What: The Cheese Board pizzeria’s fundraiser for LGBTQI youth
When: Sunday April 10, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or whenever they sell out of pizzas) at 1512 Shattuck Ave.
Menu: Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano and basil pizza; beet and carrot salad with buttermilk herb dressing
What you should know: Walk-up orders only, and when it’s gone, it’s gone
No one needs to be told that Berkeley’s Cheese Board Collective is a politically minded entity — the 55-year-old worker-owned business has never shied away from making its viewpoints known.
And on Sunday, they’re turning their attention toward the state of Texas, raising funds to fight the state’s recent spate of anti-LGBTQI policies and support vulnerable youth in the state.
Speaking with Nosh, Cheese Board worker/owner Vanessa Vichit-Vadakan said that “the recent legislation criminalizing gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Texas prompted me to want to get this event on the books.”
Vichit-Vadakan is referring to a letter Gov. Greg Abbott sent to Texas state health agencies in February that said that the medical care “constitutes child abuse,” and that teachers, doctors and other mandated reporters must report parents who allow their trans kids to receive care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. (Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has also announced legislation to emulate Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law, a move that happened after I spoke with Vichit-Vadakan.)
“We support trans and queer youth, the guardians and medical professionals who take care of them, and the right to medical care,” Vichit-Vadakan said. To that end, the Cheese Board’s pizza operation at 1512 Shattuck Ave., which is typically closed on Sundays, will be baking up a special pie and serving up a special salad from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. on April 10. Every dollar they make on Sunday will be donated to two groups: Equality Texas (“the political side,” Vichit-Vadakan said, of the fight for trans rights) and Out Youth, which provides direct services for LGBTQI youth in Texas.
On the one-day menu is a pizza with house-made tomato sauce with mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and fresh basil and a salad with organic beet and carrot, toasted almond, and buttermilk herb dressing. They’ll be offering a special rainbow cookie, for reasons I hope are obvious. Produce for the pizza and salad was donated by Golden Rule Organics and Dan’s Farmers Market in Alameda; and all labor that day is volunteer in nature.
Pizza fans who want to show their support for Texas kids would be wise to come early. No pre- or phone orders are allowed, worker/owner Ambri Pukhraj said, as “we want to prioritize serving people who come out and stand in line.” If past fundraisers are any indication, the line can be long — and supplies are limited. Don’t arrive at 1:59 and expect to pick up a passel of pizzas.
But do expect to wait for a bit for your order, all the while knowing it’s supporting a worthy cause. “We hope that the money we raise can help defeat this inhumane legislation, Vichit-Vadakan said, and “give hope to the young people who are affected by it.”