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Pizza Tour gives kids a chance to learn about their food, one slice at a time

POSTED: July 16, 2014 1:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Stevie B's offers "pizza tours" on weekdays all summer where kids can come learn how to make pizza, get a behind the scenes tour, and create their own pizza.

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Pizza is a popular meal all year-round, and making the tasty pies can be a treat kids of all ages can enjoy.

If the cheesy, saucy mess doesn’t sound like something to try at home, Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet is taking away the work and turning up the fun and education with its Pizza Tour program.

"The kids learn a little about the fruits and vegetables, and the staff teaches them how hot the oven gets and how the dough rises," said Jessica Kidd, assistant director of Discovery Point child development center in Oakwood. "They’re just really excited to make their own pizza."

Kidd escorted two groups of children ranging in age from 5 to 12 on a tour last week for a field trip. It was part of a weekly theme at Discovery Point.

"We try to have a different theme each week," she said. "Stevi B’s week was the ‘Easy Bake Oven’ week."

After washing their hands, the children got a behind-the-scenes tour in Stevi B’s commercial kitchen. The kids explored the freezer, refrigerator and storage areas and talked about different pizza toppings with a chef on hand.

"We show them all of the different veggies we have and ask them which ones go on pizza or which ones go on salad," Gainesville manager Jarred Melton said. "They don’t always expect potatoes to go on a pizza like one of them has."

Then the young visitors crafted their own personal pizzas with the pizza chefs assistance.

Jaiden and Josiah Smith were excited to head to the bar of toppings to retrieve their own pizza dough and start creating a pie.

"My favorite part is putting the toppings on," Jaiden said. "I really like the sauce."

The chefs helped the kids pour sauce on the dough before showing them how Stevi B’s adds with a plate and shakes off the excess. Next, the kids add their chosen toppings.

Natali Becerra, 9, chose multiple meats for her pie, mentioning sausage is her favorite.

"I got pepperoni, sausage, cheese and bacon," she said excitedly.

Melton noted day cares and child development centers are the most frequent visitors on a Pizza Tour, but it also caters to Girl Scout troops and birthday parties.

"It’s usually teachers (who) bring them in, so we try to entertain the kids and give the teachers a break," Melton said.

Kidd agreed.

"The kids really seem to enjoy it," Kidd said. "We definitely plan to do them with future groups as well."

However, groups ranging in age 13 and older can also tour Stevi B’s. The pizza chefs teach the techniques and cooking aspects of building a good pizza.

"We show them how we cut the veggies and how they could plant the seeds and grow their own," Melton said.

The pizza place also can modify the tour as needed for dietary regulations, health requests or the general demographic of the group.

"If a group comes in and wants a healthier option, we give them our thin wheat crust which cuts the calories in a pizza by about 70 percent," Melton said.



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