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Make pizza for your community this Ooni Day

Every year at Ooni Pizza Ovens we celebrate Ooni Day, and this year it is on May 9.

It’s usually a day to throw awesome pizza parties and celebrate the joy of pizza bringing people together! Right now, throwing big get-togethers isn’t possible. But what’s still possible is spreading a little kindness through pizza.

We’ve been SO inspired by the amount of people in the Ooni Community making pizzas for their neighbors during this tough time. And that’s precisely what this Ooni Day is all about: Showing a little slice of kindness and delivering some pizzas to those neighbors around you that deserve them!

To help support those hit hardest during this time you could set up a charitable donation system so folks receiving pizza from you can give a little to a charity of your choice in lieu of payment.

Here’s our guide to help you if you’d like to do the same, safely, during this pandemic period.

BEFORE YOU PROCEED: PLEASE ADHERE TO GOVERNMENT ADVICE IN YOUR COUNTRY AND ONLY PARTICIPATE IN COOKING FOR THOSE OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSEHOLD IF IT’S SAFE FOR YOU TO DO SO.

1. Choose a safe delivery option

Consider how you’ll get the pizza to your neighbors or community - either:

  • socially distanced collection from your yard or
  • contactless drop offs to them.

2. Get supplies

Make sure you’ve got the basics in. Order nice and early, and get them delivered to you if possible. Make sure you are covering the basics:

  • Flour
  • Yeast or sourdough starter
  • Tinned tomatoes or passata for sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Simple toppings - we recommend keeping it streamlined with your offerings!
  • Pizza boxes or paper plates
  • Fuel for your Ooni pizza oven. Check your gas tank, get more wood/charcoal or more pellets - you definitely don’t want to run out mid-cook!

    3. Promote

    Let your neighbors know you're running an awesome pizza delivery/collection service on 9 May.

    If you’re already on a community group on social or a messenger service send a message there. If not you can prepare a super simple leaflet / order form, and drop through mailboxes. Get them to let you know if they’d like a slice of the action in advance, so you know how many you are prepping for!

    To make life easier for yourself, stick to a small selection of pizza options: Margherita, Pepperoni, your speciality and maybe one other.

    When you promote your event, make sure to tell people they can donate to our Ooni Day fundraiser, here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ooni-day, which will go to charities fighting hunger in the US, Canada, UK and Europe. You could take donations in lieu of payment, for example!

    4. Get ready

    Get people to let you know at least 3 days in advance if they want pizza and which kind. Then, you can plan how to cook and deliver to each household.

    If you can, spread out the deliveries over a few hours, so you can keep a nice rhythm of cooking them for fresh delivery to each person at a designated time.

    And of course, don’t forget to make the dough ahead of showtime…!

    5. Food Preparation - Safely! 

    Don’t break the law! If there is a rule in place preventing you from leaving your home at all, you have to follow that.

    Always follow your government’s recommendations for food handling during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    We recommend you read your country’s relevant materials in full as if you were operating a food business (even if all proceeds are going to charity). At a minimum, this would include:

    • If you are showing ANY sign of illness - call it off, immediately. People will not mind, you wouldn’t be letting them down even if it's last minute. It is braver to be smart and not take any risks.
    • Wash hands before, during and after handling food.
    • Clean and disinfect all cooking surfaces and equipment.
    • Wear a face mask or cloth face covering during cooking and pizza collections (here’s the CDC’s advice on how to make and correctly wear face coverings)
    • Keep toppings refrigerated, only taking them out for preparation.
    • Be allergy conscious: You may want to advise people you will not be able to accommodate allergies or intolerances. The health risks are quite high and in a home environment it’s very difficult to guarantee the full absence of certain allergens.
    • Take dietary preferences seriously: If you’re accommodating special diets like celiac disease, vegetarianism or veganism, make sure you handle those ingredients carefully and separately. Same for the utensils you’re using.
    • Never let your hands come into contact with finished pizzas, instead use utensils to handle and package them (let your pizza slide straight from the peel to the pizza box). Let them cut them at home.
    • Stay a safe distance (6 feet / 2 metres) away from people collecting their pizzas. You may want to make this easier for people by clearly pointing out a collection point that’s far away enough from where you’re making and handling pizzas. Place the pizza boxes on a surface and step away. Do not collect cash payments if at all possible.

    Here’s a list of useful resources:

    6. Pizza time!

    Fire up your Ooni, Cook up some awesome pizzas, get them to your neighbors and share pizza love!

    And don't forget to take some pictures and share them with us on social media by tagging @OoniHQ and adding #sliceofkindness. Tell us how many pizzas you made and we will match every pizza with a $1 donation! (See Terms & Conditions)

    Happy Ooniing!


    Q&A with Tommy B from LA Sorted's Pizza

    Tommy from LA Sorted's Pizza

    Here are some top tips from our friend Tommy B from LA Sorted's Pizza, who has been doing weekend pizza popup events from his front porch in California during the lockdown. 

    - How do you decide the maximum number of pizzas you'll make?
    I set a maximum number based on time. The first day I did 4 hours, so 16 pizzas, 15 minutes each.  That went smooth so I added 8 more the next week, 24. The next week I did 32, then 40 and this week I'll be doing over 50!  I wanted to get my work space dialled in, feel confident in my capabilities and not overextend myself. The last thing I want is to be stressed. So now I look at my orders and add 4-8 dough balls just as backup.
    - How far in advance do you make your dough?
    I use a sourdough starter, so a minimum of 24 hours, but usually don't do less than 48 hours bulk fermentation.
    - How do you take reservations?
    In this crazy time safety is my top concern. I've been using Square's online appointment system. It allows me to make the Pizza's "services" and bookable for a certain amount of time. I set up each pizza as a 15 minute appointment so my customers have plenty of time to pick up their pizza as well as have a nice face to face conversation with a fellow human. 15 minutes gives me enough time to stretch the dough, make pizza and get them on their way before the next customer shows up.
    - Any tips to manage distance between you and collectors for safety?
    I've set up my pop up kitchen on my front porch. I've set my pizza making table 7 ft back from the driveway so people can watch me make the pizzas and then we bring them to them at the front step. We also have a small "pick up" table for people to grab their pizza if they'd prefer.  We also only accept digital forms of payment.
    - Do you prepare the pizzas in advance or when people collect?
    I prepare the pizzas fresh on the spot, I think it really makes a difference.  Doing everything from slicing the garlic, the peppers, freshly grinding the pepper, all add a little extra flavor to the pizzas. The sauce is the last thing I make right before we open up, so it’s as fresh as it can be.
    - How do you promote the event so people will order? Which channels work?
    We've been strictly doing Instagram Posts and Stories, no paid / sponsored.  I wanted this to grow organically (like our ingredients!) via friends, then friends of friends, etc.
    - Any other tips for people wanting to do their own pizza collection event?
    My number 1 tip is to have fun.  My girlfriend got me my Ooni Koda as a Christmas / Hanukkah gift. I was so excited I went out and bought Chris Bianco's book "Bianco" and Marc Vetri's "Mastering Pizza" so I could learn how to make dough. It takes time, I'm still tweaking mine. My first three tries weren't amazing.  I had LOTS of burnt dough, pizza's sticking to the peel or pizzas hanging out of the front of my Koda. As cliche as it sounds, practice makes perfect.  So have fun and most importantly, be safe.
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