luten-intolerant diners typically have had to limit their meal choices to proteins and vegetables,
ordering foods such as burgers without buns and skipping pizzas and desserts. Now, as awareness
of celiac disease and wheat allergies has grown, so have gluten-free menu alternatives.
A growing number of restaurant owners and chefs have gone to the considerable effort of
finding and developing ingredients and recipes for gluten-free breads, pastas, pizza crusts, salad
croutons, breadings and pastries. In many cases, chefs who have made this extra effort became
aware of the seriousness of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that
interferes with nutrient absorption, through family members, friends or customers. They took the
plunge, in spite of the added time and expense involved, to create alternative flour-based foods for
this special group of people.
Tomas White, chef/owner of Mia Famiglia, Hales Corners, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee,
became aware of celiac intolerance several years ago when two customers, who happened to be
wellness doctors and dietitians, discovered they had the disease. White set about the daunting
task of finding gluten-free flours and other ingredients for his breads, pizza crusts and pastas.
“I felt sorry for these people. They complained that when they went to a restaurant, they
could get only vegetables and proteins,” White notes.
Gluten-free menu choices create goodwill.
BY CAROLYN WALKUP
The gluten-free Skinny Pie
at Pie Five Pizza Co.