Posted by Eliana Reyes / Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
“It’s really a bummer because I grew up in Jersey, and pizza is my number one thing to go to,” says Patrick Bazin about his recent diagnosis of celiac disease. “Fortunately for me,” says the chef and owner of Bazin’s on Church on his now gluten-free diet, ”I’m pretty well-versed in food so I understand wheat, barley and rye.”
Despite being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that leaves him gluten intolerant, Bazin is optimistic about the change in his life. “I’m trying to stay in a positive attitude and I noticed over the last three weeks that I’ve definitely had a lot more energy.” His diet shifted towards healthier, fresher products. Arthritic feelings have lessened from merely “lightening up on the wheat” instead of needing Advil.
Though Bazin tried the Atkins diet before his diagnosis, he found the carb-less diet difficult to follow. But at the doctor’s word, he found the push needed to change. “Once they told me that I couldn’t have wheat in my diet anymore, I was just able to shut it down and say, ‘I don’t have to have it anymore.’ And it really hasn’t affected me.”
Bazin has since added a gluten-free section—a full 16 dishes—to the restaurant’s dinner menu, and a number of other dishes include the option of being modified to meet dietary requirements. “I wanted to make sure that, because it is a personal restaurant, I did an expression of where I’m at, eating gluten-free,” says Bazin. “When I’m walking in the kitchen, I want to make sure it’s what I’m eating, too. I’m a chef, and any chef will tell you that they do 30, 40 tablespoons of food a day… I had to make sure I wasn’t going to get sick from this.”
The change seems to have resonated with guests: Bazin estimates 10-15 percent are ordering gluten-free items. He continues to experiment with the menu, such as trying different flours to replace wheat and making new dough recipes for daily use. ”If I could come up with a really good pizza dough recipe without using flour then I think I could become a multi-millionaire. You gotta get that dough though.”
As Bazin says, “This is not like a trend or something. This is something that hopefully makes people feel better.”
With reporting by Christopher Smith