I was there for the first iteration of their gluten free pizza more than two years ago. I did an entire post on how it all crumbled apart. The gluten free pizza was put on the menu in summer of 2011 without even considering cross contamination implications. Celiacs were eventually told to not eat it. Before the end of the summer, CPK pulled the gluten free pizza from the menu.
But time has passed and it seems a lot has been learned. Last month, CPK announced a new gluten free pizza. In an interview with Nations Restaurant News, Brian Sullivan, senior vice president for culinary innovation with CPK, says they have created a pizza crust and preparation procedures (approved by the Gluten Intolerance Group) to make this version of their gluten free pizza, celiac safe. Click here to see CPK’s gluten free pizza menu.
Gluten Free Procedures at California Pizza Kitchen
According to the NRN article, gluten free safety procedures CPK has implemented include: blue tools like cutting boards and pizza cutters are for gluten free use only. Special pans have an extra rim on top to keep them from bumping into gluten pizzas in the oven. There are fresh ingredients designated to the gluten free station. They also only use rice flour when they toss all pizza crusts to keep wheat flour out of the air.
When a gluten free pizza is ordered, the preparation begins with the manager being notified. The “manager will have received training to observe the process: The cook washes his or her hands, puts on blue gloves and pulls out the gluten-free dough,” the article says. After baking it is cut with its designated pizza cutter and then a bamboo pick is put in it to tell the server which pizza is gluten free.
They do have a few more things than pizza there. The Gluten Free RD posted about those last week. She said her overall experience was very good!
It appears CPK has turned over a new gluten free leaf. The processes in place are far better than the lack of process that happened with the first gluten free go-around.
(Updated 11-6-13) There are no longer any CPKs open in Minnesota (I thought there was one in Maple Grove still, but I have since learned from some readers that that one has closed). So I am relying on my readers to tell me how it was. Have you tried the new pizza at CPK? Tell us about it in the comments below.