Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 04-18-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 WOONSOCKET APRIL 18-24, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION Ready for a slice Bread oven to serve up pizza, community-building this summer WOONSOCKET – The new structure outside the NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley Millrace Kitchen at 40 South Main St. might look like an oven, but for Joe Garlick, the organization's executive director, it's much more than that. The bread oven, which celebrates its official opening today, Thursday, April 18, is a wood-fired community- builder with the potential to gather residents together for a meal outside its open doors, according to an appli- cation Garlick submitted for a grant to support the project in 2017. "There is nothing that celebrates community more or brings it together faster than food, especially if it's cooked outdoors over a wood fire," he wrote. "Our project capitalizes on the power of food to build community, and Woonsocket's unique Quebeçois heritage, with the construction of an outdoor wood-fired bread oven for neighborhood use and enjoyment." The oven, he explained, hearkens back to the city's French-Canadian heritage and the home many of its early residents left behind. In rural Quebec, communal bread ovens were once a focal point of life in the coun- tryside, a feature shared by cultures around the world. While bread might have been the traditional use of a communal oven, the NeighborWorks oven already seems to have found a niche with a different food now considered a staple of community gatherings. Last week, employees and members of the orga- nization's Millrace Kitchen gathered at the oven for a lesson in pizza-mak- ing from oven constructor and local chef Marty Pearson. "That's the beauty, a little char around the edge," he told participants as he pulled a thin-crust pizza from the stone oven. "You can't get that in a home oven." Baking pizza in a wood-fired oven, he explained, is different from cook- ing in a traditional gas or electric oven. While the individual pizzas only take about 90 seconds to cook, the oven can take several hours to preheat to the ideal baking tempera- ture of 700 degrees. It's even longer for bread, which needs to maintain a steady temperature throughout the baking process. Pearson, a Plainville, Mass., resi- dent, is the owner of Stone Comfort Fireplace Gallery and a professional mason. When he's not traveling the country building custom ovens at res- taurants and homes, he can be found at the Millrace Kitchen, where he's one of 22 members who will have access to the new oven in addition to the kitchen's other professional equip- ment. The initiative launched in 2017 as an "incubator kitchen" designed to give up-and-coming chefs access to a professional kitchen and event space. According to Meghan Rego, direc- tor of resource development and com- munications for NeighborWorks, the organization sees the new oven as an extension of the kitchen as well as a focal point of a developing outdoor space. In addition to the oven, which was partly funded by a $10,000 grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, the group recently invested $40,000 to construct a patio outside its South Main Street property, which sits adja- cent to River Island Art Park and Market Square. Rego anticipates the patio will become a favorite hangout during this summer's Levitt AMP concert series, with kitchen members planning to sell made-to-order pizzas during the Friday night events. In addition to the concert series, the organization plans to showcase the oven during monthly community pizza nights. NeighborWorks, she said, will provide the dough, sauce and cheese, and residents are encouraged to bring additional toppings to make their own pizzas with the help of staff. The events will be free to partici- pants, with the next one scheduled for Wednesday, May 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. The oven will also be available to staff at the Museum of Work and Culture, who plan to offer baking demonstra- By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com BREEZE PHOTO BY LAUREN CLEM MARTY PEARSON, a Plainville, Mass. resident and professional mason, pulls a fresh-baked pizza from the new Millrace Bread Oven. The oven was supported by a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Continues on next page 35% Less Heat Absorbed 1X6 Deck Board Our 71st Year in Business 830 Cumberland Hill Road, Woonsocket, RI 02895 OPEN: Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (401) 769-8128 www.pepinlumber.com Maintenance FREE Decking DECORATIVE SCREEN PANELS Black or White (in stock) Low Maintenance Vinyl Deck Railings Score a Touchdown on Deck Day at SATURDAY, MAY 4th 11a.m.-1 p.m. MEET & GREET WITH First 100 Receive an autographed poster!

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