I had an opportunity today to visit the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant at the St. Johns Town Center and see their gluten-free procedures for myself. I have to say I was impressed.
You'll recall that CPK pulled its gluten-free pizzas off the menu two years ago because of complaints that celiacs were getting sick from them. Apparently, the company was not providing any training on precautions to prevent cross-contamination.
The time they spent to get it right seems to be well worth it. They now have a separate preparation area in the kitchen for gluten-free pizzas and a separate cabinet to store the gluten-free sauces and ingredients. They also, of course, have separate pans and utensils to prepare the gluten-free pizzas.
And of course, just as I thought two years ago, the pizzas were delicious. I was able to try both a barbecue chicken and a pepperoni pizza. I loved them both.
Any pizza on the menu can be made with a gluten-free crust but the company says they can only certify five varieties to be completely gluten free. In addition to the two I tried, you can also get a mushroom pepperoni sausage, a margherita and a plain cheese pizza.
It costs $2 extra for a gluten-free pizza.
I would say California Pizza Kitchen is well worth the trip for a gluten-free pie.