For the past couple of years, Pizzeria Locale has brought in guest chefs to design specialty pizzas to raise money for charitable organizations. Joshua Pollack, founder of Rosenberg's bagels, came up with a Hawaiian pie with Taylor Pork Roll and pineapple, Steven Redzikowski brought in his meatball game from Oak at Fourteenth and Acorn, and Alex Seidel of Fruition and Mercantile used carbonara as the inspiration for his creation topped with prosciutto, smoked mozzarella, peas and an egg yolk. For the month of November, James Beard award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski will take over the program with a fig-and-prosciutto pizza for a good cause.
For past fundraisers, the two Denver locations of Pizzeria Locale (at 550 Broadway and 3484 West 32nd Avenue) have donated a percentage of each specialty pizza sold for one day, but this time around, one dollar of every fig and prosciutto pizza sold from November 1 to 30 will go to Work Options for Women, which creates opportunities for sustained employment for women in the food-service industry through training and ongoing support.
Jasinski, co-owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine and Ultreia, has created a version of a pizza often served at Rioja. Known as "Beth's Favorite" (after the restaurant's co-owner, Beth Gruitch), the pizza is topped with fig jam (instead of tomato sauce), mozzarella, Fontina, prosciutto, arugula, Gorgonzola crumbles and a drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar. There's also a hint of heat from Calabrian chile oil. It's a salty-sweet pizza with a balance of fruity, spicy and creamy ingredients.
Pizzeria Locale's culinary director, Jordan Wallace, notes that at $11, the pie is priced slightly above the restaurant's standard combos, but the amount and quality of the ingredients — including La Quercia prosciutto and imported Fontina Val D'Aosta cheese — and the extra dollar that goes to WOW give customers something extra. And the pizza will also be sold at Rioja all month to help raise even more money.
Bailey Denmark of Work Options for Women points out that thanks to previous fundraisers, the organization has been able to add a mobile culinary classroom in the form of a 26-foot truck equipped with a complete commissary kitchen. As part of the Work Options for Re-Entry program, the truck parks at halfway houses and other locations where women who cannot leave or don't have access to transportation to provide on-site culinary training from WOW executive chef Carrie Shores and her team.
Stop in at Rioja or the two Pizzeria Locale locations for lunch or dinner beginning this Thursday, November 1, and grab a great pizza for a great cause.