Ask the Owner, Teona Khaindrava – Part 2

Ask the Owner, Teona Khaindrava – Part 2

We asked on social media what questions you have for Teona Khaindrava, Senza Gluten Restaurant’s owner and co-founder. Here are just a few questions and answers!

“What’s the best advice for making homemade gluten free pasta?”

This is a great question! Having the right ingredients is so important. A comment that I sometimes hear about gluten free pasta in general is that some brands fall apart or the pasta becomes mushy. We currently source our gluten free corn-based pasta from Italy, and we have excellent results (we do, however, have a different pasta and homemade gnocchi available for individuals who are allergic to corn). Combining an excellent pasta with fresh ingredients and traditional Italian techniques is a recipe for success!

“What is one of the biggest challenges of running a gluten free restaurant?”

There are certainly many challenges from researching ingredients, to perfecting new dishes, to navigating many orders in our small kitchen, to accommodating additional food restrictions. Precision is something that I focus on every day – everything needs to be just right to make sure that service happens smoothly, guests have a wonderful time, and our dishes are safe for our guests. It is essential for me to be very specific about everything because safety is such a high priority.

“What is your inspiration and how do you keep it fresh?”

Our guests are my biggest source of inspiration. I’m at the restaurant nearly every day to make sure everything runs smoothly. Some days are more difficult than others, but then a guest arrives who tells me that they’ve been waiting years to travel to NYC to visit us. Or a local regular comes in and is celebrating their anniversary. Or I get to witness the wide-eyed excitement of a child (or grown up!) who realizes that everything on the menu is gluten free, and they can order whatever they want. Those moments are priceless, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. So thank you to all of you for being so inspiring! 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of Ask the Owner!