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.”

Red White And Food Announces Petition Campaign Progress

Red White and Food, the nonprofit organization that supports allowing wine sales in Tennessee’s retail food stores, announced Friday that more than 119,000 signatures have been collected statewide for the wine in retail food stores petition campaign. “It’s encouraging to see the level of enthusiasm Tennesseans have shown for the campaign,” said Red White and Food campaign ... (click for more)

Five Star Food Service Grows Partnership With Chattanooga Community Kitchen

The Five Star Food Service presented a gift of nearly $13,000 to the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, the company’s largest contribution to the organization to date. For the past four years Five Star has partnered with the Community Kitchen on its quest to feed and serve the physical, social and spiritual needs of the homeless and less fortunate in Chattanooga. Each year the employees ... (click for more)

DA Looking Into Issue Of County Commission Candidate's Campaign Sending Filled-Out Request For Absentee Ballot To Elderly Voters

The District Attorney's Office has been provided with documents that a County Commission candidate's campaign sent filled-out requests for absentee ballots to elderly voters. Kerry Steelman, election administrator, said there have been four instances in which such requests came from the Elect John Brooks campaign. He said state law says in Section 2-6-202:  (3) A person ... (click for more)

Citizens To Comment Next Tuesday On Sound Control Ordinance That Allows Higher Sound Around Downtown Clubs

Citizens will be allowed to comment next Tuesday on a new Sound Control Ordinance that allows higher sound from nightclubs in a downtown Controlled Sound Boundary. Track 29 behind the Chattanooga Choo Choo, that has drawn the wrath of some nearby Southside residents, is within the boundary, which goes from Fourth Street to Main Street. The hearing before the City Council ... (click for more)

The Truth- From Weston’s Sister

I try not to read the negative articles and opinions about my older brother. Growing up around politics, I learned a long time ago that thick skin is not only necessary, it’s paramount. But this time, the lies and the rumors and the inaccurate information has gone too far. It’s too ridiculous for me to ignore. So let’s clear a few things up: Weston and I do not “come ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oscar Brock’s True Passion

I don’t pay much attention to the Hamilton County School Board. Once the moon and the stars aligned behind Superintendent Rick Smith, you hear very little, if anything, from the nine-member council that oversees an annual budget of almost $400 million and employs 4,480 people. So chew this for a minute: approximately 2,000 of those people are not teachers. Yes, there are 78 principals ... (click for more)