making our own sauces and dressings gluten free required only minor tweaking, and since all our hand made pastas and breads are done next door at Bluff View Bakery, the possibility of cross contamination is virtually zero since those items come to us as finished products before they even enter the restaurant kitchens.”
 
Bluff View’s multiple kitchens are housed in separate buildings and provide for a unique opportunity to isolate gluten free baking. Smaller kitchens on site can be more easily “gluten sanitized” for gluten free creations that are used in all the restaurants. Pizza crusts, flat breads and several specialty desserts are made several times a week. Gluten free pastas are provided by an outside source, but prep stations in the restaurant kitchens have color coded and separated bowls, pans, utensils and prep surfaces to ensure gluten is not introduced into gluten free menu items.
 
“We like to emphasize to our staff the vital importance of their diligence when placing orders for a customer, prepping for service and finishing gluten free dishes,” Mr. Vasta points out. “Those who don’t suffer from gluten sensitivities find it difficult to understand sometimes, but I try to put it in the most simple terms: what if every time you went out to eat you got physically sick? That’s what introducing gluten to a gluten sensitive person’s meal does. And for those who suffer from Celiac the long term consequences can literally be deadly.”
 
Offering gluten free menus at the restaurants has had several unintended but entirely positive effects at Bluff View Art District. Staff members feel more confident understanding and discussing all kinds of dietary restrictions with guests, and that helps them meet their own visitors’ needs more efficiently. Chefs have found new ways to work with ingredients and actually use the project to expand their menus. “It’s great to see our chefs doing what they do best: creating amazing new products for all our guests to enjoy,” says Director of Food and Beverage Chris Anderson. “That’s always been the signature at Bluff View, and these new menu options create even more opportunities for the talent here to shine.”

Rhonda On The Prowl: Main Street Meats - The Best Burger In Town

I had been in meetings all day for work and hadn’t had a bite to eat. My next meeting was in an hour at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I was already in the area and decided to pop into Main Street Meats. Some neighbors told me the other day they go there at least twice a week. They said the burger there is the best in town—better, even, than Tremont Tavern’s. It was just before ... (click for more)

Mexican Cuisine Tucson Style

We went out west, southwest really, to visit friends in Tucson several months ago. I’d promised my friend, former Chattanoogan, Mike Deitch on several occasions that I would be present at one of his three children’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. There are not direct flights anywhere here but Atlanta, Houston, Nashville the usual suspects. But with the advent of Southwest Airlines a couple ... (click for more)

Arrests Made In Connection With Fire At Brainerd Trophy Shop

Fire investigators Captain Moore and Captain McElvain made two arrests Friday night in connection with the fire at the Brainerd Trophy Shop that occurred  on Friday  morning. Gene Wegg and Pamela McNabb, have been arrested and charged with arson by the Chattanooga Fire Department. The two allegedly broke into the Brainerd Trophy Shop and set fire to the building, ... (click for more)

TBI Case Leads To Charges For Woman In Death Of Whitwell Boy

A joint investigation by special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Whitwell Police Department has resulted in charges for a Whitwell woman in connection to the death of her boyfriend’s son. At the request of 12 th  District Attorney J. Michael Taylor, TBI apecial agents began investigating the death of six-year-old Lucas Michael Dillon on March 29, ... (click for more)

The City I Used To Know

“They Dead”, the innocent young voice said as tears began streaming from my eyes.  Foolishness that didn’t involve him snatched away his childhood in the blink of an eye.  Why?  Why has my city become known more for gangs and violence than the River Front, Lookout Mountain, and a fun little theme park?  What happened to hot summers at Lake Winnie, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Stick Of Dynamite

You may have seen the Tennessee Legislature jumped on the bandwagon to send “an atomic bomb” to Washington this week. The “bomb” makes Tennessee the fifth state to adopt a Convention of the States Project that will hopefully limit the power and the jurisdiction of federal government. The official wording is “to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power ... (click for more)