Tuesday, October 23

Bold Organics - Gluten free frozen pizza

A few weeks ago I was invited to a cooking demo at Whole Foods by Chef Eric Brenner of Bold Organics, a gluten-free frozen pizza brand carried in Whole Foods stores and select local stores. As we all know, I eat everything except the trifecta of 3C's (cheese, coffee, and chocolate) but these are all by preference and not by dietary restriction. I am already frustrated at cooking for Phil's dislike of cilantro and low tolerance for spices. Imagine my surprise when I met a man in the class who had a gluten allergy and soy allergy. Goodness gracious, what is there left to eat?!?! And I am sure this is the issue with so many people in America.

Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Tolerance
 (From the Celiac Community website)
When people with celiac disease eat a protein called gluten – found in wheat, rye and barley -  their immune system responds by damaging the lining of the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed. The resulting malnutrition affects multiple systems in the body, and can lead to one or more of 300 symptoms and conditions, many seemingly unrelated: gastrointestinal distress, anemia, infertility, intestinal cancers, osteoporosis, short stature, growth failure in children, bone and joint pain, depression, an itchy skin rash, and dental defects. 

Bold Organics was founded by this entrepreneurial young man bravely slicing some pizzas above. Aaron Greenwald came up with the idea for gluten-free dairy-free frozen pizza for a college class and teamed with Chef Brenner to perfect the Bold recipe. Kudos to this duo for fulfilling a need in the market place for flavorful allergen-free food. Read more about the company on their website.

Here is a slice of the cheese pizza. The dough is a bit different than I am used too. It's more dense but not heavy. If I were better versed with the gluten-free ingredients, I might be able to recognize these but alas, I don't know. Other than the different texture of the dough, it was a very tasty pizza and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference from any other frozen pizza. If I had dietary restrictions, I would not feel like I was missing out. In fact, Phil really liked this pizza dough better than regular frozen pizza. He said it has more of the pizzeria dough texture. We were also served the meat lover's pizza which is not pictured.

Chef Brenner began the first course by marinating chicken in tamari and corn starch. The corn starch and tamari mix together to make a viscous paste. I am so inspired. Definitely copying this. I actually tried this with soy sauce and didn't get the same texture so maybe it has to be tamari? In any case, tamari tastes the same as soy sauce but without the gluten, it is probably better for you so I am leaning towards replacing soy sauce with tamari.

After a quick demo, we dined on chicken and bok choy stir fry with rice. mmm Did I mention I'm inspired? This is one dish that I could easily incorporate into my life. That weird looking Le Creuset wok from the Whole Foods demo kitchen actualy seemed pretty neat.

What's he going to make with cooked tomatillos in veggie broth, roasted peppers, and shaved soy cheese? My second take away from this demo is the existence of soy cheese. Recall a few paragraphs above where I said I don't like cheese. Well soy cheese melts like mozzarella but does not taste (or smell) like cheese. It would be an excellent alternative for me.

I forgot the name of this dish but he made sort of a baked casserole with layered tortilla chips, yam, cheese, salsa and some more things I forgot. I really liked this because it tasted very healthy, especially with the yams. I have to hand it to Chef Brenner for being creative with healthy food. If I had any children, I would totally feed them this and feel good about their health.

(The last 2 pictures above are from Victor Dolcourt. We met Victor and his lovely wife Hallie at the demo and they described to us their dietary restrictions and preferences. It was very interesting to be exposed to this community of diners for the first time. It sounds tough to always be conscious of the things you eat. Victor and Hallie write a gluten-free baking website with loads of recipes for the gluten-free home baker.)

Speaking of baking...time for Chef Brenner's last course, the chocolate cake!

This cake was super rich and moist. I'm not a chocolate lover but off the top of my head I can already name a handful of chocolate lovers who would absolutely devour this cake. Very impressive for using no flour!!! The chocolate ganache on top is particularly smooth.

Me and the Chef

The men of Bold Organics and Jennifer from the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California

Phil and I are very happy to have been invited to this event. At first I doubted my purpose there, having no food allergies myself and not knowing anyone who does. After meeting all these wonderful people, I see that it is a very limiting thing to not be able to eat ingredients that the rest of the world considers "staples" in our diets. All this does is make you more creative and more mindful of your dietary choices. Learning about the allergen sensitivity of others also helps you become a more considerate chef. Maybe next time I won't throw a tiny tantrum when I think cilantro would totally make this dish and Phil decides to pick it all out. Meh, if it tastes like soap to him, I'll accept it...All pertinent links to this post are listed below.

*Note to self: buy tamari and soy cheese!

Bold Organics
Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California
Vic and Hallie's GF Baking


P.S. My Pinterest and Twitter accounts have been approved to be social media influencer accounts on Blogher.com. I look forward to some exciting opportunities in the future. Hopefully some giveaways for the readers. =P


  1. The president of my company has to be gluten-free as well. I didn't know it was that serious of a condition... Maybe I should try harder to keep the foods I bring gluten-free. Thanks for this post! I'll definitely check out Victor and Hallie's website for some recipes. =P

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