Turlock High School and Pitman High School students looking for an equally healthy and tasty alternative to their typical idea of lunch need not look further than a specialized brick oven set up by 10 East Kitchen & Tap House right on campus.
At least—for now.
“This is on a trial basis,” assured Child Nutrition Director Scott Soiseth. “10 East has the product and the expertise, but we’re hoping to buy our own pizza oven so that we can bring this in-house and make our own pizzas. That is our ultimate goal.”
10 East’s provision of brick oven pizzas at both high schools came as the result of the popularity that the local restaurant received during Turlock Unified School District’s initial implementation of California Thursdays in October.
“Their pizzas were such a big hit at California Thursdays,” reported Soiseth. “The kids were asking for it, so we brought 10 East in to try some different things and they have all the equipment to do it.”
“A lot of the kids usually go for pepperonis on their pizzas, but more are beginning to experiment with more fresh veggies on their pizza as well,” added Soiseth.
While on campus, the restaurant provides all of the ingredients for each pizza, including a fresh whole grain crust and a variety of California products, and prepares them in an enclosed outdoor area.
“They make it right there on campus using California fresh ingredients. They even roll out the dough there,” said Soiseth. “Our goal is to have it fresh made, not frozen. This way, we know that it is fresh.”
The restaurant sets up its brick oven twice a week at THS and twice a week at PHS. The continued popularity at both sites is evident, as the director reports that 10 East sells about 300 slices of pizza during one week at each site.
With the continued progression of the trial period, the District is currently looking into bringing the same services to Dutcher Middle School and Turlock Junior High School at least once a week.
“We just want to keep it moving and see what the response is,” said Soiseth. “We are not sure how long it will continue, but we like trying out new, fresh ideas.”
According to Soiseth, a majority of the money raised from the pizza transactions goes to 10 East for providing the services and ingredients. The funds that are left over go towards benefitting the Child Nutrition Department.
“These pizzas meet a lot of the healthy eating standards,” concluded Soiseth. “We feel it’s the healthiest pizza we’ve got going right now.”