Vicki Walker

Charlotte Gluten-Free Expo Aug. 7 at Johnson & Wales University

Charlotte, NC, June X, 2010 -- The inaugural Charlotte Gluten-Free Expo will be held Saturday, August 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in JWU’s University Events Center. Admission is free, but pre-registration is required due to facility capacity. To register, please visit
and click on "Registration Public."

The goal of the event is to build awareness of celiac disease and other conditions which require adherence to a gluten-free diet, and to highlight local and national companies that are producing exceptional gluten-free products that are equivalent or superior to typical products that contain gluten.

The Expo will feature up to 40 vendors from local and national food companies and restaurants that are supportive of providing high-quality gluten-free foods. In addition, two presentations will be offered at the Expo:

• From noon to 1 p.m., Johnson & Wales baking instructor Peter Reinhart will provide a gluten-free cooking demonstration. Reinhart is the author of five books on bread baking, including Brother Juniper's Bread Book and the modern classic The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which was named cookbook of the year in 2002 by both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He is also the owner or Pie Town restaurant in Charlotte.

  • From 1:15 to 2 p.m., Pat Fogarty, Registered Dietician specializing in celiac disease will be giving a presentation and discussion on "Key Nutrients for a Healthy Gluten Free Diet"

• From 2 to 3 p.m., Dr. Ivor B. Hill, Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at Wake Forest University, will discuss new research in the field. Dr. Hill is author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and 35 textbook chapters and chaired the committee that developed the official Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Celiac Disease in Children.

"For so long, people who have adhered to a gluten-free diet have only had tasteless, cardboard-like food, but recently we've seen an explosion in high-quality gluten-free breads, baking mixes, pizzas and restaurant menus, making it much easier and more satisfying to live gluten free. We're excited to bring awareness of these options to the Charlotte community and to be partnering with the highly respected university and its culinary program," said Nikki Everett, organizer of the Charlotte Gluten-Free Expo and mother of a 9-year-old daughter with celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi—the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine that allow nutrients from food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food one eats. Researchers have found that more than 2 million Americans have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people, and that the prevalence of the disease is rising. The only treatment for celiac disease is complete elimination of gluten in the diet. Other conditions that may be improved by elimination of gluten in the diet are autism and type 1 diabetes.

For more information about the Charlotte Gluten-Free Expo, visit
or contact event organizer Nikki Everett at or media representative Vicki Walker at .