Inside one Chicago jail, inmates can now place orders for pizza and have them delivered to their cells.
Inside the Cook County Jail, inmates are busy learning skills that they could use to earn a living when they get released. One of them is making pizza and so far, it looks like the program is a huge hit. In fact, as many as 208 pies have already been sold in this prison since Monday.
The program started back in April 20. Here, inmates get to take part in a program called “Recipe for Change” that is headed by Chef Bruno Abate. Abate happens to be an Italian immigrant who owns the restaurant Toco restaurant in Wicker Park. And he believes that through this program, he can help improve an inmate’s self-esteem while also helping them learn how to appreciate food.
Abate is actually not new to the program. According to a report from DNA Info, the chef has been teaching inmates how to cook fresh food for years now. He does this using a wood-burning oven that was donated. “My mission is to transfer to [the inmates]the love of food,” Abate said in a previous interview. “Not everyone wants to be a chef. But if you have the love of food, you have the love of life.”
Inside the prison, inmates prepare the 10-inch pizzas that are being ordered by their fellow inmates. The prices range between $5 to $7. They use commissary cash to pay for all their orders. Inmates can place their orders by submitting an official paper form, but there is no firm delivery date given. This is because the delivery schedule of the pizza depends on the rolling schedule of the detainees.
Pizzas come in various flavors.
Nonetheless, the pizza flavors are a huge hit. There’s plain margherita and the favorite, sausage pizza. At the same time, inmates can also splurge on the $7 “four seasons” pizza. This comes with soppressata (salami), mushrooms, olives and egg, according to a report from Chicago Tribune. Indeed, it’s a huge hit.
In fact, even Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says that the pizzas coming out of their ovens are “outrageously good.” “You would swear you are in a top-of-the-line fancy restaurant in the heart of downtown Chicago,” he told Time.