Auburn opens nation’s first certified gluten-free, on-campus restaurant

Published: Apr 11, 2016
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Auburn University students with gluten intolerance now have access to a restaurant full of delicious options. Tiger Dining recently announced Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant located in central campus, is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service, or GFFS, certification.

The Office of Campus Dining manages the dining services contract between Chartwells and Auburn University; together they create Tiger Dining.

Chartwells' Senior Executive Chef Emil Topel made changes to remove items containing gluten from the menu and replaced them with gluten-free alternatives.

"We tested multiple gluten-free options and found some with very little difference in taste or texture so there will be little impact to our students who can eat gluten," said Topel. "But for those with gluten intolerance, the impact is huge."

The initiative at Plains to Plate stemmed from a desire to increase the accessibility and availability of gluten-free foods on campus. The Plains to Plate menu contained multiple meals made without gluten options in the past, but the new changes will eliminate the possibility of cross contamination by removing all foods containing gluten from the facility.

Plains to Plate worked with the GFFS Certification Program, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group, or GIG, to develop protocol to be used at the restaurant.

The process to become a certified gluten-free facility requires thorough preparation and attention to detail. The entire facility is examined, including ingredient sourcing, associate training and operation, cleaning practices and cross-contamination control.

"Tiger Dining's mission is to provide food for the entire Auburn family and make sure everyone has a seat at the table," said Glenn Loughridge, Auburn University Director of Campus Dining. "The steps we are taking at Plains to Plate will allow students who can't have gluten to confidently order anything on the menu."

For more information about the GFFS program, go to http://www.gffoodservices.org/.