Many hear know of my operation and have been very supportive of it. I wanted to share some great news with you. Paige, my top student, and heck of a pizza maker, just got hired by Bon Appetit to make pizzas at Denison University. They are a top shelf operation (do a net search on them) and we have a contract making bagels for the 3 cafeterias they run at the school. I talked to them about hiring Paige this summer and they came in my room and watched her make pizzas for them. Today we made a bagel delivery and brought along a pizza for them to try next to theirs. Well the head of operations for this region of the country was there and also was there the day Paige made pies for them. He took a bite of our pie and said "Walter can you please come and help us with our pizzas?". I said sure and then he said "What about Paige working here too?". She lit up and when asked what she thought of their pizzas she said it wasn't any good (she has picked up some of my Jersey talk
). Long story short, she will be starting saturday morning and working Sat/Sun for now. If it all works out she will get hired full time when she graduates from High School. They will pay her $10/hr which for out here is darn good for an uneducated adult let alone a special needs teenager. They told her to keep that to herself because much of the cleaning people make less than that.
They have top shelf set up for the pizza. There is a Bakers Pride double stack with the top oven an open faced gas that is made to look like a wood burning oven(I am not up on the new ovens). I am not sure what model it is. It is brand new and I looked in the control panel and it is rated at 140,000 BTU's. The lower oven is a regular door deck job with just one burner under the stone so I figure it must me down around 85k btu's. There is a great prep table, marble work top area, refrigerated boxes, heated holding boxes, a 80 qt hobart, and just about all anyone would wish for. They showed me their dough that was made this morning. It was already blown out. they roll it with a rolling pin and then top it and cook it on the decks. Their recipe called for 110 degree water to start out. I told them I will write up a whole new recipe for them and Paige and I will teach them to toss and hand stretch the dough. I am volunteering my time for a couple weekends until she and the staff gets the hang of things.
The group of kids I work with have almost a 100% unemployment rate as adults. My bakery/pizzeria is showing this doesn't have to be. Hopefully others will follow our lead with their students. Anyway, with UE rates this high, getting just 1 student employed in ones teaching career is success beyond words. This is just the beginning. I have several others that will make great dishwashers and clean up people. Bon Appetit said part of their mantra is to hire disabled people so this may be a great place for my students as they graduate. Here is Paige with a pie from the other day. Thanks everyone for all your support here. It is the only place I have to communicate on a pizza level that excites me. Walter
Paige is my 2nd success story. The first is Ana, a girl of Mexican decent that was near homelessness at age 11. She ended up on our doorstep and we ended up unofficially adopting her and she ended up changing her life into a happy and successful person. She loves pizza and I taught her a lot about it for several years. Now at 23 she is the head pizza maker at a shop in northern Califonia. Now all I need to do is hit the lottery, hire Paige, Ana, and my wife. We will run our own little shop my way and I will set up trust funds for Paige and Ana so they can continue after Judy and I are dead. I know this going to happen. I love to dream big!