Guest Chef Pizza Series: Alon Shaya

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For the past six years, Pizzeria Locale has been bringing you tastes and experiences from an amazing collection of Denver restaurants, thanks to its Guest Chef series. We’ve been proud to feature the work of such diverse chefs as Josh Pollack (Rosenbergs), Jen Jasinski (Rioja, Stoic & Genuine, etc.), David Query (Big Red F), Caroline Glover (Annette), and Alex Siedel (Fruition, Mercantile).

And now we’re back with a special treat for April: Chef Alon Shaya of Safta in Denver and his “Pizza Enzo,” combining River Bear mortadella, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, anchovies, Calabrian chile oil, and tomato sauce into a pizza we know you’re going to love!

And for every Pizza Enzo you order, we’ll donate one dollar to the Comal Heritage Food Incubator. So you’re not just getting a great pizza, you’re also supporting a good cause!

We look forward to connecting with our community and friends through our four locations during the year. We love Colorado as much as we love pizza, and there are so many Chefs and community organizations doing amazing things.

Presenting… April’s Guest

Chef Alon Shaya was born in Israel and immigrated to Philadelphia with his family when he was a child. Shaya’s chief inspiration was his grandmother, who helped him fall in love with cooking at a very early age—it was her influence that led him to become a chef, and he opened his Denver restaurant, Safta (“grandmother” in Hebrew), in her honor. Many of Safta’s recipes came from Shaya’s own Safta, and his goal is to keep the restaurant’s vision true to its inspiration.

How did he come up with Pizza Enzo?

“I apprenticed in Italy,” says Shaya, “and worked for a pizzaiolo in Parma named Enzo Desantis.” His instruction and example enabled Shaya to make a living creating pizzas when he returned to the United States. And, just as he honors his grandmother through his restaurant, Shaya wants to honor Desantis though the Pizzeria Locale April special. “His favorite pizza, one he would only make for his family (and never for customers), is the pizza Chef Jordan will be featuring at Locale. It’s a pizza with anchovies, a little bit of tomato sauce, spicy chilies, mozzarella, and with thinly shaved mortadella over the top once it comes out of the oven. Enzo said it was too special a combination to serve to customers, and should only be reserved for the family.” Shaya later asked the pizzaiolo whether he could one day put the special pizza on a menu, and Desantis agreed, “while beaming with pride.”

What is the Comal Heritage Food Incubator program?

The Comal Heritage Food Incubator is a combination lunch restaurant and training program operated by Focus Points Family Resource Center, a nonprofit organization committed to serving low-income families in the greater northeast Denver area. The program provides skills in culinary arts and business as a platform for economic development to immigrants and refugees originating from countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Syria, Iraq, and Ethiopia. The program gives participants a venue to celebrate their culinary traditions while at the same time learning about entrepreneurship and professional food services.

Chef Shaya is particularly passionate about the program. “The work Comal does to empower immigrant women in the Denver culinary community is so important,” he says. “I love how they provide people with a platform at a time they may need it most. I had a chance to work with mother-and-daughter team Vian Al-nidawi and Sara Nassr, who are Iraqi-Syrian, and have now opened their own catering company called Zaki Mediterranean Cuisine. When I met them they worked at Comal and were cooking some of the best Syrian food I’d ever had. I learned so much from them, and I’m so happy to see their success. I hope that raising more money for Comal can help other women fulfill their dreams—and provide Denver with more delicious and authentic cuisine.”

How can I try the Pizza Enzo?

Pizzeria Locale is always looking for new combinations and new taste experiences to offer its guests, and Pizza Enzo is no exception. And, like all our pizzas, the pizza dough is made fresh daily with only four ingredients, and every crust is stretched by hand to always make the perfect pizza.

Pizza Enzo is available in person or in App and online for pickup and delivery orders for $12 (and remember that one dollar will go to the Comal Heritage Food Incubator), Come on in and give it a try, it’s available through April! !