After 18 years as a vegan with long stretches of consuming only raw food, Christopher Iverson realized "freaking out" about diet actually can make a person sick.
"I don't even talk to people about diet anymore," says the 32-year-old chef and restaurateur. "I just make them really good food."
That includes an organic selection of vegetarian, vegan and raw specialties. But Iverson still made room at Ashland's CultureWorks Cafe for a guaranteed palate-pleaser.
"I love raw food; I love healthy food, but pizza is still my favorite food," says Iverson.
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free pizzas "fly" from the ovens during CultureWorks' late-night hours, when live music performances are the Oak Street venue's main attraction. Yet the restaurant's busiest time, Iverson says, is lunch, which draws customers of all persuasions — many women in their 60s who come armed with lists of foods they can't eat.
"It is like as complicated as it gets," says Iverson.
From gluten-free, tree nut-free, nightshade-free — even garlic- and onion-free — the menu's numerous notations reflect the prevalence of food allergies and sensitivities, as well as preferences for healthful fare. Joining the designations are "V" for vegan and "R" raw. Vegetarian applies to everything — there isn't a morsel of meat in the place.