Who doesn't love pizza? It's gooey, crispy, saucy - it's delicious! Ryan Jordan is a full fledged fan. While growing up in Staples, Minnesota he worked for Giovanni's Pizza when it first opened in August of 2001. That red sauce has a way of working itself into the blood. He remembers that amongst the yeast, the flour and the faux Italian village setting, this is where his love of pizza first developed.
After Jordan attended college he moved to the New York. While his focus was developing a career in comedy he found himself frequenting pizza havens like Paulie Gee's, Roberta's and Luzzo's. Soon, he says, "I fully immersed myself in making my own pizza using a sourdough starter, fresh tomatoes, even making my own mozzarella sometimes." He was obsessed enough that he even penned a pilot that was set in a pizzeria.
At the same time, he was working at a nonprofit. "A very close friend of mine was working to defend parents in Manhattan family court," he recalled. "Through conversations with her and my own experiences, I learned a lot about the issues facing young adults aging out of the foster care system or navigating homelessness." It was her who he credits with first assisting him in developing the idea that now drives him: a pizzeria that would assist these young people make this difficult transition. His eventual goal is to open a restaurant that will hire, train and employ young adults at this precarious precipice in life.
He returned to Minnesota and began hosting regular pie nights, at times cramming fifteen people into his modestly sized apartment. "In June 2014, I celebrated the 125th birthday of the Margherita pizza by hosting a small event where I made over thirty Margherita pies for a group of about fifty. Last fall, I got to work a bit with the great family that runs Twisted Oak, a new mobile, wood-fired pizza operation in the Western suburbs."
His next event will take place next Monday, January 26 at Copper Hen Cakery & Kitchen on Nicollet Avenue in South Minneapolis. He has teamed with Borough's pastry chef Karyn Tomlinson for this special dinner. The menu includes sourdough with smoked mozzerella, lemons and basil; kale salad; a squid ink dough pizza bedecked with soppressetta; porchetta; and another sourdough crust topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, spicy soppressata, sweet cherry peppers, and hot honey.
Tomlinson was trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (where she picked up her affinity for pastry), but her passion for cuisine began at a young age. She's also worked at Meritage.
The event is the first pop up in what Jordan hopes to be a string of events to raise funds for his planned pizzeria Bones. "Bones refers to the slang term for the cornicione (the outer edge of a pizza). My favorite bones are those that are charred, puffy, misshapen. There is beauty in imperfection, value at the margins, joy found at the edges. This worldview is central to what I hope to do with Bones."
Tickets are available here for $35 with an optional beer or wine pairing.