By Bridget

While we all love to see gluten-free items pop up on the menus at our former favorite restaurants, it always makes me a little weary to see that gluten-free pasta as an option, served right alongside the gluten-filled versions. It’s like when people say you can just take the bun off the burger and, voila, it’s gluten-free. For people suffering from full-blown Celiac’s disease, this “solution” is hardly an acceptable remedy. The risk of cross-contamination means that devoted gluten-free restaurants are often the only acceptable eating out options. Just as gluten-free products need to be processed in dedicated facilities, so too should our prepared meals. This means separate, “gluten-free” cookware, down to the meat thermometers and cutting boards!

Well, people living in San Francisco may soon be getting an answer to all their hopes and dreams when it comes to gluten-free eating out. Simone Shifnadel, a trained chef, nutritionist, and fellow gluten-free eater has big plans for the gluten-free community. Her plan is to open a gluten-free shared kitchen, café, and community space, called Zenbelly Kitchen, where bakers and chefs can come together to create gluten-free products in a completely devoted environment. No gluten will ever cross the threshold of the kitchen’s doors!

This new space would be available to members of the culinary community looking to create gluten-free products, but it is also available to those who create products that are naturally already gluten-free (like jams, juices, and chocolates)! The space would also facilitate an organic gluten-free catering company and provide a neighborhood coffee shop, opening itself up to the gluten-free community. The café and kitchen would aim to help educate both the gluten-free clientele, as well as the larger community that would benefit from this new type of shared space.

Shifnadel is a firm believer in food being greater than just for survival, but part of a memory and experience, making us healthier and happier people. Even gluten-free eaters should enjoy fresh baked warm chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake on their birthday. Her quest for healthy foods that are safe to the gluten-free community has an opportunity to expand through this kitchen, helping her to impart her own knowledge to the community at large.

The kitchen itself is still working to get off the ground. They are in need of funding to purchase production equipment for the kitchen (like stoves and refrigerators), obtain gluten-free certification, and purchase initial supplies and ingredients. They are also still seeking more chefs and nutritionists to get involved in their own ways.

If you’re interested in learning more about this new gluten-free shared kitchen, check out Shifnadel’s catering company by the same name, Zenbelly Catering, at http://www.zenbellycatering.com/.