Dorothy Hutchinson is one of my favorite people in Baton Rouge. Not only is she super friendly, hard working and efficient (all things I love!), she regularly brings me pizza. That’s because she’s the manager on duty when I go to California Pizza Kitchen and she’s the only one who’s allowed to bring me pizza. It’s just one of the amazing safety procedures California Pizza Kitchen has put in place to protect people with Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Wheat Allergy.
When You Order
When you order your gluten free pizza, let your server know you have an “allergy” even if you have another medical issue that requires you to be gluten free. Every restaurant has it’s own “key word” to use if you need special treatment with your food, at CPK it’s “allergy”. Either your server or the manager will explain the gluten free procedure to you. (If not, just ask to speak to a manager, they’re super friendly and always willing to take the time. We go in regularly and every time, Dorothy comes over just to remind us of how my food is kept safe.)
In the Kitchen – Rice Flour and Separate Kitchen Space
About two months before CPK introduced their gluten free crust, they started using only rice flour on their counters. This means there’s no wheat flour floating around in the air while your pizza is being prepared.
The gluten free crust arrives at the restaurant, ready made and in it’s own pan. Kitchen staff use special blue gloves and there is a separate counter with separate ingredients for your gluten free pizza. (Dorothy will let you know, if you order a topping that’s not on the gluten free menu she can’t guarantee its safety so you’re safest to stick to those special ingredients.)
Only managers are allowed to bring out gluten free pizzas with an “allergy” note. And they can’t be carrying a gluten pizza with it, just gluten free. This ensures there’s no contamination from the kitchen to the table.
Eating (Actually EATING)
I’m going to tell you. There’s really nothing like walking into a pizza place, smelling pizza and actually being able to EAT the pizza. WOW! And what pizza! The crust at CPK is thin, crispy and chewy. The four gluten free pizza selections are the varieties that are most popular on the regular menu. I’m having a hard time deciding which is my favorite. I usually get the Mushroom Pepperoni Sausage with extra cheese and bacon but I just tried the Original BBQ Chicken Pizza and it might be what I order from now on (or at least every second time). And I don’t need to worry about eating around regular dining hours to avoid a rushed kitchen, my pizza is safe and isolated no matter how many gluten pizzas are being prepared.
Here’s where things might get a little tricky. If you have left overs (What? You might have left overs, it’s possible. Rare in my case, but still possible.) ask for a box brought to your table and box it up yourself. There aren’t any regulations in place for carrying pizza from the table back to the kitchen to box up and there’s a very slight risk of cross contamination if your server is also boxing a gluten pizza.
Want More Info?
You can find the gluten free pizza menu here California Pizza Kitchen Gluten Free Pizza Menu, and you can find California Pizza Kitchen in Perkins Rowe in Baton Rouge. Say “hi” to Dorothy for me!!