Courtesy of Edera Italian Eatery
Juniper's Daniel Poss, his daughter Jayla, and Edera's Andrew Simon show off their creation.
If you see little ones running around the kitchen at Edera Italian Eatery (48 Maryland Plaza, 314-361-7227)
, rest assured it's not a desperate response to staffing shortages. From now through August 13, those kids are lending their culinary creativity to the Central West End restaurant for Pizza for a Purpose, Edera's charitable program that features collaborations with several prominent St. Louis area chefs and their children.
The rotating pizza series, which began on July 11, is the brainchild of Edera's executive chef, Andrew Simon. For the program's duration, Simon will be welcoming in a different parent-child pair to Edera's kitchen every Sunday or Monday; there, they will come up with a unique pizza that will be available to the restaurant's guests for the entire week, with a portion of sales going to a charity of the chef and child's choice. Mark Hinkle of Olive + Oak kicked off the festivities with his daughters; other participants include Yolklore's Mary Boehne and her daughter, Margot, Juniper's Daniel Poss and his daughter, Jayla, Vicia's Michael Gallina and his daughter, Olivia, and Chicken Scratch's Nate Hereford and his son, Ben.
As Simon explains, the idea came to him after an impromptu collaboration with his own daughter, Lyla, during a very busy chili cook-off with Schlafly Beer. At first, Simon was reluctant to let his then-six year old pitch in, but once she jumped in and made herself useful, it opened his eyes.
"There were a thousand people there, and it was hectic enough trying to serve everyone," Simon says. "But what do you know? She came in, got her hands dirty, helped out and loved it. We were looking through photos of the event, and I came up with the idea of getting other chefs together with their kids. Everyone loves seeing it, and it's helping out others that need help. It seemed like a great idea."
Simon notes that is has been fun watching the chefs interact with their kids in the kitchen, and he's thrilled to give them a venue to spend quality time together — something that can be in short supply for those working in an industry not known for work-life balance. He's also enjoyed seeing the pizzas they concoct and can't help but laugh as his fellow culinarians struggle with picky eaters like every other parent.
"To see Mark from Olive + Oak do a half and half pizza because one of his daughters doesn't like sauce and the other doesn't like cheese — it's been great," Simon says. "We're just humans that play with food, so it's nice to have them just pick a time slot, come in, mess around and play with their kids."
Pizza for a Purpose is available for both dine-in and carryout. For more information, including the different pizza creations, visit ederastl.com/pizza-for-a-purpose
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