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.”

Puckett's Announces Chattanooga General Manager Max Stephenson

Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant is bringing the brand’s long-time general manager Max Stephenson to lead the new Chattanooga location, a move that owner Andy Marshall says is indicative of  his company's  excitement to expand into the Scenic City. Mr. Stephenson oversaw six successful years of double-digit growth at Puckett’s in downtown Franklin, Tn., the longest-running ... (click for more)

Willie Mae: Southern Star – Side Splittin’ Good!

Lawsy Mercy! I never expected so many people to miss little ol’ me when I quit spying on restaurants and writing stories about my visits, but according to the folks at Chattanoogan.com quite a few people wondered where I was (and some even thought I had expired). “Whe-e-ere’s Willie Mae?” they asked. Believe it or not, that ol’ rascal Lou and I got hitched! We moved quite ... (click for more)

Joe H. Dempsey, 64, Dies On Friday In Crash Attributed To Icy Roads

A 64-year-old man died in a Hixson Pike traffic crash on Friday morning in a wreck that was attributed to icy roads. The collision involving two vehicles was reported this morning at approximately  7:22 a.m.  in the 9100 block of Hixson Pike.   Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office traffic investigator Todd Cook said a Mazda driven by Joe H. Dempsey was traveling ... (click for more)

Magistrate Says Ex-Boyfriend Threatened Her With Sexual Photos, Videos

Magistrate Sharetta Smith told police that a former boyfriend had sent her a threatening text message with a sexual picture from the time they were dating attached. She said Darian Paris told her in the text that he had more pictures and videos. Paris, 38, of Ooltewah, was arrested on a charge of harassment. Ms. Smith also filed for an order of protection against him in ... (click for more)

School Vouchers Are Unfair

A school voucher is a publicly funded credit or certificate whereby a student may be enrolled in a private school and apply the credit to tuition.   So, why should Tennessee taxpayers care? 1.      Vouchers use your money to help pay for a student to go to a private school that answers to private administrators and not you the taxpayer. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: America’s Newest Darling

Minutes after I read a letter on Rebekah Gregory’s Facebook page yesterday, I was mere seconds from summoning the marching band, our prancing elephants, and the flag-bearers so we could rightfully induct this dazzling survivor of the Boston Marathon blast into my personal Hall of Fame. I do that, you know, when I see everyday people display courage, kindness, guts, brilliance, ... (click for more)