Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Gluten-Free Now On the Menu at Cheesecake Factory

"Gluten-free" is one of the buzz words in modern nutrition, and Cheesecake Factory is doing its part to join the craze.  (Although all its dishes are prepared in the same kitchens, so there is no way to ensure against cross-contamination for diners with Celiac disease or serious food allergies to gluten), for those who are cutting down or eliminating gluten for health reasons the restaurant has prepared a special spiral-bound menu of 80 items.

From salads and pastas to burgers on gluten-free buns and one single flavor of its famous cheesecake, diners can choose from a full range of dishes.  Even skinnylicious items are available in gluten-free versions. The vast majority of diners who now seek gluten-free options are not allergic, but merely seeking a healthier choice in their dining, and the offerings on the new menu should suit that option very well. The menu debuted August 6th at a few locations, and expanded to all restaurants in the chain over a five-week period.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
LA Weekly

Link to article:

Excerpt: "'It's one of the top requests from our guests and our managers and staff, to have a gluten-free menu and to make sure they're prepared to take care of the guests who are so loyal to us and eat in our restaurants,' Donald Moore, chief culinary officer of the Calabasas-based chain, told the Weekly by phone, adding that the choices are 'larger than some restaurants' entire menus ... we have a range of everything.'

Sampling the menu the other day, we noticed that instead of reinventing the wheel, the chain instead tweaked some of its most popular dishes. Burgers are served on gluten-free buns and gluten-free fusilli is used to made dishes like Evelyn's Favorite Pasta (with broccoli, oven-dried tomatoes, roasted eggplant, peppers, artichoke, Kalamata olives, garlic and pine nuts). Some of the SkinnyLicious selections also have been transformed.

Evidently, creating a gluten-free cheesecake is not that easy, because there's only one on the new menu -- the Godiva chocolate. But if you've got a sweet tooth, no worries: There's also a hot fudge sundae, as well as ice cream and fresh strawberries.

'We did a lot of research and a lot of study to make sure we could put a gluten-free menu together that was as special and delicious as our regular food, but also very, very safe for our guests. Yes, it's a definite challenge, but we wouldn't have done a gluten-free menu if we didn't believe we could execute it properly,' Moore said.

But the chain still wants diners to alert restaurant staff about any gluten or other dietary concerns and restrictions, so that the kitchen can take appropriate steps. The menu cautions: 'We prepared this menu for our guests with sensitivities to gluten. While we strive to provide accurate information, our menu items are freshly prepared in our kitchens, which are not gluten-free. Cross-contact with other food items that contain gluten is possible. This is especially true for fried items, which are cooked in shared fryer oil.' "

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