Over the past few weeks, many Chicagoans have considered what they can do to support protestors and local organizations speaking out against racism and police violence. Some have taken to the streets to join demonstrations, while others have contributed money to organizations, including the Chicago chapter of Black Lives Matter and Hyde Park's Brave Space Alliance community center. A couple in Logan Square decided to put their culinary skills to use for the cause, raffling off homemade pizzas and raising $1,000 for local activists and organizers Assata's Daughters.
Sean Malone and Carmen Chaparro are self-described "food-obsessed weirdos" with a "fantasy concept for a restaurant" who have been working on a pizza recipe for the past few years, perfecting it during the abundance of free time that the recent quarantine provided. Malone works in sales for a small wine distributor but has a background as a line and fry cook, while Chaparro is a professional artist who is currently furloughed from her job at Avondale restaurant Parachute. The pair has regularly been making pizzas for friends as a way to staying in touch, so in early June they decided to see if their recipe could raise some money for a local organization fighting for justice.
Setting up an Instagram account under the name Milled 2 Spill, Malone and Chaparro committed to making 50 pizzas and raising $5,000 this summer for Assata's Daughters, an organization that they chose because it's based on the city's South Side and inclusive to women and trans women. Instead of just selling the pizzas, Malone and Chaparro decided to raffle them off, selling tickets for $10 each through their Instagram account and funding all of the ingredients for the pizzas themselves. "The raffle helps because it's less about selling an item and more about fundraising," Chaparro explained.
During their first raffle, the couple set a goal of raising $500, but their friends quickly spread the word about the pizza fundraiser and attracted enough people to raise $1,000. Malone and Chaparro drew eight tickets that night, donated all of the proceeds to Assata's Daughters and were able to distribute the pizzas to the winners in the following days. One of the pizzas was par-baked, frozen and shipped to Los Angeles, where it was given to actor and comedian Mike Mitchell, who spoke about the pie on his podcast Doughboys and described it as "fantastic."
What makes Milled 2 Spill's pizza so special? Malone describes the square pies as somewhere between Sicilian- and Detroit-style, with a crust that attempts to replicate the buttery, herb-coated taste of chain pizzeria breadsticks. The toppings are simple—a sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella—but the crust is what makes this pizza distinctive. Malone and Chaparro cultivated their own yeast in their apartment, using it to create a multigrain sourdough crust that is substantial but airy. The outer edge is brushed with butter and sprinkled with a blend of herbs and cheeses that ends up caramelized and crisp after being baked. "We don't want to sell it as a health food, but it's pizza you don't have to feel so bad about eating," Malone says.
Milled 2 Spill's next raffle is scheduled for July 7, and this time around they're hoping to raise $1,000 for Assata's Daughters, though they may decide to raise additional money (and ultimately bake more pizzas) if there's enough demand. If you want to get your hands on one of these pies and support a great cause, keep an eye on the Milled 2 Spill Instagram for more information about when raffle tickets will go on sale—and make your purchase quickly, because these pizzas are as popular as they are delicious.
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