CHICAGO — Lesaffre Yeast Corp. has opened a Pizza Innovation Center near Chicago. The facility brings the latest technology, equipment, and expertise to Lesaffre’s baking customers in North America, the company said.

Launched in conjunction with the North America Pizza & Culinary Academy, the Pizza Innovation Center features a variety of the latest equipment. Among those is a range of pizza ovens covering many technologies and styles, several types of mixing and dough handling equipment, a dough preparation room that can replicate any “real world” climate, a commercial kitchen, an innovative kitchen instructional area, and more.

“This new facility gives us more opportunity to innovate with key pizza clients who want to create new products, troubleshoot their process, or train their people” says Tom Benner, president and chief executive officer of Lesaffre Yeast Corp. “We are proud to work with such high caliber talent as Leo Spizzirri and the entire team at the Pizza & Culinary Academy.”

Chef Leo Spizzirri, added, “I am thrilled to be working with a partner like Lesaffre, who brings top quality ingredients focused on the art of great pizza. They will bring their research and development team on site, and we can work at levels unrivaled in the industry. There’s a lot of expertise coming together here.”

The North American Pizza & Culinary Academy is the second official pizza school in the United States, certifying pizza chefs from around the globe.