I have always loved the Cheesecake Factory, so when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, this was one of the places I missed the most because it had no gluten free menu. To my delight, I read an article recently about the Cheesecake Factory's new gluten free menu, and I was excited to try it.
I went this evening with my husband to the Tysons Corner location. I requested the gluten free menu and ordered the Arugula Salad and Evelyn's Pasta with the gluten free fusili. The food looked great when it came, and I confirmed with the person who brought it more than once that it was in fact gluten free. I had eaten most of it, when all of a sudden I noticed a regular, non-gluten free piece of penne mixed in with my gluten free fusili. As soon as I noticed it, I stopped eating immediately because I knew then that my dish was contaminated with gluten.
This is completely unacceptable and very dangerous!!! A person with Celiac disease could become violently ill from something like this. I understand that there is always a risk of cross-contamination in a non-dedicated gluten free kitchen, but to have regular pasta mixed in with the gluten free pasta shows a complete lack of care and proves that the Cheesecake Factory does NOT know what it means to offer gluten free dishes.
I am now concerned that my whole dish may have been contaminated. Could it have been cooked in the same water with regular pasta? Strained in the same strainer? All of this seems likely to me -- how else would the pastas become mixed?
I am horribly disappointed in the Cheesecake Factory and their attempt to offer a gluten free menu. I appreciate that my meal was comped and the manager was apologetic but that cannot undo the damage that has been done to my body from eating this meal. I will certainly not be back to the Cheesecake Factory and I want to spread the word that the Cheesecake Factory is NOT a safe place for people with Celiac disease.