You can have too much of anything when it comes to food, and for chef Jason Goodenough that includes angst over gluten.

Goodenough is the chef/owner of Carrollton Market, a standout modern Southern bistro in the Riverbend. He says he understands that some diners have health concerns related to gluten. People in his family have Celiac Disease, which is hereditary. But he’s grown frustrated with what he sees as the vogue of villainizing gluten for the sake of diet trends.

So, while more restaurants are offering gluten-free choices, Goodenough has penned his own explicitly gluten-centric menu, dubbed “A Celebration of Gluten,” which he’ll serve at a special dinner at Carrollton Market on July 20.

“Without gluten there’s no bread, no pasta, no pie crust, these are all wonderful things that I love,” he said. “It’s been getting such a bad name, so this is just a little party to celebrate the stuff and cheer it on a bit.”

The menu’s subtitle is “(It’s) A Celebration of Gluten (Bitches).” If that sounds like it signifies a bit of a chip on the shoulder, Goodenough said it isn’t a protest so much as a one-night send-up of all the special requests and substitutions modern restaurants now field.

“We do what it takes to make sure people who come here leave happy,” he said of his kitchen’s normal operating procedure. “But just for this once, let’s make it no substitutions.”

The menu concept is light-hearted, but the meal will not exactly be light. It’s a tasting menu format over eight courses, and in some cases the chef has gone out of his way to work gluten into the dishes a few different ways.

Tuna crudo, for instance, gets its gluten from shallots coated in flour and fried and from soy sauce, and foie gras will have a breaded crust. The meal starts off with “Buffalo-style fried gluten,” made with gluten balls the chef found at an Asian grocery. Naturally, there will be biscuits on the table, courtesy of Gracious Bakery (see full menu below).

The dinner includes drink pairings, though gluten does not extend to the wines and cocktails.

 Goodenough said a portion of the night’s proceeds will be donated to the Celiac Disease Foundation.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. on July 20, and costs $125 with drink pairings ($80 without).

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by Ian McNulty

The New Orleans Advocate