Claudia Barila is a Montreal entrepreneur and philanthrophist who is involved in a variety of projects including The One Drop Foundation, which is dedicated to providing access to safe water, the Orange Rouge restaurant in Chinatown, and Edu2 (Educare), an innovative, technology-focused alternative school located in the Mile End.

Are you excited about Pizza Week?

I’m super excited and a very picky judge of pizza. I have very specific ideas about what I think makes a good pizza. Obviously the crust is important, the thickness of the crust, the sauce and all the condiments.

Did you eat a lot of pizza growing up?

Yes, I’m Italian. My mom made pizza at home sometimes, but my dad made most of the pizza. He worked at a diner back in the early 80’s where he made what you might call the French-Canadian style of pizzas, with the cheese and the pepperoni, the all-dressed type of pizza. They were great but they weren’t really the Italian- style pizza. That was kind of embarrassing (laughs).

I know you travel a lot. What’s the most unusual pizza you’ve come across?

It was a kind of Japanese pizza that I ate in New York. The base was a sort-of wasabi-mayonnaise and it had super-thin slices of tuna and pickled veggies as toppings, and the crust was thin and crispy. It was delicious!

You used to be a model. Do models eat a lot of pizza?

They do, actually. You can’t eat it all the time, of course, but It’s a really easy thing to snack on when you’re on the go.

What would you say is the best pizza you’ve ever had?

There are so many different kinds of pizza and they’re all great, but I’d have to say that the best pizza I’ve ever had was in Italy. I don’t know if it’s the water or the dough, but there’s just something special about the pizza there.

You know what else is really great? Pizza on the barbeque. My friend Brooklyn, who owns Brooklyn Café (71 Rue St. Viateur E.) she’s the one who first showed me, but I know there are a few people doing it now. It’s an easy way to cook pizza in the summer and the crust comes out perfect and crisp.