California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items

Hello All,

I wanted to share with you a press release that I received today about California Pizza Kitchen:

Hi!

The wait is over! Today California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) has launched gluten free pizza crust, making 29 of their original pizzas available gluten free.

CPK has taken notice of the increased demand with more than 3 million Americans affected by Celiac Disease and created a specialty menu with various gluten free items. Among the 29 different gluten free pizzas available is America’s favorite, The Original BBQ Chicken pizza, the Pear & Gorgonzola pizza and the Wild Mushroom pizza. CPK also offers other gluten free appetizers, soups, salads, specialties, kids items and desserts to choose from on their current menu.

CPK is thrilled to offer those that require gluten free items a menu with the same delicious offering that they’ve always had, now gluten free.

I also saw this on their website:

“*Not available gluten-free: Thai Chicken and Roasted Artichoke and Spinach”

Here is a PDF version of their new Gluten-Free Menu!!

This is really exciting news because this means that Gluten Free awareness has gone mainstream, however please keep on reading.

UPDATE 6/30/11: A reader just pointed this disclaimer out to me at the bottom of their menu – so to sum this up, it is very exciting that they are offering gluten-free options, however it seems like an “eat at your own risk” type situation as with many restaurants be very careful!!

“Gluten-Free” designations are based on information provided by our ingredient suppliers. Warning: Ingredients or production methods used by our suppliers may change, or there may be product differences among regional suppliers. Additionally, normal kitchen operations involve shared cooking and preparation areas, or we may need to substitute ingredients in menu items. We are therefore unable to guarantee that any menu item is free from gluten or any other allergen, and we assume no responsibility for guests with food allergies or sensitivities.

I was happy to receive the press release at first and sent back an e-mail asking about cross contamination and preparation of the menu items that were gluten-free but have not received a response as of yet. As soon as I hear back from them, I will update this post for all of you.

Coming from one who has Celiac Disease and not gluten intolerance I don’t know if I would eat there, especially if they are using the same pizza ovens.  When I was first diagnosed with CD I tried to eat there and just order a salad.  When I asked the waitress to check on the dressing ingredients for me she said that she would and when she returned said she didn’t read anything about it in the ingredients.  I was very very new at this so I ate my salad as she gave it to me and was extremely sick – I couldn’t even return to work that day.  I called the manager of my local CPK and he said he would retrain his staff on the importance of checking ingredients and preparing salads for those with allergies.  I had gone back a few times for salads and they were good but I was always nervous.

My nervous are from getting severely sick while eating there.  I know that there are plenty of chain and “regular” restaurants that offer gluten-free options and aren’t specifically gluten-free so there is always that risk of cross contamination, so this is again, a personal preference call. We don’t eat out very often, but when we do I always talk with the wait staff, hand them my awesome Triumph Dinning Card and most times even speak with the manager or chef (they come out, I don’t just go ask for them (-:) For the most part I have been fine eating out at “regular” restaurants, with a few exceptions.

I am thankful that there disclaimer is there and honest – I give them credit for that, some places aren’t so straight forward about it.

I know some of my comments are a little back and forth but I have to stress that it is a personal preference call to eat there or any non-gluten-free restaurant. P.F. Chang’s is one of my favorite places to eat because they take extra precautions to avoid cross contamination and I have never been sick there…they even serve gluten-free foods on separate dishes (the ones that say P.F. Chang’s on it…and “regular” meals are served on plain white dishes).  I don’t have one around me to try it out.  Most times when you talk to the servers, manager, chef, etc. they will take extra caution to avoid any cross-contamination and I suggest speaking with them about it.

If you are willing to try it – please come and leave a comment back here letting me know if there was any special precaution that they took in preparing your meal, how did it taste – was the crust decent, and did you get sick from it.  I don’t have one around me and at this point I am still a bit hesitant to try it.

My hope is that they aren’t just jumping on the bandwagon with a gluten-free option but they take this seriously and put together an action plan on how to prevent and eliminate cross contamination.  Fingers crossed this will happen – would be nice to eat pizza out at a restaurant again.

Please share your thoughts, concerns, etc. in the comments section – I would love to hear what you all have to say.

UPDATE 7/1/11 -

Hi Jenny – Thanks for your interest! Yes CPK is taking special precautions to make sure it’s safe. They use a separate ‘foil boat’ in the oven to cook the pizza then immediately transfer it to its own platter, cut with a separate clean pizza cutter then immediately put on a clean plate and then taken straight to the guests table.

Well with that said – I think double checking with the waitstaff that this process takes place and you should probably be okay.  Again, if anyone has tried this please come and leave a message, I know there are many mixed emotions about this news.  I wish there was one close to me so I could at least give it a shot but sadly there isn’t one.

(More photos curiosity of CPK will be posted soon)

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5 thoughts on “California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items

  1. With that disclaimer at the bottom of the menu, what they’re doing is worse for people with celiac disease than just not offering us anything. They’re trying to bring us in with gluten-free promises and then we have to decide when we see the disclaimer whether to take a chance or to get up and leave.

    CPK won’t have a bit of my business, that’s for sure. Instead of passing the word that CPK offers GF items, I will pass the word that CPK should be avoided by anyone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

  2. I think that a lot of restaurants that serve GF food operate the same way, but it may not be pointed out on the menu such as CPK has done. If you are eating out at a restaurant that is not completely gluten-free, there is always a risk of cross-contamination. Whether or not a person chooses to do so is up to them.

    I am on the fence about whether or not this is a good thing. I am leaning towards yes for those who want choices. They are there. However, caution must be exercised and questions need to be asked at the individual locations. I can imagine that this is tough on the restaurant side as well (having been in restaurant mgmt). They don’t want to see anyone sick.

    Kim

  3. I remember when we went to CPK and we both asked if the dressing was GF. We went to Whole Foods after we were done and both did not feel well by the time we got back to work less than 20 minutes later. I went to CPK recently because I had heard from a friend they had GF items. The waiter handed me a separate menu (that was maybe a little bigger than a 3×5 card) with a few items that I could eat. None of the items were pizza which I was very disappointed about.

    I am still very careful when I eat there. I usually only eat the cobb salad and do not venture out passed that.

  4. Pingback: California Pizza Kitchen’s gluten-free pizza… isn’t. — Gluten For Punishment

  5. Pingback: California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) Offers GF Menu Items Part 2 | Creative Cooking Gluten Free

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