Five years ago, Pizzeria Locale — the string of fast-casual pizza joints originally opened by Frasca owners Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson — instituted its Guest Chef Series. Occurring roughly twice a year, the program invites a local chef to create a collaborative pie, with $1 from each one sold benefitting a charity chosen by the visiting partner.
For the entire month of October, all four Denver locations will be serving The Forager ($12). The pizza, created by Kelly Whitaker — owner of some of the front range’s finest eateries including Basta, Dry Storage, The Wolf’s Tailor and Bruto — comes stacked with roasted mushrooms, Italian pork sausage, truffle oil, thyme, garlic, fontina, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Developed with culinary director Jordan Wallace, the pizza highlights Whitaker’s existing knack for the craft. Wallace and Whitaker developed the recipe with a great deal of intention after the two discussed their culinary penchants and passions.
“You know, I can’t believe we didn’t work with Kelly sooner,” grinned brand manger Chris Donato. “He makes amazing pizza anyway. He’s got such a great pedigree for anything gluten. He’s really a gluten nut.” The series has previously highlighted some of the city’s best talent including Annette’s Caroline Glover, Rioja’s Jennifer Jasinski and Rosenberg’s Bagels’ Joshua Pollack.
Each sale of The Forager will benefit Zero Foodprint. The program has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation as Humanitarian of the Year for its work in crowd-funding grants geared towards allowing farmers to switch to renewable farming practices. Over the course of the various collaborations, the ongoing series has raised over $20,000 for a wide range of nonprofit organizations.
Both the pie and the organization continue a trend established by Whitaker at all his locations, marrying the sophisticated and imaginative with an ongoing interest in sustainability and ethical food practices. It’s also damn delicious.
The Forager is available at all four Denver Pizzeria Locale locations.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.