Sunday, May 31, 2009

Wildefire Restaurant's GF Wine Dinner on Thursday, June 25th

Wildfire Restaurant is hosting a GF Wine Dinner on June 25th. It's a four course, gluten-free wine dinner, which is priced at $55/person, all-inclusive. The reception starts at 6:30pm, with dinner starting at 7. This dinner is currently limited to 50 guests.

You MUST make reservations to attend the event. call Ali at 770-730-9080. The menu is shown below.

Assorted Gluten Free Pizzas
shrimp & pesto, fresh mozzarella & tomato, roasted vegetable & goat cheese

Danzante Pinot Grigio ‘08

First Course
Citrus Cured Salmon
baby greens, hazelnut vinaigrette

Estancia Monterey Chardonnay ‘06

Second Course
Braised Short Rib
roasted root vegetables

Hess “Monterey/Mendocino” Syrah ‘06

Pear Tartlet
crème anglaise

Robert Mondavi Moscato d’Oro ‘06

Matt Albertario, Executive Chef
Larry Donahue, Guest Speaker

This restaurant has a 'set' gluten free menu that includes burgers on Kinnikinnick Buns, Au gratin Potatoes and Flourless Chocolate Cake, to name a few.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

GF Bakeries, Caterers and Chefs in Atlanta

The Atlanta Metro Celiacs put together a listing of local Bakeries, Caterers and Chefs in the metro Atlanta area that can provide gluten free services. The listing can be found on their website

This list is offered as a guide only. GF offerings from establishments can change at any time. Please verify GF offerings for yourself to insure you are fed safely. Food and its preparation may vary from item to item and the Atlanta Metro Celiacs cannot guarantee that the food you receive is 100% gluten free.

Although we do not have a dedicated bakery in Atlanta yet, the bakeries on the listing take every necessary precaution to prevent cross contamination. We are hopeful that a dedicated bakery will be opening up soon, very soon!

This list continues to evolve on a daily basis, so please let me know if I am missing any companies.


Eating Out Gluten Free In Georgia

Eating out gluten free can be a very daunting task, especially when you are newly diagnosed. The Atlanta Metro Celiacs created their GF Restaurant Listing to aide in this task by providing a list of local restaurants that can provide a gluten free meal. This list is available on their website.

They do their best to make sure these restaurants understand how to provide a good gluten free meal, but they don’t have a formal review process in place. The restaurants on the list come to us from our members who have had a good gluten free meal at the establishment.

The Restaurant Listing denotes which restaurants have a gluten free menu verses the ones that modify dishes from their regular menu. It is highly recommended that you try to restaurants with a gluten free menu first, until you become comfortable with the ordering process. Then you can branch out and try to restaurants that modify dishes.

We offer the following guidelines when utilizing the restaurant listing:

o You are highly advised to contact any restaurant in advance of arrival to ensure you will be able to get a gluten free meal. You should also remind your server of your dietary restrictions as you are being seated. This will allow your server to check with the Chef regarding your menu options before you order.

o I would further advise that if you are going to a restaurant for the first time that you do not go during peak dining times because the restaurant is less likely to have time to work with you to fulfill your dietary needs.

o As always, request to speak to a Manager or the Chef if you feel your server doesn’t ‘grasp’ the concept of gluten free. Do not feel self conscious or embarrassed. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

o It is always a good idea to carry a Gluten Free Restaurant Card or Restaurant Guide. They can be purchased from a number of sources and they help restaurants understand what products can/do contain gluten:

• Triumph Dining ( ) – they offer a package of 10 dining cards in one language; 10 dining cards in multiple languages and the Restaurant Guide (3rd Edition in print) which lists restaurants by state that can provide a gluten free meal.

• Living Without ( ) – offers a package of 10 dining cards

• Gluten Free Passport ( – offers dining guides in multiple cuisines and languages for various prices.

o There are a number of online restaurant review websites that have a gluten free section. This is a great way to find a restaurant close to you and see what other diners had to say about their meal.

Urbanspoon offers a section on Gluten Free Friendly Restaurants by city. They also rank these restaurants by the 'best' received reviews.

Gluten Free Registry - only lists restaurants with gluten free menu by state. They also include local grocery stores, caterers and bakeries.

If you still have a bad experience at a restaurant on the GF Restaurant listing after following all of these guidelines, we want to know (email Jennifer Harris at Your experiences will be used to decide which restaurants remain on the restaurant listing. We will let everyone know if a restaurant is removed and what caused us to take this action.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I love My Job as a Gluten Free Product Specialist

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease more than 12 years ago, I couldn't have imagined it would lead me to a new career. I am the gluten-free product specialist at Return to Eden, a health food store in Atlanta. And it's the most fulfilling job I have ever had.

Through my job at Return to Eden, I get to be the person I desperately needed twelve years ago. Someone who could help me grocery shop, find recipes and give me cooking tips. Someone who could help me find restaurants with gluten free menus, direct me to local support groups, and most importantly "hold my hand" and guide me as I negotiated the gluten-free diet. I can't describe the joy I feel when a customer's face lights up after having discovered there is good gluten free food at their fingertips.

I do a lot of things at the health food store to help gluten-free shoppers, but most importantly, I label all of our gluten-free grocery products with a purple "Gluten Free" sign. The sign makes it really easy to identify the gluten-free products available at the store while eliminating all the tedious ingredient label reading (unless there are more allergens to avoid).

The second most important part of my job is to research and recommend new gluten free products. After all, all gluten-free food is not created equal, so it needs to be evaluated by someone with gluten-free expertise before a decision is made to carry/not carry the product. With the growing number of vendors manufacturing gluten free products, there is almost an overwhelming amount of new products to consider, so it is crucial to have someone with experience reviewing them.

The third most important part of my job at Return to Eden is giving guided store tours. I point out all the gluten-free products we carry while walking a customer through the store and I let them sample products. The gluten free diet can be quite expensive, so it is nice to be able to try a product before buying. I personalize their shopping experience.

Meanwhile, the kinds of things I do continue to grow as the needs of our gluten free shoppers evolve. I participate in support group meetings, coordinate in-store events, speak at local doctors offices and attend trade shows. I stay current on gluten-free topics through research using magazines such as Gluten-Free Living and groups, such as National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

I feel so lucky to have found my calling as a gluten-free product specialist. I suspect there aren't too many others out there with a job quite like mine. I worked in the 'corporate' world for more than ten years prior, so I know how hard it is to find the one job that is completely fulfilling and meant for you.

Return to Eden is a Natural Foods Market that has been in business for more than 15 years. They strive to support those who are on restricted diets, especially the wheat-free/gluten-free diet. They have made it their mission to provide pure foods and supplements, support organic products and encourage health education. Check out the website for more information.

My Favorite GF Pancake Mixes

I just love making gluten free pancakes. So much so that I have tried just about every gluten free pancake mix on the market. While I don't consider myself to be much of a cook, I can make great pancakes from mixes. I have narrowed down my favorites mixes to the following and in this order:

Pamela's Products Baking and Pancake Mix - this mix contains buttermilk and can also be used as a substitute for bisquick. The pancakes are easy to make with a great taste and texture. I like this mix because it is so versatile. I have used it to make drop biscuits, scones, quiche, etc. This mix does contain powdered buttermilk, so it isn't dairy free.

Really Great Food - this mix requires you to let it rest after it is mixed up because it actually rises in the bowl. These pancakes rise very high once flipped in the pan. I usually don't like syrup on my pancakes, but the syrup soaks into these pancakes quite nicely. This mix is dairy and soy free. This mix is made in a dedicated facility. I don't know anyone who sells it locally, but you can order it via their website.

Maple Grove Farms - this mix rises in the pan as you flip the pancakes. It makes a light, fluffy pancake. This mix does contain Soy Flour and I believe this is what gives it such a nice wheat-like texture. This mix isn't available locally, but you can order it via their website.

Kinnikinnick - this mix makes very delicate pancakes that I use to make pancake sandwiches by adding eggs, cheese, sprouts, etc. I find that they don't rise the way the other mixes do, but was told by Kinnikinnick that they will rise if you separate the eggs, beat the eggs whites until fluffy and then gently fold in the mix after the other ingredients are incorporated.

Breakfast should be enjoyed by all, regardless if your diet is restricted.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gluten Free Camps in Georgia

It is that time of year is out and parents are arranging summer camps for their children. We are fortunate that our local R.O.C.K (Raising our Celiac Kids) chapter partnered with Camp Twin Lakes to create Camp WeeKanEatIt, the first ever gluten free camp in Georgia.

Camp WeeKanEatIt had its first Family Camp Mother's Day weekend 2008. This year the camp offered two options: a Family Camp Mother's Day weekend and a week long Summer camp. The Summer Camp runs from July 26-31 at Camp Twin Lakes (Camp Will-A-Way location in Winder, GA

This camp week will be exclusive (no other camps joining) with all of the meals and snacks being gluten free. Other dietary restrictions (dairy, egg, soy, etc.) can be accommodated. The dedicated staff will work to develop a gluten free version of a traditional camp menu, complete with gluten free smores, pancakes, donuts, etc. I volunteered my time to help organize both the menu (2008) and the goodie bags/snacks (2009).

Since the camp really prefers that parents not serve as cabin counselors/volunteers (so the kids get the whole "camp experience") – they would love to get some volunteers from the celiac community. Volunteers must be 18 yrs of age (by Sept 1st) and a high school graduate. Camp covers all of the volunteer costs.

All of the forms for registering or volunteering are posted online on the Camp Twin Lakes website (, go to "partner organizations", then find Camp WeeKanEatIt and you will find the forms). They are anticipating 75 campers.

I hope some of you will consider volunteering your time for this worth while experience. Serving as a mentor to these campers is one of the most rewarding experiences.