First, local gluten free buffet

Posted at: 04/01/2013 6:41 PM
Updated at: 04/01/2013 11:48 PM
By: Benita Zahn

 We're just ahead of the lunch crowd at O'Toole's restaurant and pub in Queensbury. So general manager Michael Moynihan has time to take us on a tour of the kitchen. One he's proud of because it's unique - boasting separate work stations and equipment for gluten free foods.

" Two parts per million is enough to get somebody sick. Gluten free, that could mean even a particle of bread, so we have  a separate gluten free toaster here, a little station here we do all of our gluten free club sandwiches, all of our metro deli meats are all certified gluten free" explains Moynihan.

   A regular customer's desire to eat O'Toole's well regarded wings triggered the move to providing gluten free items three and a half years ago.   

" This is where we fry our wings and our chicken tenders" says Moynihan as he shows me the fryer dedicated to gluten free items." These days O'Toole's offers a full menu -28 items.

" Does it cost you a lot more? " I ask,.

"Not really. Again, it's not about more equipment, it's not about new things to purchase it's about how you , it's about the process" replies Moynihan.

    The process - learned by taking and passing an online course. Everyone involved in food prep at O'Toole's took it.

" I then come in and inspect to make sure they've put into place and then our group certifies them as well" says Amy Rota Poulin, a gluten free cookbook author who can be found at glutenfreeamy.com.

   The 'gluten free certification' comes from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness- one of only 2 restaurants, says Amy, in the Capital Region earning that distinction.
   Amy, an affiliate of the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness and author of a gluten free cookbook - also points out; Moynihan and staff have to be alert to cross contamination.

" We have all of our gluten free menu items are carried out on a separate tray by a separate server" says Moynihan who adds, the learning never stops. Next project, creating a gluten free kids menu.