Recently, I shared with you that I had the pleasure of attending the Florida Restaurant and Lodging show in Orlando last month. My time in Orlando was spent doing a number of different things at this particular show, and one time favorites was to be a judge at the PMQ'S Gluten Free Pizza Cook Off.
Having agreed to be on the panel I knew I was in for some unique tastes, and the chefs did not disappoint. One after another, pizzas came out with a large variety of toppings that made each offering special in its own right. From a strong chicken with a signature sauce to the one piled high with veggies, they were all awesome!
The biggest differences were in the crusts. Some brittle, one very doughy while flakey was the best way to describe another; each had a very different and distinct taste. I gave high scores to my favorites but felt that each had some great flavors and all deserved recognition for the work that went into the event.
The most astonishing thing to me remained that each and every pizza was Gluten Free.
Each pizza was voted on based on flavor, originality, consistency, crust, and a variety of typical factors using a great scoring method. My job was enviable to any true Gluten Free coinsurer.
As I sat there chewing and judging, I could not help but have my Menu Labeling brain take over and think through what it takes to make an awesome GF pizza in a commercial setting. I do believe it is possible.
The mechanics/environment of making a gluten free pizza can easily equal the need for top-of the-line ingredients to make this pizza magic happen. Actually, based on what I have seen and what we analyze daily in our office I see that ingredients are readily available today. The test becomes in keeping ingredients purely Gluten-Free in a commercial kitchen.
As this GF space has yet to show any signs of shrinking anytime in the near future, my eyes are closely watching who will get it right.
Betsy Craig brings 20 years of food service industry experience to MenuTrinfo, LLC a menu nutritional labeling Company. Her commitment to the betterment of the food industry and her desire to affect the dining public are the driving forces behind her new company Kitchens with Confidence, LLC.