A few weeks ago, we were blessed to have Steve Negri visit our Food-Allergy Support Group Picnic day. Here is a short interview we had with Steve Negri on his motivations for making the Mandy’s Pizza Allergy-Free Pizza.
Here is the video.
What makes Mandy’s Pizza different than other Allergy-Free Pizzas?
When you come to us for Pizza, you can get almost any literal topping you can get yourself when you go to a Pizza shop. Pepperoni, sausage…you can get ham on it. You can get salami on it…whatever you want. Whatever you kids wants to be able to finally enjoy Pizza like Mommy and Daddy get to enjoy. The products that we buy we make sure that we can try to feed the people with food allergies. And again, people say, I get it because I live it. Because of our son, Celiac Disease is no where the same as food allergies. So by default, my pizza was made for this (small amount) of people. These 15 little kids… not the 50 Celiacs that are out there. That’s where I make all my money, but it wasn’t done for them. It was done for my little boy. And if he can eat it, they can eat it.
How does the Pizza at Mandy’s Pizza taste?
For those who eat traditional cheese, it is even that much better. I had a guy. He is an auditor for the State of Massachusetts and called me up and said, “I got a problem.” “You didn’t ship me a gluten-free pizza” Bob, yes it is. “No, it’s not. I’m telling you right now. I’m on my way down.” He comes down. It was a gluten-free pizza. It’s not like everybody else’s.
What makes the Mandy’s Pizza Allergy-Free safer than other pizzas?
During the cooking process, I yell out “Allergy-Free” or they may yell out “Gluten-Free”. They yell out Allergy-Free pizza in the oven. Everybody knows that you have to get the tools, make sure you don’t put anything else next to it. We have two separate ovens. There are 3 types or 4 types of ovens in our industry: the traditional coal and wood-fire ones; the deck ovens that have the bricks in there. The last two would be conveyer ovens. Mine is the only one that does not have a blower in it. The blower would blow around all of the flour and all of the allergens in it. Ours does not have a blower. It is specifically made, not for us, but it was specifically chosen so that I can sell this product.
People with deck ovens, and I am not going to say who they are around her, who sells a gluten-free product, you are taking a grave chance because they are putting it in the oven, on its own screen…but all that flour is sitting on that deck. It doesn’t come out. You brush it away…whatever you think. But it’s still in there.
Our conveyors have no blowers so when it goes in; it sits on a track on their own screens. They take it off and put those screens back in secure area. They have their own tools. They wash their hands. They use rubber gloves when they make it.
Why does Mandy’s Pizza make an Allergy-Free Pizza?
It is not a revenue stream for me. It is a favor…not for adults…but for kids…because kids don’t get to go out and have the fun stuff.
What joy do you get by making an Allergy-Free Pizza?
When you see a little kid come in there and they’ve never had Pepperoni Pizza before. It’s a running joke at the store where I work all the time. My one manager Doug goes “Thank you Steve Negri.” It’s just a joke because kids come up, they give you little card, they tell you thanks. “Go up and thank that man.” That’s why we do it…because that kid would have never enjoyed pizza. How many years go by…”Have you ever eaten pizza?” “No, I can’t eat Pizza.”
“Yes you can”. You just have to know where to get it.
The Final Word…
For a parent of two kids with food allergies, it is so amazing that there are people like Steve in the world…who care enough about kids with food allergies to make such a great product. And speaking from someone who has actually eaten his pizzas….it is definitely true. These are amazing pizzas that will leave you shaking your heads in disbelief. The only thing I can say is that if you find yourself in Orange County, CA (Ladera Ranch) or in Pittsburgh, PA and your kids have food allergies….give them a treat that they will remember.
Mandy’s Pizza can be found at: 27732 Antonio Pkwy, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 and http://www.mandyspizza.com