The Outrigger Pizza Company is a favorite lunch spot in Kihei, Maui (Azeka Shopping Center Mauka parking lot), so we were thrilled when co-founder and president Eric Mitchell agreed to spend three full days working with Wailea chefs preparing pizzas in his mobile wood burning oven. More than 800 K-5 grade students at Kihei Elementary School co-created pizza recipes including marinara, pesto or herb infused olive oil, topped with fresh garden greens and herbs, red creole onion, carrots, tomato, broccoli and zucchini – all veggies that are grown in the school garden.
Chef Eric brought an artisan kiawe wood burning clay oven on wheels, made all the dough for the entire event, made extra pizzas for delivery to classes who couldn’t attend and kept the oven stoked for a special after school party for YMCA A+ students. While the kids watched him flip dough in the air, he explained the science behind yeast and how beneficial bacteria burp when eating flour to make tiny air pockets in the crust. “Ewww!!!” a few screeched, then Eric explained the benefits of good bacteria to keep digestion healthy. Inspired by their discovery, kids artfully spread the sauce in circles, arranged herbs and sprinkled with cheese, then patiently waited – only 90 seconds before pizzas emerged from the kiawe oven piping hot. They talked story and called out their slices and took in the aroma while waiting a few more moments to cool. Students devoured, studied and savored the garden pies while talking about their favorite ingredients…and their next recipe adventure!
Mahalo nui loa to Eric, all the chefs and volunteers for inspiring our keiki to grow, harvest, prepare and eat their own amazing vegetables.
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