Pizza Person of the Day a hit in Powassan

One of the main food items at the Carriage House Market in Powassan is pizzas.

Being someone who likes to try new ways to make a traditional food, Chef Nick Courtemanche admits he was running out of ideas on what to put on his next pizza for public consumption.

About a month ago he happened to be at the local Home Hardware where he talked about his pizza challenge.

For Courtemanche it was being at the right place at the right time.

“They said why don't I get a member of the public to make the pizza by suggesting various ingredients and we can run it as the special of the day,” Courtemanche said. “One person in the community is 'nominated' to suggest the ingredients for the upcoming week and then that person 'nominates' another person for the following week.”

And so was born the 'Special Pizza Person of the Day' and Courtemanche hasn't looked back.

Town Councillor Leo Patey happened to be nearby when the idea was being tossed around and he was 'nominated' to create the first pizza.

“Leo mentioned some ingredients right there on the spot and I liked what he said,” Courtemanche said. “We ran with it and promoted that it was Leo who built the pizza and that people could come by and get a slice of Leo”.

The promotion caught on with the public right away.

Patey next nominated local funeral director Richard Paul for the second pizza.

Courtemanche said Paul isn't one to seek the spotlight but was a good sport about the promotion.

Although it's still early in the promotion, Courtemanche says all the pizzas suggested by the nominees have been pretty good but two pizzas have stood out resulting in sellouts.

One was an Italian Classic pizza suggested by Melissa Nigrini which included prosciutto and basil.

Courtemanche says he sold 30 Italian Classic pizzas which is close to the maximum he can produce in a day since he needs time to prepare them while at the same time handling other cooking responsibilities at the Carriage House Market.

The next sell out occurred when Nigrini nominated Adele O'Brien to mastermind the next pizza.

O'Brien went with a fall theme and picked ingredients that are harvested in the autumn by local farmers.

“So my pizza had on it beets, squash, red onions, roasted garlic, goat cheese and bacon,” O'Brien said.

O'Brien has never tried this combination of pizza but ordered four boxes and said Chef Courtemanche cooked up a “very tasty pizza”.

O'Brien added she may even try her hand at cooking up a similar pizza at home.

Courtemanche said it was exciting to put together a harvest themed pizza.

“People work hard throughout the year to grow the ingredients and they sit in storage to be part of a future meal,” he said.

So to throw these ingredients onto a pizza was a little unorthodox but it worked.”

The pizzas are large at 18 inches, divided into six slices and Courtemanche says they are a challenge to make.

When a member of the public suggests that week's ingredients Courtemanche plays with how much of each ingredient to include so one flavour doesn't dominate over the others and “we still make a profit”.

Courtemanche wants to keep the 'Special Pizza Person of the Day' promotion going as long as possible because of its popularity.

As he puts it “the reception has been crazy”.

The pizzas are only available on Fridays and the public needs to order ahead.

Courtemanche announces the next pizza on Thursdays on the Carriage House Market Facebook page where people also place their order.

However he says some residents are so confident of the end product that they are reserving their orders on Tuesdays without even knowing what the look or taste of the next pizza will be.

When Friday arrives, the first pizza goes in the oven at 10:30 am and from that point on it's a steady stream of pizzas going in and out of the oven until closing time at 5:30 pm.

During that amount of time, Courtemanche will have made about 30 pizzas which are sold at $25 each and a further six pizzas which he sells by the slice at $5 apiece for the lunch time crowd.

Courtemanche says down the road he would like to see some of the 'Special Pizza Person of the Day' pizzas become permanent menu items.

Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget