Singer and actress welcomed the Stein family — mother Melody, E-’96; father Russell, ’95, daughter Taysia, and son Rylan — to her eponymous show on April 25. The Steins are the founders of pi00a, an Asian, Deaf, and CODA (Children of Deaf Adults) family-owned pizza restaurant. Russ is director of the Gallaudet Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute. 

According to news reports, Melody and Russ are the first and only certified professional deaf pizzamakers in the world. They founded, owned, and operated Mozzeria in San Francisco for over a decade. Pi00a’s menu is inspired by their respective backgrounds: Melody hails from Hong Kong, and Russ grew up in New York City. As a result, their Asian-fusion dishes, such as the miso eggplant pizza and the hainan chicken pizza, have received glowing reviews. 

Their two adult children, Taysia and Rylan also work at pi00a. Taysia has a degree in marketing and helps grow the business, while Rylan has just graduated with a degree in food science and helps with research and development. 

Four people shown in the video. Two sitting on a white sofa in the front while the other two are sitting in stools behind the sofa.
The Stein family

The family’s shared mission is to create job opportunities for members of the Deaf community and to show others that you can be deaf and have a successful career. 

“We function very well in our deaf world, but when we go into the hearing world, we become invisible,” said Melody. “People overlook us.” 

Melody revealed to Hudson that she was rejected by a culinary school years ago because she is deaf. “In my mind I made a decision that I was going to run a restaurant,” she said, refusing to let this rejection stop her from achieving her dreams. She also told Hudson that they focus on hiring deaf individuals who have little to no experience so their employment at pi00a can help them develop skills, build up their self-esteem, and become financially stable so they can achieve independence. 

The family hopes that, through their pizza shop, they can change the mindset around deaf workers and help them get more jobs in the culinary field. They are working hard to grow their business so they can continue providing more opportunities, including those in leadership roles, to those in the Deaf community. 

Because of the Stein family’s mission to lift up the Deaf community, Hudson surprised them with $10,000 on behalf of Denny’s, one of her show’s sponsors, so they can continue to create job opportunities for deaf culinary workers. 

This story was compiled from news reports. 

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