I recently re-read this article after I received a link to a video related to a similar scheme in Mexico. I find it interesting that not only are both Kurt Evans as a chef, and Alejandro Souza as a founder, interested in the same opportunities offered by restaurants as agents of social change, but also that they’ve both decided to focus gastronomically on pizza as the driver behind the restaurants.
The Mexican chain is called Pixza and its hooks are: using blue corn flour as the pizza base (which I would personally say makes it more of a tlayuda or large sope than a pizza, but that’s marketing), using Mexican ingredients and employing people in “social abandonment”. This includes people who have been homeless, formerly incarcerated, migrants and refugees to state a few:
Clearly pizza is not the only dish that can be used to drive social justice via food businesses (Netflix’s Chef’s Table docuseries has a good profile on Asian-British chef Asma Khan, who employs Asian women exclusively, as a feminist empowerment statement), but I do find it interesting that both of these cases in North America have gone for hyper-localized variants of the iconic Italian dish in order to progress their causes.