Great Pizza Archives

Pizza Maker of the Year Award for Joe Leroux

Pizza Maker of the Year Award for Joe Leroux

Joe Leroux was awarded Canadian Pizza Maker of the Yrear for 2016.

In the following interview, Joe discusses how he won the award and what it meant to him.
He entered the pizza competition with the Best Pizza Makers in Canada. There were 25 entries in all. The contestants had come for all over the whole country.
Joe knew he had made a great pizza. As far as he was concerned, he thought it would be good enough for 3rd place.
When the winner of 3rd place was announced he was a little disappoint but he thought, well maybe 2nd place.
When he did not win for 2nd place, he was a little disappointed and he decided to pack up all of his stuff and head home.

That’s when the winner was announced and he won First Place for the Best Canadian Pizza.

In the following Interview, Joe explains how he entered the contest which was sponsored by a Canadian Pizza Magazine.

He has been making pizza at his pizzeria, Amadio’s located in the Greater Toronto area since 1975. He explains there have been many ups and downs since then. But the one thing he will not sacrifice on is the quality of ingredients when he makes pizza.

He says that you must dedicate yourself to the craft of making pizza but he also says he needs to shut down every year for his own vacation. He understands the importance of taking care of yourself in the pizza business. He is works many hours a day to keep on top of his business.

The following interview was recorded at Pizza Expo.

Amadio’s Pizza
360 Revus Ave., Unit 6
Port Credit/Mississauga
905-891-5500
Website: http://amadiospizza.com/

If you are interested in Pizza Expo you can go to:
Pizza Expo

Pizza Therapy supports the Pizza Expo

 

 

 

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All-Stainless or Black: $1695-$7195

 

Tony Gemignani and Laura Meyer at Pizza Demo

Tony Gemignani and Laura Meyer at Pizza Demo

Here is a video excerpt of Tony Gemignani at an exclusive workshop at Pizza Expo.

Tony is doing this demonstration for an exclusive group of attendees at this private class.  He shows why he is an 11 time World Pizza Champion. He explains dough stretching technique.  He uses two different types of pepperoni. You can watch Tony’s hand as he stretches the dough.

Tony describes how to shape dough. As he stretches the pie, he holds up the dough to look through the light. He is looking for weak spots in the dough. He is making a New York style pizza during this demonstration. He puts sauce on the crust explaining he wants to leave about a 1/2 inch border around the pizza. As he puts together the pizza he explains he uses two different types of pepperoni. At Tony’s pizzeria an in house sausage is used.

Tony puts down the pepperoni and follows the sauce line making sure to cover the entire pie. One of the biggest errors is that first time pizza makers encounter is do not following their sauce line when placing pepperoni on the pizza. If you put all of your toppings in the middle, your pizza will actually appear smaller than it actually is. When he places the sausage on the pizza note that he pinches the sausage the size of a dime. “If you pinch your sausage the size of a quarter it will not cook well.”

Tony explains that if the pie is a little small on the table, you can stretch the dough out a bit. Doing this quickly does not give the sauce a chance to bleed through. A common Neapolitan method for shaping dough is to make them smaller and then gradually stretch them on the peel. Tony also demonstrates a Roman style pie.

Discover Tony’s pizzeria:

Tony's Pizza Napoletana

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana

 

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 835-9888

You can claim a copy of Tony’s Best Selling Book The Pizza Bible: The World’s Favorite Pizza Styles, from Neapolitan, Deep-Dish, Wood-Fired, Sicilian, Calzones and Focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit, and more

 

Albert: Albert Grande here from pizzatherapy.com legends pizza.com/blog I have cornered my old friend Tim Huff master baker at General Mills, and I wanted you to talk a little bit about the hydration of flour and in particular Pizza Dough Hydration. That’s something that’s come up a lot in my video, I did a previous interview with you. Could you address that Tim?

General Mills

General Mills

Tim Huff:  You bet. When it comes hydration it’s the amount of water that goes into formulation and when we look at that we compare that to flour weight so it’s in Baker’s percent

In these days I see a significant influence from the artisan baking industry we’re used to higher hydration doughs and so a lot of the folks that are baking Neapolitan style pizzas these days I see ranges from 60 may be close to 70% hydration so that be 60 to 70 pounds of water to hundred pounds of flour.

If you’re talking kind of traditional New York style crust a lot of the folks I talked to they may be around 55% absorption but I think they’re leaving money on the table by not hydrating the high gluten flours to the extent they could be. Pushing up to 60% is certainly very doable.

In a lot of ways, I think it actually makes the crust bake out better. The more you hydrate a dough the softer that dough is. It actually expands quicker in the oven and bakes more efficiently. So a lot of the folks that have a soggy dough or say hey I have a gum line I can’t figure it out. I keep taking away water and keeps getting worse and that’s why it’s getting worse cause as her take water away it makes the dough stiffer, the dough doesn’t expand when it hits the oven.

If a dough has higher hydration, it’s a little bit looser it pops quicker on the deck when you put it in the oven actually bakes more efficiently so pushing the hydration on those is something I think a lot of pizza operators could do.

Albert: So I’ve also heard Tim that using a higher hydration will make your pizza crisper? Is that true?

Tim Huff: Exactly and that’s the reason that it is crisper because it is baking more efficiently and it seems counterintuitive if I add more moisture to something how could it be crisper? The reason it is, is because it’s opening up the cell structure of that dough as it hits the oven it expands quicker when you have that expansion you’re essentially developing more little air cells, the bubbles there. It’s easier to bake something that’s airier versus baking something that’s dense.

And so it bakes more efficiently therefore gives it a crisper crust

Albert:  Okay great and what are some of the flours that you recommend from General Mills

Tim Huff: Sure sure I mean when I think of the quintessential New York style pizza I think of All Trumps. All Trumps is a 14% spring wheat high gluten flour that’s predominately used in the New York market.

Right now with the advent of a lot of the Neapolitan style pizza as we came out with a flour a couple years ago called Gold Medal Neapolitan it’s a 12% winter wheat protein. It’s actually what I call and they can flour we have no treatment on it so it’s no bleach, no brominated but it also has no malted barley flour.

With some of these high heat applications what they’re wanting is a something that reduces a little bit of that browning because the oven does such a great job with the browning so we took away the malt so that you don’t get those additional residual sugars in there. So those two are some of the big ones right now.

For the rest of the Tim Huff interview, watch the video below or you may listen to the MP3 below video.

 

You can contact Tim at: tim.huff@genmills.com

You can listen to the MP3 of this interview or download of below:

 

Find out more about Pizza Expo at this link.Pizza Therapy supports the Pizza Expo

 

 

 

You can find All Trumps here:

General Mills Gold Medal All Trumps High Gluten Flour, 50 Pound

Mix together flour, salt yeast, water (and depending who you talk to: olive oil), and you can make a great pizza. Mix together two of the most passionate pizza makers in the U.S.A. and there is no telling what you are going to end up with. The end result as in both examples will be pure pizza satisfaction. With the later you will discover what fuels that passion and drive. You will also understand the spirit of pizza and the relationships that can be created as a result.

Pizza Brothers: Jonathan Goldsmith and John Arena

Pizza Brothers: Jonathan Goldsmith and John Arena

I was very fortunate to snag John Arena (Metro Pizza, Las Vegas) and Jonathan Goldsmith (Spacca Napoli, Chicago) at the close of Pizza Expo 2016, in Las Vegas. The conversation was fast, furious and totally from the heart. Both come from very different places in the pizza industry.

John, from New York, grew up around pizza and began making pizza at a very young age.  John continues to make pizza at his pizzerias in Las Vegas. In addition, he also teaches the only certified Collegiate Level class on pizza at UNLV. John spreads the joy and love with pizza at several locations around Las Vegas. While he knows New York style pizza well, he is also able to make numerous styles of pizza. John was recently invited by Caputo Flour to go to Italy to help develop a New York Style Flour. He was accompanied by pizza luminaries Tony Gemignani, Scott Wiener, Guilio Adriani, and Michele D’Amelio. (You can see a video of this event by clicking here)

Jonathan Goldsmith, learned his craft by going to the source of pizza: Naples, Italy. Jonathan learned his craft from Master Pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia. Jonathan has studied and continues to study his craft. His pizzeria, Spacca Napoli, recently celebrated a tenth anniversary. Jonathan who was a concerned with social change in a former profession, carries that over into his business of creating pizza.

While John will use olive oil in his pizza creation, Jonathan will use none. Their pizzas can be quite different, however they share a love of pizza and of each other. They have developed a strong bond over the years which continues to grow. Their passion for the craft of creating pizza is endless. When asked where is the common ground, John holds up his hands.

Both Jonathan and John embody the true spirit of pizza. While there are certain differences in their style. there is common ground in turning simple ingredients into pure pizza magic. The wonderful thing about both is their willingness to share and collaborate with others who share in the joy of creating pizza.  Both are willing to share their experience with a pizza master or someone who is just discovering the love of pizza. Pizza is a dish which inspires and illuminates.

This is a great interview with two incredible pizza makers who share in the brotherhood of pizza.

 

 

You can listen to an audio of this interview,
or download it if you wish, below:

Jonathan’s Pizzeria is:

Spacca Napoli

 

 

 

 

 

Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.
Chicago, IL 60640
773.878.2420

John Arena is the co-owner of:

2015-08-21_10-32-40

 

 

 

 

Metro Pizza:
1395 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tropicana & Maryland Parkway
Phone: (702) 736-1955

2016-03-16_12-49-03

 

 

 

 

 

You can discover more about John by going to Pizza Quest:
https://www.fornobravo.com/pizzaquest

Information about Pizza Expo can be found:

Pizza Therapy supports the Pizza Expo

 

 

 

http://pizzaexpo.com

Pizza Therapy Website is located at:
http://pizzatherapy.com
And more Pizza Related Videos can be found at the
Pizza Therapy Channel on YouTube

Here is Penny Pollack and Jeff Ruby’s book:
Everybody Loves Pizza: The Deep Dish on America’s Favorite Food

Frank Pepe Making Pizza

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Here is some priceless video of Frank Pepe making pizza at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Wooster Street in New Haven, Connecticut. You can view step by simple step how he casually puts together a pizza. Simple, easy with the love of making an incredible pizza.

The Frank Pepe Pizza Box

The Frank Pepe Pizza Box

What I find most fascinating is the how casual he is while putting together his pizza.

The simplicity of the ingredients. The master is able to shape the pizza gently and deliberately.
There is no hesitation in his pizza making…

I do not know the origin of this video. It was posted on YouTube and I am just sharing it. Frank Pepe passed away in 1969 so this video was shot some time in the 50’s or -60’s.

The Pizza Crew at Frank Pepe's

The Pizza Crew at Frank Pepe’s

Just as a contrast, I present some video of pizza maing at Pepe’s. This is a video I created myself.

Here are some the pizzas that come out of the Pepe’s oven.

A fresh pizza at Pepe's

A fresh pizza at Pepe’s

Another great Pizza from Pepe's

Another great Pizza from Pepe’s

The Legendary Clam Pizza:

Pepe's Clam Pizza

Pepe’s Clam Pizza

Inspiration from Billy Manzo, Federal Hill Pizza

Chef Billy Manzo is an inspirational pizza maker. He takes his craft seriously. He is funny and loves to laugh. He has a unique sense of humor, and he loves making pizza. He believes in using only quality ingredients to make the best possible pizza.

He is also an inspirational story teller. He shared his story during our visit to Federal Hill Pizza in Warren, Rhode Island.

Federal Hill Pizza, Warren Rhode Island

Federal Hill Pizza, Warren Rhode Island

Billy started in the pizza business out of necessity. He owned a Cigar Lounge on Atwells Avenue in Providence for 16 years. Part of of the licensing agreement was that he serve some type of food. He thought about hot dogs and hamburgers, but decided he would do better with pizza. The first day he started he sold 40 pizzas. and thus began his pizza journey! He only did 2 types of pizza, a Margherita and a pepperoni pizza.

The pizzas became a hit. The owner of the Eastside Market in Providence asked if he could sell the pizza dough. He recognized the quality of the pizza dough.  Soon other businesses were asking for some of his dough, so he decided to get in the wholesale pizza dough business. Within 6 months Billy was selling his dough to over 200 retail outlets in the state of Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts.

Chef Billy Manzo

Chef Billy Manzo

After his daughter was born, he decided to go into a different direction and went into the retail side of the pizza business. He opened his shop, Federal Hill Pizza in Warren.

Billy believes the best route to take for any entrepreneur is simplicity. You need to know the simplicity of where your product comes from and where it is going to the end consumer. Simplicity is the philosophy that drives his business. The is why one of the foundations of his pizza is the Margherita.

Pizza at Federal Hill Pizza

Pizza at Federal Hill Pizza

As he explains, “you can’t hide from a Margherita”. It is the foundation of his entire menu. While he offers a number of Italian dishes at his pizzeria, he prefers to stick with the basics.

He was laos forht coming on some tips for the home pizza maker.

  1. Temperature of your oven.
  2. A pizza stone in your oven and
  3. patience.

The patience in working your dough and allowing it to ferment properly is key. You need to let your dough rise for at least 24 hours…

You can watch the entire interview here:

 

 

Please make sure you visit Federal Hill Pizza and discover the magic yourself.

Federal Hill Pizza
495 Main St, Warren, RI 02885
Phone:(401) 245-0045

Thank you Billy, you are truly amazing!


How to Make A Clam Pizza At Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria

Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana

Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana

Witness an actual demonstration of how to make a clam Pizza at Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria Napoletana.

The dough is stretched to the correct shape which is actually an oval shape rather than a round shape.
This is the signature dish at Pepe’s. While many other pizzaiolo and chefs will try to duplicate the Calm Pie, there really is only one clam pizza.
The clam pizza starts with fresh clams and their clam juice. One of the reasons for the success of Pepe’s clam pizza may be the local seafood that is used. These are actual New England fresh clams. Many parts of the country are unable to get the actual clams used. These are native clams of the East Coast.

Slice of Bacon Pizza and a slice of clam

Slice of Bacon Pizza and a slice of clam

The clam pizza is cooked with almost no cheese. There will be a sprinkling of Parmesan, but no mozzarella is used (pronounced mootz in New Haven).

 

Pepe's Clam Pizza

Pepe’s Clam Pizza

 

Also take note of the huge amount of clams that are put on each pizza. They do not skimp on clams at Pepe’s. The Clam Pizza is a white pizza, you will not find any tomato sauce here. Then there is an amount of Parmesan Cheese put on the pizza. Spices and a sprinkle of olive oil finish off the pizza. Another feature that adds to the taste of Pepe’s pizza is coal fired oven used to cook the pizza. The oven can get up to 900 degrees F. The pizza is cooked quickly and completely.

Pepe's Clam Pizza

Pepe’s Clam Pizza

You can see the actual way to make a Pepe’s Clam pizza in the following video:

Once the pizza is finished it comes out of the coal fired oven and then put on a serving try where the pizza is cut inot slices. These serving trays are placed on your table and really make a unique holder for the pizza.

I was able to interview Gary Bimonte, grandson of Frank Pepe on the history of the clam Pizza. Gary explains that the clam pizza was actually an accident. Gary states that the clam pizza was invented right on Wooster street.

The Frank Pepe Pizza Box

The Frank Pepe Pizza Box

 

Tony Gemignani Pizza Tour, Pizza Rock

Tony Gemignani and Albert Grande at Pizza Rock, Las Vegas

Tony Gemignani and Albert Grande at Pizza Rock, Las Vegas

Here is an exclusive video interview with Tony Gemignani, World Famous Pizza Chef as he takes us behind the scenes of his award winning pizzeria Pizza Rock. One of the most knowledgeable and colorful pizzaiolo in the Industry, he is friendly and forthcoming. Tony is the owner of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, one the best pizza places in that city.

I was very fortunate to be able to interview Tony as he explained every important feature of the restaurant. This was an exclusive “back of the house” pizza tour with one of the Legends of Pizza. He takes us to the prep stations where the pizzas are made and prepared. He shows the pasta station where fresh pasta is made daily. He shows the making of fresh sausage. He even introduces us to Chef Andrew, a mainstay at Pizza Rock in Green Valley.

Tony explains the importance of using the best and freshest ingredients when making his Italian recipes and especially pizza.

Tony Gemignani inspects a pizza

Tony Gemignani inspects a pizza

One of the more important aspects of any pizza according to Tony is the water used when making pizza. He discusses the use of a reverse osmosis machine in preparing the water used for pizza. The water is critical in making great pizza Tony explains. The reverse osmosis process pulls everything out of the water. Tony shows us the industrial dough mixer that is used to create the pizza dough.

Tony's Pizza Naoletana

Tony’s Pizza Naoletana

 

“Water is the second highest ingredient is pizza dough, states Tony. “Not so much the flavor of it, but how the yeast works, the softness of it, the conditioning of it, the manageability of it. There is a lot that goes into it. You do not want to use super hard water”.

 

Tony with The Pizza Bible

Tony with The Pizza Bible

Tony is the author of The Pizza Bible: The World’s Favorite Pizza Styles, from Neapolitan, Deep-Dish, Wood-Fired, Sicilian, Calzones and Focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit, and more. This pizza book is like taking a master class with Tony. He takes you every step of the way creating incredible pizzeria style pizza. I own a copy and give it my highest recommendation.

Here is an interview with Roberto Caporuscio and his daughter Giorgia.

Pizza at Don Antonia by Starita

Roberto Caporuscio and his daughter Giorgia are master pizzaioli (pizza makers). Roberto explains the oven he uses to be able to cook his pizzas in 90 seconds. He explained they come out perfect every time.

Giorgia, Albert Grande and Roberto Caporuscio

Giorgia, Albert Grande and Roberto Caporuscio

From his website we share the following:

World-renowned Neapolitan pizza chefs, Roberto Caporuscio of the wildly popular Kesté Pizza & Vino in New York City, and his maestro, Antonio Starita, third generation owner of one Naples’ oldest and most revered pizzerias, Pizzeria Starita a Materdei, have joined forces to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Midtown Manhattan at Don Antonio by Starita.

Located at 309 West 50th Street in New York City, Don Antonio by Starita is where pizza fans can indulge in an expansive assortment of more than 60 traditional and creative, wood-fired Neapolitan pies, crafted from the finest ingredients, including homemade mozzarella. Highlights include a selection of pizze fritte (lightly fried pizza), such as the “Montanara Starita”,

Roberto discusses his pizza oven which was made in Naples and imported to New York. The oven is very unusual in that it has a small opening in the front. The pizzas come out perfect in 90 seconds.

Girogia happened to be in New York at the time of this interview, so it was a treat to be able to discuss pizza with her. She explains her favorite pizza and how it is made. She curently works at the Don Antonio’s location in Atlanta. She is a master pizza maker and is following in the footsteps of her famous father.

Here is the interview:

Don Antonios has several locations.

Don Antonio’s by Starita
309 West 50th Street (at 8th Ave.)
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 646.719.1043

and find them in Atlanta:

Don Antonio by Starita
102 West Paces Ferry Road Northwest
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
Phone: (404) 844-2879

Our friends at Metro Pizza, in Las Vegas are celebrating an anniversary…
They have been making pizza at Metro for over 35 years…

John Arena with pizza

John Arena with pizza

John and Sam, the owners have pizza in their blood. They grew up making pizza at the family run pizza business.

Learning to make pizza at Metro

Learning to make pizza at Metro

Here’s the story:

Thirty five years ago, two young men from New York saw an Ad in an Italian newspaper. The ad was for the sale of pizza place in Las Vegas, Nevada.

After much discussion, they packed their bags borrowed a car and headed to a new life in Las Vegas to start a pizza business.

Things were not easy, but both were determined and dedicated to make their pizzeria work.
They named the pizzeria, Metro in honor of their New York roots.

They struggled. They worked. They tried. And they made pizza…

And more pizza. And more pizza!

Metro Pizza

Metro Pizza

They held onto the dream… and expanded their pizza vision

Along the road, they influenced other would be pizzeria owners in their own pizza journey…

They freely share their love and knowledge of pizza to anyone who asks. They continue to make pizza, teach pizza share the spirit of pizza …

They are known simply as:

“The pizza guy and the other pizza guy!”

Metro Pizza

Metro Pizza

John and Sam, We thank you! We praise you… We salute you!

Here’s to Metro Pizza and to you both.

The pizza guy and the other pizza guy!

Keep on doing what you do….

Check out our video tribute to Metro pizza:

From the Metro website, here is their philosophy:

We believe that a true Pizzeria should be a gathering place for family and friends to relax, share great food and enjoy each other’s company. We have visited hundreds of Pizzerias across the country, learning and gathering recipes to bring our guests a taste of home, wherever home might be.

 

Which city has the best pizza? At Metro Pizza we celebrate all of the great traditions of the pizza experience and we Thank You for choosing us as your neighborhood Pizzeria.

 

Metro Pizza
1395 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, Nevada
Tropicana & Maryland Parkway
Phone: (702) 736-1955

And if you are looking for Pizza T-shirts…
Check this out:
Pizza T-shirts

Chef Maurizio Crescenzo with pizza

Chef Maurizio Crescenzo with pizza

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Maurizio Crescenzo of Grano Trattoria, an Italian restaurant and pizzeria
in New York City. Read on for this revealing interview.

 

As the recently crowned Chopped Champion on Food Network Chopped, Chef and owner Maurizio Crescenzoo is no stranger to brick oven cuisine. On a daily basis he makes pizza, bakes bread and pasta, and even braises all types of meat in the brick oven. Maurizio has been showcasing his culinary skills since the age of 14. He came to New York City in 1996 and one year later launched Grano Trattoria in Greenwich Village. After the success of his first restaurant, Maurizio opened up Taverna Di Bacco in the Lower East
Side in 2011.

Albert: Thanks very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me…

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got into the restaurant business:
What is your training? Did you learn in Italy? Did you have any pizza mentors there?

Chef Maurizio: At a young age, I discovered my passion for food. When I was 14, I attended I.P.A.S. (Istituto Professionale Alberghiero Di Statoculinary) culinary school in Italy which is where I really fell in love with cooking. I worked alongside great Italian chefs who also mentored me through culinary school. I learned everything I know about cooking while living in Italy since I lived there my whole life until 1996. My biggest pizza mentor was in my hometown Sarno. For one year, I worked with a family who owned a pizzeria for two generations. They even built their own brick ovens.

Albert: What are your earliest memories of pizza? How have these memories influenced your pizza making today? What is your favorite pizza?

Chef Maurizio: My earliest memory of pizza is when I was a little boy and my parents took me to a local pizzeria. I thought it was the best food I had ever tasted (apart from my mom’s cooking of course).
This memory has influenced my pizza making today because I try to relive my memories of living in Italy through cooking. When people taste my pizza, I want them to have the same feeling I had when I first tried it. One of my favorite pizzas is Pizza Margherita. My absolute favorite when I am at home is Napoletana pizza made with all fresh ingredients. All my pizzas use only the freshest of ingredients.

Albert: What is your philosophy about making pizza? Are your pizzas influenced by any particular style of pizza? Have you been influenced by any pizzailo?

Chef Maurizio:: My philosophy is to make pizza as good as anything from Naples. My pizzas are not influenced by any particular style of pizza, but they have been influenced by the family of Tonino and Michele in Sarno because they taught me everything I need to know about pizza. They helped me develop my own feel in each pizza I make.

Rustica-pizza

Rustica-pizza

 

Albert: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into the pizza business?

Chef Maurizio:: I would suggest that someone who wants to get into the pizza business should go to Italy at least once and see how pizza is made in Napoli. Until you have tried their incredible pizza, you will have no baseline to work from.

Albert: Tell me a bit about your restaurants. Do they have the same menu? Do they both feature pizza?

Chef Maurizio: My first restaurant Grano Trattoria (in the West Village) has a wood burning brick oven which is used to make my authentic pizza. Although my restaurant Taverna di Bacco (on the Lower East Side) does not have a wood burning brick oven, it has a beautiful garden. Both of my restaurants have different menus but feature traditional Italian Cuisine.

Chef Maurizio Crescenzo making pizza

Albert: Congratulations on your recent win on the Food Network Show Chopped. I understand you started filming at 6:00 AM and didn’t leave until midnight. How was that experience? What were your winning dishes? How were the judges?

Thank you! It was definitely a long day taping the Chopped episode, but it was well worth it! Being on Chopped was a great experience and I was really able to showcase my creativity and ability to cook under pressure. I wanted to stay true to my comfort food style and create laid-back homey dishes. The episode was all about cheese, so each dish required the use of at least two different types of cheese.

For the appetizer round, I had to use the mystery basket ingredients which were domed goat cheese, blue cheese, mostarda and guanciale. I used these ingredients to make Zuppa di Formaggio which is cheese soup with guanciale fat potatoes using thyme, cream and bread.

For the entrée round, the mystery basket ingredients were raclette, brie, chicken thighs and garlic scapes. I created Pollo alla Cacciatora which is chicken cacciatore with cheese mashed potatoes using red wine, onions and garlic.

For the dessert round, the mystery basket ingredients to use were manchego, garrotxa, fig spread and tarragon. I made Formaggio al Cioccolato which is a deconstructed cheese plate using chocolates, prosecco and almonds.

For a limited time, my restaurants are featuring the Chopped tasting menu with a wine pairing. Monday nights at Taverna di Bacco and Thursday nights at Grano Trattoria.

Overall this was a great learning experience and I am very lucky I was given the opportunity to be on Chopped. The judges were tough critics but I know they were doing their job and trying to find the best chef to be the newest Chopped Champion.

Chef Maurizio Crescenzo tossing pizza

Albert: Any tips for the home pizza chef, who wants to make great pizza in their own kitchen? What is the secret to making great pizza?


Pizza Stone

Chef Maurizio:: Make sure you buy a good pizza stone! It is also important to have delicious pizza dough. If you live near Grano Trattoria, come stop by the restaurant and we can provide you with fresh dough to make your own pizza at home.

Grano-pizza

Albert: What next for you: Chef Maurizio Crescenzo? Will you be adding new dishes or pizza items to your restaurant’s menu?

Chef Maurizio:: I am always challenging myself in the kitchen. Whether I am cooking pasta, pizza or any other dish it is extremely important that each one is just right. For that reason, I am refining the menus at each restaurant as springtime is upon us. I am making sure that we continue to serve some of the best Italian cuisine in New York City.

Albert: Are you planning on opening any new restaurants?

Chef Maurizio:: I have no plans to open another restaurant at this time. Right now I have Grano in the West Village and Bacco on the Lower East Side and I ride my bike back and forth between the two locations throughout the day. That is more than enough for me! My family is very important to me and I like to put aside time to spend with my wife and twin daughters.

in the pizza oven with Chef Maurizio Crescenzo

Albert: Why do you think pizza has become so popular? It is the ultimate comfort food in America… But it seems like in the last few years there has been an upturn in pizza popularity.

Chef Maurizio:: Pizza is the ultimate in convenience for the customer. Pizza has become so popular because it is an extremely tasty meal (with so many different varieties), but it is also quick and easy to eat on the go. At my restaurant people like to order pizza and take their time to savor the dish. I find that many customers will start off their meal with one of my specialty pizzas and then continue by ordering an entrée as their meal. We also find that pizza is also a great plate to share whilst having a pre-dinner cocktail. Pizza is something that can be had by one person or shared by many; it can be served as an appetizer, lunch, dinner or snack. There are endless possibilities when it comes to pizza and I think that is why people enjoy it so much.

You can discover Grano Trattoria
21 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10014
(212) 645-2121

And Taverna Di Bacco
175 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
(212) 477-0077

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Jonathan Goldsmith and John Arena

Jonathan Goldsmith of Spaca Napoli with John Arena of Metro Pizza at Pizza Expo

 

Jonathan Goldsmith is a pizza master. He has studied in Italy and learned his craft. He speaks fluent Italian and is able to converse eloquently in the true language of pizza.

The most amazing thing about Jonathan is his true humbleness when it comes to discussing pizza. I have spoken to him several times on the art of pizza. He says he is proud to be part of a time honored guild and tradition of pizzaioli. His restaurant in Chicago, is called Spaca Napoli.

In the video and audio below, he explains how to make authentic Neapolitan pizza dough. Jonathan was interviewed at the International Pizza Expo, in Las Vegas in 2014. He is extremely forthcoming and gladly explains the formula for making authentic Neapolitan pizza dough.

The following recipe is for 12 Dough Balls, so it may be more than enough for the home pizza chef. He states you can give some of the excess to friends and family so they can make their own pizza. He explains that if you have some dough left over, you can also use the dough recipe to make bread.

Note that in the tradition of all great bakers and pizza masters the recipe is given in baker’s weights rather than amounts of cups or measuring spoons. Professional bakers need to be exact in their measurements in order to maintain a certain amount of consistency of their product. This recipe can certainly be modified for the home pizza chef. Note also the pizza dough recipe is completely in metric units. This is how he was taught to make pizza and he share all of his knowledge to further the concept of having others create wonderful pizza.

You can feel the enthusiasm Jonathan feels for the creation of pizza. He once explained to me, he feels he is still learning his craft. He still is working at making incredible pizza.

This dough recipe will teach you to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. The recipe is listed below. As you watch the video you can learn all of the steps involved in creating amazing pizza in your own kitchen. Or if you are a pizza professional, you have discovered true pizza secrets, here.

Recipe for Pizza dough:
1 liter of water
1.7 kilos of flour
50 grams of salt
1 1/2 grams of yeast.

Jonathan is a world famous pizza maker. His restaurant Spaca Napoli has received numerous local and International awards and recognition as one of the best Pizza Restaurants in Chicago.

Here is the video:

Spaca Napoli
1769 W. Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL
Reservations Accepted
773-878-2420

Here is the mission of Spaca Napoli:

Spacca Napoli Pizzeria was inspired by the authentic aroma, taste, and craft of pizza found on the streets and in the pizzerias in Naples.

You can listen and download the mp3 recording of this interview, below:

Jonathan uses Antimo Caputo Pizzeria Flour for all of his pizzas.

2014: The Daily Meal 101 Best Pizza in America

Daily Meal 101 Best Pizzas in the USA

Daily Meal 101 Best Pizzas in the USA

 

With permission from our friends at The Daily Meal, we are pleased to present their list of the Best Pizza in america for 2014.

We were so excited about this list, we created a video about it. The list is from #50 to #1.

Watch the video and please comment. The entire list is below:

 

You can see the list here, here at the Daily Meal.

#50 Zuppardi’s, New Haven, Conn. (Special: Mozzarella, Mushroom, Sausage, Marinara)

#51 Santillo’s Brick Oven Pizza, Elizabeth, N.J. (Sicilian: Pepperoni, Mozzarella, Pizza Sauce)

#50 Pizzaiolo, Oakland, Calif. (Margherita)

#49 Franny’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Clam Pizza)

#48 The Cheese Board, Berkeley, Calif. (Changes Daily)

#47 2Amys, Washington, D.C. (2Amys: Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella)

#46 Don Antonio by Starita, Atlanta, Ga. (Montanara Stari ta: Lightly-Fried Dough, Starita Tomato Sauce, Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella)

#45 Antico Pizza Napoletana, Atlanta, Ga. (Pepperoni)

#44 Prince Street Pizza, New York City (Prince Perfection: “Our Signature Square”: Fresh Mozzarella and “Our Secret Sauce”)

#43 Spacca Napoli, Chicago (Diavola: Blended San Marzano Tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala, Spicy Salami, Basil, Calabrian Chili Powder, Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

#42 Nellcôte, Chicago Ill. (Sunnyside-Up Organic Egg: D.O.P. Fontina)

#41 Juliana’s Pizza, Brooklyn N.Y. (Margherita)

#40 Little Vincent’s, Huntington, N.Y. (Cheese)

#39 Pequod’s, Chicago Ill. (Deep Dish with Sausage and Pepperoni)

#38 Best Pizza, Brooklyn, N.Y. (White Pizza)

#37 Star Tavern Pizzeria, Orange, N.J. (Thin Crust)

#36 Colony Pizza, Stamford, Conn. (Sausage Pie)

#35 Pizzeria Delfina, San Francisco (Salsiccia Pizza)

#34 Lombardi’s, New York City (Pepperoni)

#33 Patsy’s, East Harlem, N.Y. (Cheese)

#32 Joe & Pat’s Pizzeria, Staten Island, N.Y. (Vodka)

#31 De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies, Robbinsville, N.J. (Tomato Pie)

#30 Al Forno, Providence, R.I. (Margarita)

#29 Regina Pizzeria, Boston (Melanzane)

#28 Grimaldi’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)

#27 John’s of Bleecker, New York City (Bruschetta)

#26 Louie and Ernie’s, Bronx, N.Y. (Sausage Pie)

#25 Varasano’s, Atlanta, Ga. (Nana: San Marzano Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Herbs and Spices)

#24 Bru Room at Bar, New Haven, Conn. (Mashed Potato and Bacon)

#23 Nick’s Pizza, Forest Hills, Queens, N.Y. (Mushroom and Sausage)

#22 Kesté, New York City (Kesté)

#21 Gjelina, Los Angeles (Lamb Sausage)

#20 Co., New York City (Popeye)

#19 Apizza Scholls, Portland, Ore. (Apizza Amore)

#18 Lucali, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Pepperoni)

#17 New Park Pizza, Howard Beach, Queens, N.Y. (Cheese, “Well-Done”)

#16 Rubirosa Ristorante, New York City (Vodka: Vodka Sauce and Mozzarella)

#15 Santarpio’s, Boston, Mass. (Mozzarella, Sausage, and Garlic)

#14 Motorino, New York City (Brussels Sprouts)

#13 Joe’s, New York City (Cheese)

#12 Modern Apizza, New Haven, Conn. (Italian Bomb)

#11 Una Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco (Margherita)

#10 Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco (Margherita)

#9 Paulie Gee’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Regina)

#8 Totonno’s, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Margherita)

#7 Flour + Water, San Francisco, Calif. Margherita)

#6 Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles Calif. (Squash blossoms, Tomato, Burrata Mozzarella, Tomato Sauce)

#5 Sally’s Apizza, New Haven Conn. (Tomato Pie: Tomato Sauce, No Cheese)

#4 Roberta’s, Brooklyn N.Y. (Margherita)

#3 Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, AZ (Margherita: Tomato Sauce, Fresh Mozzarella, Basil)

#2 Di Fara, Brooklyn, N.Y. (Classic Round Pie: Mozzarella, Parmesan, Plum Tomato Sauce, Basil, Olive Oil, Sausage, Peppers, Mushroom, Onion)

#1 Frank Pepe, New Haven, Conn. (White Clam: Clams, Grated Parmesan, Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano)

 

Pepe's Clam Pie

Pepe’s Clam Pie

 

The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book

 

 

The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book

The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book

Product Review

Albert Grande Of Pizzatherapy.com Shows You To Make Pizza

Claim your copy below:

The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book: Unlock the Secret of Making Pizza

Tony Gemignani at Google on the Pizza Bible

Tony Gemignani at Google

Tony Gemignani at Google

This is an wonderful talk given by Tony Gemignani at Google on the The Pizza Bible: The World’s Favorite Pizza Styles, from Neapolitan, Deep-Dish, Wood-Fired, Sicilian, Calzones and Focaccia to New York, New Haven, Detroit, and more

According to Google:

A comprehensive guide to making pizza, covering nine different regional styles–including standards like Neapolitan, Roman, and Chicago, as well as renowned pizza sub-specialties like St. Louis and Californian–from chef, 11-time world Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani.

Everyone loves pizza! From fluffy Sicilian pan pizza to classic Neapolitan margherita with authentic charred edges, and from Chicago deep-dish to cracker-thin, the pizza spectrum is wide and wonderful, with something to suit every mood and occasion. And with so many fabulous types of pie, why commit to just one style? The Pizza Bible is a complete master class in making delicious, perfect, pizzeria-style pizza at home, with more than seventy-five recipes covering every style you know and love, as well as those you’ve yet to fall in love with. Pizzaiolo and eleven-time world pizza champion Tony Gemignani shares all his insider secrets for making amazing pizza inhome kitchens. With The Pizza Bible, you’ll learn the ins and outs of starters, making dough, assembly, toppings, and baking, how to rig your home oven to make pizza like the pros, and all the tips and tricks that elevate home pizza-making into a craft.
Category
Science & Technology

“I got to travel around the world and make pizzas…: Tony G.

Here is a memorable account of Tony’s recent visit to Google. Simply outstanding!

 

Check out The Pizza bible, here.

The following interview with Liz Barrett, author of Pizza, A Slice of American History is revealing and timely. She explains how she was able to research her book and how she was able to find some of the incredible information contained in her new treatise on pizza. Liz also shares some great advice for anyone who wants to write their own book. Thanks, Liz for taking the time to speak with me.

Liz Barrett author of Pizza, A Slice of American History

Liz Barrett author of Pizza, A Slice of American History

How did you start researching the book?

Even though I’ve been writing about the pizza industry for seven years with PMQ Pizza Magazine, I was surprised at how much research went into writing Pizza: A Slice of American History. With PMQ, I mostly write about what’s happening now, along with some predictions for the future; for this book, it’s all about pizza’s history here in America, so I turned to all of my favorite pizza books, called up some pizza folks I know, and started scouring the Net for pizza information to help fill in blanks.

What was the reason you wanted to write the book?

I wanted to bring something different to the pizza book offerings that are currently available. My publisher and I had a long discussion before I started about the various topics I could discuss in the book that would make the book more unique. Because I came at it from the standpoint of a seasoned pizza journalist, I’m able to share lots of fun nuggets of information that readers can’t necessarily find in other books. I break down the history of each of the major pizza styles and then include a variety of additional snippets of information all throughout the book, like where to find the slices outside of the normal zone, how to make them at home, pizza trivia, and more.

9780760345603 A Slice of American History Review

What were a couple of the out of this world pizzas that you sampled?

I didn’t necessarily sample pizzas for the book. I’ve been “sampling” hundreds of pizzas since 2007, both for PMQ and for my own personal enjoyment.

Do you make your own pizza?

Every once in a while my husband and I will make pizza, and it’s good, but it’s not something we do on a regular basis. I really prefer to support the pizza makers and enjoy the pizzeria experience.

Any pizza tips for the home pizza maker?

Page 49 of the book has a whole list of tips for the home pizza maker. My favorite is: If you’re using a pizza stone to cook your pizza, put the stone in the oven during the pre-heat phase; when you put your pizza on the hot stone, it will mimic a deck oven.

What was the most fun you had researching the book?

When it comes to research, I’m kind of a nerd. I actually had the most fun with the research itself—looking back through old records to find when an ingredient was mentioned, and checking patent dates to see when certain ovens were invented, etc. When I’m on a hot lead, I’ll stay up until 3 a.m. trying to find the answer.

How did you choose the mini interviews that were included in the book?

2-pizzas-from-pizza

The people I chose to interview are just a few of the people I’ve respected over the years for being innovative, entrepreneurial, industrious, or just being a great example of the term “pizza lover”. There’s never room for everyone you want to include, but I wanted to give readers a taste of some of the people that help to make the industry what it is today.

What was the big takeaway from writing your book? Did you come to any conclusions?

That’s a great question. I think what stood out to me the most was that the same ingredients and equipment that were being used decades ago in some of these regions are still being used today. Pizza makers are very dedicated to their craft and honoring its traditions. The same ovens are being used in New Haven, Connecticut; the same square steel pans are being used in Detroit; and the same Provel cheese is topping pizzas in St. Louis. With pizza, you don’t have to be overtly innovative to please people. Give them what they remember, what gives them that warm, fuzzy, comfortable feeling inside, and they’ll love you forever.

Chicago Deep Dish from Pizza

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to write a book like yours?

Clear your schedule. If you can write, you can write a book. But, you need to have the time for the research, phone calls, follow-ups, late nights, re-writes, deadlines, etc. I put all of my freelance writing on hold when I wrote this book because I knew there was no way I could do both at the same time. You have to focus on the book until it’s done, or you will never meet your deadline on time.

What’s next? Do you have any other books planned?

I recently spoke with someone who wanted to co-author a book with me in the business/marketing field, since I cover that topic a lot for PMQ and my blog, The Pizza Insider. For now, though, I’m focusing my efforts on getting the word out about Pizza, A Slice of American History and making sure that it ends up on the coffee table of every house and the counter of every pizzeria!

Order, your own copy right here: Pizza, A Slice of American History.

Pizza, A Slice of American History Review

One day in the near future The Complete Encyclopedia of Pizza will be published. This distinguished work will contain at least 150 volumes and will explain in detail the impact pizza has had in America and the known universe.

There will be a volume on every type of pizza, including New Haven, New York, Chicago, California, Old Forge, Detroit and much more. Some volumes will be dedicated to those influential pizzaioli such as Frank Pepe, Salvatore Consiglio, Jonathan Goldsmith, John Arena, Peter Reinhart, Ike Sewell, Dom Demarco and Ed Ladue to mention but a few.

Until the Encyclopedia of Pizza is completed, you will be more than satisfied to discover Liz Barrett’s: Pizza, A Slice of American History. This volume covers numerous types of pizza in America, those persons who influenced the regional pizza and how the various styles developed.

As a student of pizza, I was somewhat skeptical how one book could explain the history of pizza in America and the various styles included. My fears were immediately laid to rest when I started reading the introduction by pizza activist, Scott Wiener.

Barrett discusses Neapolitan and New York style pizza. She opens with the history of pizza and the differences between AVPN, New York, Tomato Pie and New Haven Apizza (Ah-beets). Sprinkled throughout the book are sketches of pizza luminaries such as Penny Pollack (Everybody Loves Pizza), Mark Bello (Pizza A Casa), Roberto Caporuscio (Don Antonio by Starita), Peter Reinhart (American Pie) and Adam Kuban (Slice).

Each type of American pie is described and dissected. She covers Detroit, St. Louis, California, Sicilian and Grandma style pizzas. Barrett’s pizza knowledge is extensive and she has a unique gift to distill the information into delectable slices. As an added benefit recipes for most styles are included. This makes this a true hands on volume as the recipes can be replicated by the home pizza chef. You can learn not only the history of each type of pie but also how to make it with step by step instructions.

She even added to the knowledge base of pizza by describing Pizza Strips created by Rhode Island Italian bakeries and found throughout the “Ocean State”. These were slices of pizza I enjoyed growing up and have only found them in that region. The pictures included are a wonderful addition and fit in nicely with the character of the book. The images are impressive and create a brilliant visual history of pizza. You will discover some rarities which are true nuggets of the pizza saga.

For anyone who loves pizza, this book will fit nicely on your library shelf. Some of the topics are brushed over, but understanding the depth of the subject matter, that is not an issue. I would have liked to have seen a discussion on the strong influence of the Internet on Pizza, but maybe that can be included in a volume of the Complete Encyclopedia of Pizza.

This is a well written book for anyone who ever held a slice. Grab your own copy, and discover the wonders of “a magical little disk that makes things happen”. You will encounter with this book how pizza is very much a part of the fabric of America. Pizza, is A Slice of American History.

Claim your own copy, right here: Pizza, A Slice of American History

In Search of A Pizza Dream Part 3

Anthony Saporito had a dream to own a pizzeria…In this the final episode, we conclude our interview with him. Listen and learn about a Legend of Pizza in progress!

Albert: What kind of Pizza do you make? What is you favorite to make.

Anthony: At my new place, “Urban Fire” we will being making Authentic Neapolitan style, using “00” flour, salt, water and yeast, That’s it. We just purchased a beautiful Stefano Ferrara, wood burning oven from Naples, and really want to do things the Authentic way. I’m all about tradition, and nostalgia. but I also experimenting with new ideas as well.

Just recently, I had the honor to be invited over my cousin’s house and cook with his 88 year old Mother in Law. Her name is Mrs. Kay Cammareri, and she is the Matriarch of “Cammareri Brothers Bakery” in Brooklyn. Her bakery was a focal point in the hit Movie, ‘Moonstruck’, and even Nicholas Cage’s Character took her last name. She still lives above where the old Bakery was located in the movie. She showed me how to make, “Sfincione”, a Sicilian pie made in a rectangular tray, topped off with tomato paste, onions, anchovies and Bread crumbs. The pie was phenomenal, The onions and the paste make for a very Sweet sauce. The experience I had while making it was even better. As Mrs. Cammareri was instructing me, she told different stories about different people, and places, different occasions to whom she served the dish to over the last 60 years. That makes the dish even more special. So I guess my favorite pizza to make is any one that has a great story behind it.

Paulie Gee and Anthony Saporito

Paulie Gee and Anthony Saporito

Albert: Tell me about your new Pizzeria

Anthony: The name of my place is Called “Urban Fire”. We are located in Madison, New Jersey. Its a great little town filled with friendly people who love good food. We will be serving traditional Neapolitan pizza and Italian Street eats. Our Pizza is going to be done in a Fast Casual/ Create your own, model. You will be able to choose your base of, Margherita, Marinara, Bianco, or Pesto and then go down the line and choose what you want. If you don’t want to create your own, you can choose from our list of Specialty pies. I like giving people the chance to interact in what they want. It creates for a lively, different experience. It’s a great way to also get to know your customers. I’ve already said, If someone comes in and orders the same pie a bunch a times, we will definitely feature it on the menu board. So I plan to have a lot of “Joe” or “Mary” Specials.

I know that few other people are doing “create your own”, out west, but from what I understand, we will be the only ones doing it with a 100% wood fired oven. Even though the assembly line method is a bit unorthodox, I still wanted to keep the artisan tradition of cooking the pie intact, which is why we got a Stefano Ferrara oven. Hopefully I’m not crazy in trying this out, but Think it’ll be fine.

We also will serving a variety of “Street Eats”. In Italy, you can eat some really great food without ever stepping foot in a restaurant. I loved the idea of replicating what street Vendors have been doing for Decades. We will have sandwiches that represent different street foods from different cities, such as a “Porchetta” (Rome), Panelle,(Palermo Sicily) and Lampredotto (Florence–ours will be made of beef and not cow stomach-haha). We will also have sides such as Arancini, (rice balls) Prociutto balls, and Zeppole. And of course, in Naples, Pizza is the original Street Food.

Albert: What would you tell someone who wanted to get into the pizza business?
What advice would you give them?

Anthony: I’d say “Do NOT get discouraged”. When you first start out, its almost like learning a different language, and can be a bit overwhelming. I’ve noticed that 99% of Pizza makers are friendly, and want to help each other out. It also seems like everybody knows each other. It’s really cool. So ask questions, and don’t get discouraged. Of course you will run into the Naysayers and extremists; The guys with egos as big as a house, who think that they are curing diseases, and keep everything a secret. Don’t bother with them. There are plenty of people out there who want to help. And if you can’t find anyone, call me.
Once you get your basics down, start experimenting. Have Pizza Parties where you cook for everyone. It’s fun and gratifying. You’ll see that after a while, you will adopt your own style. Special ways you like doing things which are 100% yours. If you are into it, everything else will fall into place. You’ll start picking up things you weren’t even looking for. Like I said earlier, it’s not rocket science. It’s supposed to be fun and creative. And if anyone tells you, “That’s not the right way to do this” , or, “That is wrong”, ask them to see the book where the rules of Pizza are written.
When I first said I wanted to start my own place, everyone had their own opinion. People will tell you “How will you pay the bills?” , “It’s a lot of work”, “It’s very hard”, or my favorite, “There’s so many places for Pizza”. All of a sudden, everybody is an expert of a sudden. Paulie Gee gave me the best rebuttal for these naysayers. “Tell’ em thanks”, he said, “And then ask them how many Pizza places they own”
If you’re considering getting into the Pizza business, think about why it is that you love Pizza. What about it moves you? I guarantee its because it evokes happy feelings, and in turn you want to share those feelings with others. What is better than that? While its true, I haven’t sold a Pizza on my own just yet but I know that I will do everything in my power to make sure I succeed. I love the quote from Henry Ford that says; “Whether you think you can, or can not do something, you’re right.” This goes for anything in life. Even Pizza

Albert: When do you plan to open? What is your address?

Right now I am playing with all my recipes. I’m having a pretty good time with it too. I invite everybody
I see walking outside to come inside and give me their opinion. My store is all built out. Right now I am just going through the hiring Process. So Hopefully I will be able to get open by mid April.
Our address is:
URBAN FIRE
6 Main Street
Madison, NJ 07940

I am also currently getting a Web Site up, but nothing is up yet. However, I make sure to post on our progress on Social Media.
Facebook:
Urban Fire

Instagram:
Urban_Fire

Twitter:
urbanfirepizza

I would like to thank you, Albert. I’ve enjoyed your articles and videos over the years, but I’ve also enjoyed your insight. So Thank you for helping me tell me story, and please stop by the Next time you are in the NY/NJ area.

All the Best,
Anthony Saporito

 

 

In Search of the Pizza Dream Part 2

This is Anthony Saporito, pizza story of how he went from dreaming about opening his own pizzeria to actually doing it. Anthony has opened his new pizza restaurant called,   Urban Fire located in Madison, New Jersey. We will be serving authentic Neapolitan pizza and Italian Street eats, Such as Porchetta sandwiches, zeppoles, Arancini, salads and more.

Albert: What kind of research did you do? Where did you go for your information? Did you get any help?

Anthony:  As I was leaving the Stock Exchange the day I got laid off, I had a smile on, ear to ear. Instead of, “Oh God what do I do now!” My only thought was what Wood fired oven I was going to buy. I took a chunk of my Severance package my company gave me, and bought a Forno Bravo, Primavera oven and Put it in My Parents Back Yard. That summer, all I did was research recipes, and techniques, and make Pizza. My parents had people over all the time, and I tried to make pizza for each and every one of them. At first, Like Many Others, I searched the internet, and found sites like Pizzamaking.com very informative. I got very discouraged at first, because a lot of what I read was explained scientifically. I felt like I was back in grade school (where science was my mortal enemy). I’d read as some of these guys would break down the pizza process molecule by molecule.

Forno Bravo Primavera

Forno Bravo Primavera

Thankfully, soon after, my wife (at that time, my girlfriend) bought me “American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza” by Peter Reinhart. The book really opened my eyes up to a whole new world of how people “thought” about Pizza. Not to mention, it explained the science of the process in a way even I could understand. Almost like a “Pizza for dummies”.

Ha. I was always more into the emotional gratification of Pizza, rather then the science of it Anyway. The book made me realize that Pizza isn’t just a food that tastes good, it’s a special something that invokes a whole slew of emotions for everyone, young and old, rich or poor, man or woman. And its a different feeling for everyone. So I became obsessed with it. From there I adopted the Philosophy that Pizza was not so much about “How” it is made, but the “Who” was making it. I came to really admire the people whose passion came through the pages as I read them, or whose facial expressions practically screamed to me how much they loved to make pizza when I met them. The simple fact is this; If you eat a pizza that is really delicious–chances are there is an extremely passionate person behind it. But like with anything else, you can read or research all you want about a subject, but you can’t get good at it until you actually physically do it. I had to get my hands dirty. Or better yet, full of flour.

Albert: Why Did you go to Pizza school?

Anthony: The same summer I read American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza, my parents took my sister and me to Italy. After reading how much Mr. Reinhart loved the Pizza at Da Michele, in Naples, I insisted we try it out. so we did. The line wasn’t bad at all, surprisingly and I must admit, I was a little apprehensive at the fact that they only had two kinds of pies (marinara and Margherita). That quickly changed. The four of us all took our first bite, and then there was complete silence. We all just looked at each other. Nobody said a word, but the expression of our faces let each of us know that we all felt that this pizza was unlike anything we ever ate. I will fully admit that when you are from New York, you have an arrogance about you when it comes to Pizza. Don Antonio Starita and Albert Grande I “Thought” I knew great Pizza. Humbly, I Knew I was wrong the second I ate that first piece of Da’Michele. It tasted like something your Grandmother made for you. For me that was my “ah Hah” moment. After that, I became obsessed with Authentic Neapolitan Pizza. I’m very fortunate that a couple Neapolitan places were starting to make their mark in the New York area. So, I wrote e-mails to all the owners, telling them how passionate I was about learning how to make Neapolitan pizza, and that I would love to come and apprentice for them. That was when Roberto Caporuscio wrote me back, telling me about the Pizza Class he gives.

Don Antonio Starita and Albert Grande

Don Antonio Starita and Albert Grande

I couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that, to learn from such a master of his craft. The first thing he instructed us to do was “Open your minds”. In other words, to not just think of pizza as how you knew it growing up, but instead to keep an open mind for the simplicity, yet creativity of Neapolitan Pizza.

I learned a great deal, and am very Thankful to Roberto for the opportunity he gave me. to say the least, the course certainly opened my mind. I wanted to go work for him at Keste, but he was too busy starting up “Don Antonio” and didn’t have the time to train a new person at that point. So I decided to keep looking for a place I could not just work at, but where I would also be able to learn more, and sharpen my skills.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

Albert:  I understand you apprenticed with Paulie Gee. How did you approach him? Was he skeptical or very open? Did you tell him for the start about your goal?

Anthony: One day I drove around Brooklyn the area to see if they would hire me. A few places turned me down, or said, “Come back another day”. Looking back on it, I very grateful they did. My last stop of the day brought me to Paulie Gees in Greenpoint. I hadn’t eaten there yet, nor had I met Paulie, but I really enjoyed watching some of the interviews he gave. We sat down at one of his tables in the front, and I think we were two sentences into the conversation when we realized we liked each other. We are both Brooklyn guys, and the conversation flowed as if we were both sitting on somebody’s front stoop in the old neighborhood. I told him my intentions of one day opening up my own place right off the bat. He then shared with me his experiences in getting his own place started and how helpful other Pizza makers like Mark Iacono of “Lucali”, and Chris Bianco of “Pizzeria Bianco” in Phoenix, were to him. “When Chris Bianco helped me out” , he explained, “The only thing he asked of me in return was that someday I pay it forward.” So in hiring me, he wasn’t just getting another worker, he was helping someone out in attaining their dream. He was paying it forward. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am for that. Still to this Day.

At first I worked in the Kitchen doing Prep work, but eventually I got a shift or two a week doing Pizza at night. The first night I worked the Pizza station, Paulie came up to me and reminded me, “You’re officially serving Pizza to the Public”. I really have to say it was an incredible feeling, not to mention, Paulie was just as excited saying it. He knew what I was feeling, and I thought it was a great gesture to bring it to light. While working Pizza, my main goal was to learn how to work the oven. Paulie has a beautiful Stefano Ferrara and I was always in awe of the pizzaioli who could cook 4 or 5 pies at one time, on a busy night. So I was determined to be like them. It wasn’t easy, and I hit a few bumps a long the way and burnt many ‘a pie. I quickly realized that it wasn’t just about how fast you cooked the pies, but more about how well, you cooked them. Making the last pie in the oven look as good as the first. There is no room for error, and you have to concentrate. I would usually come in an hour or two before my shift and practice with old dough to just get my technique down. Once I started getting the hang of it, I was relentless. I would beg the person working the oven that night to just let me cook for “Ten minutes”. After a few months, I got pretty good at it, and it became second nature. I worked at Paulie Gee’s for almost 2 years. My experience was great, and I learned a lot of little ins and outs that I would not have known, had I just picked up and went into the business blind. I am very grateful to Paulie for the opportunity he gave me and we still remain close friends till this day. He refers to himself as my, “Pizza Daddy”. Its an affectionate term, almost like “Godfather”, explaining that he was my Mentor in the Pizza business. haha. I’m very lucky to have him as my “Pizza Daddy” and hopefully, some day I can Pay it forward also, and become a “Pizza Daddy” myself to somebody.

Albert: What are your earliest Memories of Pizza?

Anthony: My earliest Memory of Pizza was the homemade kind my Grandmother made. She had this old, cast Iron frying pan, which was, as she put it, “As old as the hills”. And in a Time before Williams and Sonoma, or Pizza stones, she’d gently coat the bottom of the frying pan with Olive oil and then put the dough in it, cupping the side rims of the pan, and then cook it in the oven. She only used the “plum” of the tomato, no sauce, which she crushed by hand. Sometimes she put cheese, sometimes she didn’t, but it didn’t matter. It was Heaven on Earth. When the pie came out of the oven, she’d take it out and cut it with a scissor. Man was it good. During Lent, being that we ever ate meat on Fridays, she’d take that same pan and fill it up about a quarter of the way with oil, and fry the dough first, then top it off with tomatoes and cheese in the oven, almost like the famous, “Montanara”. Or make a bite size pocket with ricotta cheese in it, like a mini Calzone, or Pizza Fritta. Other’s may refer to it as , “Peasant Food”. But Man, did we eat like kings when she cooked. Other than that, growing up in Brooklyn, Pizza was everywhere.

The pizza place we went to was usually accompanied by an event. For instance, in the summer, we went to the beach at Coney Island almost every weekend, and always stopped off at “Totonnos” to bring a pie or two home. I loved the old man, Jerry who was the son original founder. He was not very pleasant, and wasn’t a fan of kids, and I was as he’d call me, a “Rascal”. At 8 years old, every chance I got, I’d try to do something to make him yell at me, which I got a kick t of. However, as soon as he alluded to chance of , “No Pizza” I quickly shut my mouth and stood in the back, as quiet as a mouse. His pizza was that delicious.

Every Halloween, we always went to go see the parade in Greenwich Village, so before that, we stopped off and had a Pie at “John’s” on Bleeker street. We went about once a month to Staten Island, to visit my Parents close friends, and had the Friday night tradition of going to “Deninos” for Pizza, and then across the street for Italian ices at Ralphs. When I became a teenager, the local hangout became L&B Spumoni Gardens. It was the perfect spot to meet up with your friends, talk to girls, and oh yea, eat pizza. I never really thought of it much until now, but , WOW I’ve eaten a lot of Pizza in my life. Geez. But, the fact that I still love it after all these years, and that I am always looking for new places to try, or new recipes to create, just reminds me why I love it so much. It’s the same for many people. Pizza is just one of those foods you can’t get tired of, and even if you do get tired of it, you can’t help but crave it after some time off.

 

Stay tuned for Part 3… In the meantime, please check out:

How To Open Your Restaurant In 8 Weeks

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In Search of the Pizza Dream Part 1

Here is a letter I recently received:

“Albert, A few years ago I sent you an email, asking you for some advice. I had just gotten laid off from my Job on Wall Street and knew that I didn’t want to go back into the fat race of the financial world. I loved making pizza and knew I wanted to do something with the passion I had for it.

Alberto Grande, Giorgia, and Roberto Caporuscio

Alberto Grande, Giorgia, and Roberto Caporuscio

When we first spoke ,you pretty much told me that I knew what I had to do, deep down. You reminded me that since I lived in New York, there were ample opportunities to sculpt my craft. In other words The knowledge was there for the taking. I just needed to cease it. Not long after we spoke I wrote a letter to two titans of the pizza world. Roberto Caporuscio, of Keste, and Paulie Gee of Paulie Gees.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

Paulie G. and Albert G.

You commented to me you enjoyed reading that letter so much that you put it in one of your newsletters. In the letter I explained my passion, and how serving pizza, and more importantly, bringing others together with good food was in my blood.

The letter went over so well that I was able to learn from both of these masters, first at Roberto’s pizza class and then working at Paulie Gees as a Pizzaiolo for 2 years. The knowledge I gained has been invaluable and I am indebted to both Men for the opportunities they gave me as well as my resume. Now I am starting my own place. It is called ” Urban Fire” located in Madison, NJ.

We will be serving authentic Neapolitan pizza and Italian Street eats, Such as Porchetta sandwiches, zeppoles , Arancini , salads etc. We have a Stefano Ferrara oven from Naples , and our pizza will be severed I a fast/casual style, where the customer gets to go down the line and choose what sauce, cheese and toppings they prefer, to create their own pie. We cook it in our wood burning oven at 800- 1000 degrees and the pie will be ready in 60-90 seconds! I am very excited We should be opened in March, but before then I just waned to reach out to you and say, “thank you” for your help and advice in getting me started.

You helped me get on the path to following my dream and now that dream is finally becoming a reality. Please, if you are ever in the NY/NJ area, please stop by and see me. I’d be honored to host you. Also.

Once again Albert, thank you for everything, for all your help along the way and as always,

Pizza on Earth!

Yours truly,

Anthony Saporito, Owner

Urban Fire,
Madison, NJ

Thanks Anthony. Tell us more about your pizza quest!

I understand you have just undertaken an incredible journey to have a goal
of getting into the pizza business.

Albert: You had a dream, you showed passion and you put effort in and you made
your dream a reality…

 Tell me a bit about you Anthony. What led you to get into the pizza
business?

Anthony: I studied Finance in College. Don’t ask me why. It never really excited me. For the first 10 years after college I worked as a Trader on the Floor of the New York Stock Exchange. At first I loved the fast pace, and interaction with others, but one day we all came in and they told us that the Exchange was abandoning its 200 year old way of doing business, and going computerized. After that, Layoffs started coming every few months. It was a terrible feeling, wondering day to day, when it was going to be your turn. When I first started, my company had 350 employees. When I finally did get laid off, there was 48. I was actually ecstatic when my Boss tapped me on the shoulder to tell me the news -I had already been dreaming of Pizza for the last 2 years prior. Getting laid off was just the kick in the rear I needed to get started.

Albert: Of all the other Jobs, why did you decide to do your own business. Why Pizza?

Anthony:  Entertaining others and cooking for them is in my blood. I grew up in a traditional Italian/American household and my Grandmother’s house on Sunday was like Grand Central station. People came in and out all day. Some stayed for dinner, some ate and ran, some came for coffee. I was always enamored how she was able to feed everyone with such ease and how much Joy she was able to bring to others by doing so. It was contagious. Even when I was in college, and studying Finance, I was still always using the Kitchen in my dorm to cook for everyone. I loved it.

Working in a Job that I had zero drive for really annoyed me. I knew that the next line of business I went into was going to be something I had a Passion for. I didn’t have to think for too long to come up with, what exactly that was, and the answer was Pizza. Pizza is just one of those things that makes everyone happy and excited. You have an age old recipe, and yet you can still be creative. And creating different pizzas with the sole purpose of having others enjoy it, and bringing a smile to their face is what moves me. Much like the feeling I had at my Grandmothers house. I always wanted to do something on my own in the food service industry. This was my chance. I was 30 years old, and decided to do something on my own that I knew I would love. Had I just put my Résumé online and took another desk job, I knew I’d regret it for the rest of my life. I had to take a shot.

Stay tuned for the rest of this incredible interview….

If you are in the pizza business or interested in getting into the Pizza business, I recommend: Growing Pizza: How to Plant the Seeds to a Successful Pizzeria

And also: Profits in the Pie: Effective Marketing Tactics to Seize YOUR Slice of the $38.1 Billion Pizza Pie

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. Even If You Have No Business Experience Or Background. Check Out & Promote Today.

Albert Grande and Jeff Varasano at Pizza Expo

Albert Grande and Jeff Varasano at Pizza Expo

Jeff Varasano, is a master pizza maker as well as a Legendary Pizzaiolo.

His exploits have been reported in a variety of print media, broadcast media and of course the Internet.

As a matter of fact you can read about his exploits in the New York Times article, here: A New York Expatriate’s Magnificent Obsession: Pizza

As stated in the article, Jeff was on a quest to recreate pizza in his home oven as good as he had at Pizzerias in New York. He devised a trick to be able to manipulate his oven to get to extreme temperatures. He had a realization on how to accomplish this. As was reported in the Times:

“That epiphany,” … “allowed Mr. Varasano to finally produce a pizza as good as he would get in New York. He took a photo of that pie and posted an account, with mad-scientist specificity, of his six years of experiments with flours, mixing techniques, yeast cultures, canned tomatoes, cheeses and oven temperatures.

I was able to sit down with Jeff at Pizza Expo in Las Vegas and asked him to explain how he got started with creating pizza and his new direction in pizza.

Jeff was elaborated on his process and gives lots of great tips on how to create spectacular pizza. Of note is the fact that Jeff has now opened an extremely successful pizzeria in the Atlanta area named aptly: Varasano’s Pizzeria.

He was able to take the idea of pizza and perfect it for his own tastes. He researched first hand some of the best pizzerias in the country. He was able to discover the common elements which take pizza from being simply good pizza to great pizza. Jeff does not promote the changing of your oven settings unless you know what you are doing. He gives some very practical tips. And he explains he destroyed numerous ovens in the process, including shattering the glass on the front of a number of ovens.

 

You can listen (or download if you wish,) a complete audio of the interview with Jeff Varasano below:

 

You can experience, Jeff’s vision of pizza, here:

Varasano’s Pizzeria
2171 Peachtree Rd NE,
Atlanta, GA 30309

(404) 352-8216

Jeff’s pizza adventures are now limited to a commercial pizza oven in his own pizzeria. He also states that he has now franchised the entire process making his restaurant concept available to the would be pizzeria owner. The restrictions are very strict and you must adhere to the franchise agreement. you can out more about franchising a Varasano’s Pizzeria, here.

 

 

For more info, search here:

If you are interested in the Pizza Business, we recommended the following resources:

How to Open a Financially Successful Pizza & Sub Restaurant

And this book from our friend Michael Sheppard:

Growing Pizza: How to Plant the Seeds to a Successful Pizzeria

Jonathan Goldsmith is a master pizzaiolo. That is a pizza master. Jonathan is humble explaining he is honored to be part of the guild of Pizza Makers.

Jonathan and Albert

Jonathan and Albert

He does not consider himself a pizza master. Rather he explains, he is still learning the craft. Using the analogy of apprenticing for a master painter, he explains he is only able to clean the brushes. He is not able to pick up a paintbrush…yet.

The truth of the matter is that he makes some of the Best Pizza in Chicago. He takes pride in every pizza he creates. Part of him goes into every pizza. He has the true spirit of pizza inside of him.

Jonathan journeys to Italy 3 or 4 times a year. He is serious about immersing himself into the culture. He lives the Italian culture. He is quite serious about the philosophy and love of pizza.

Jonathan shares the same love and passion of pizza shared by John Arena of Metro Pizza in Las Vegas. They both a diplomats of pizza. Showing their love of pizza through action.

According to Jonathan:

Recently my partner Ginny reminded me that approximately ten years ago the idea for Spacca Napoli was born, or rather, as she describes it, Cupid shot a pizza love arrow.

Jonathan Goldsmith makes a point of pizza!

Jonathan Goldsmith makes a point of pizza!

The following video interview was conducted at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Jonathan was candid and open in explaining his thoughts and ideas about pizza making.

Here is an audio of the interview of Johnathan Goldsmith .

Listen, or download this interview with Jonathan Goldsmith, to your computer:

Spacca Napoli

Spacca Napoli

You can find more about Spacca Napoli, here:

Spacca Napoli
1769 W. Sunnyside Chicago IL 60640
(773) 878-2420

 
Check out amazing stuff by going to: ThinkGeek Books


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Joe Fugere has an unusual story. He knew he wanted to get into the food business, but he did not know which one. “Hmmm” he thought, “what are the most popular foods?”

He reasoned the two most popular dishes in america were burgers and pizza. He did not want to sell hamburgers, so he chose pizza. And pizza lovers everywhere are glad he decided to take that fork in the road.

Coming from an Italian family he always had the passion for Italian food. His Italain grandmother explained to him that to really experience food he needed to immerse himself in the food of her homeland.

Joe did his homework and fortunately for us he chose pizza. He decided to go to Naples and study with the master pizzailo. He learned the craft well and started to make incredible pizza. He chose t learn to make pizza from the Associzione Verace Pizza Napoletana. This group of pizza professionals adhere to very strict rules of pizza preparation and pizza making. Everything must be to exact standards. There is no room for deviation from the very strict rules. Joe learned his craft well.

Associzione Verace Pizza Napoletana

Tutta Bella Logo

Tutta Bella Logo

His pizzeria Tutta Bella has been an incredible success.

Listen to Joe as he expplains the secret to his success.

Here is a review of Tutta Bella from Pizza Therapy:

 

We had an awesome pie in a place we’ve been hearing about, Tutta Bella. It’s right around the corner from Walter’s place, which I’ve got for the summer.Wood fired, the read-out said 759 degrees F. They use double zero “OO” flour.

The crust is light as a feather and quickly attains a fluffy crispness in no time. Hand shaped, of course, and beautifully burned, the dough is mouthwatering when fire roasted and married with fresh juicy spices and toppings. All the toppings we had were fresh and tasty. 

You can listen or download the interview with Joe Fugere of Tutta Bella below:

Discover incredible pizza…

 Tutta Bella
4411 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
(206) 633-3800

 

Don’t forget to search for: Find the Best Daily Deal in Your Neighborhood by Clicking HERE


John Arena gives his take on what makes pizza so special.

Pizza explains John is a collaborative food. He says that professional pizza makers are actually astounded that there so much discussion about pizza.

When you go to a pizzeria you go go with the idea that the pizza maker will make your vision of what is a perfect pizza.

In that sense making pizza is really a collaborative process.

You figure it out with your friends and the  people you are with. You then communicate that with the pizzaiolo and he tries to recreate what you this is the perfect pizza.

John brings out the idea and asks: is pizza really authentic Italian origin?

There is no disagreement that pizza is made with a dough and crust. John says that dough goes back to the ancient Egyptians. He reveals that beer and pizza are related. Beer is a liquid form of pizza dough.

Was it perhaps the Greeks who started making flat bread? The bread came from Egypt and was perfected by Greek bakers.

The tomato, however did come from the new world. Brought by the Spaniards to the Neapolitan area. And of course tomato was at thought to be at first poisonous.  Somehow the tomato made it onto pizza.

The water buffalo was brought over by the Crusaders. They were the ones who added buffalo mozzarella. The spice cam from India: the basil.

John quotes Jonathan Goldsmith who has a poem in his pizzeria, Spacca Napoli. The gist of the poem is that dough, mozzarella, tomatoes and basil do not make the pizza. There is a  missing ingredient in the pizza: the heart of the pizza maker!

Find out more about John at   The Slice of the City.

Antimo Caputo and Albert Grande

Antimo Caputo and Albert Grande

I had the honor of meeting Antimo Caputo at the International Pizza Expo, in Las Vegas.
As soon as we started to talk I knew I had to interview him. The company brought a number of master pizzailo from Italy. For the 3 days of the Pizza Expo, these master pizza makers made pizza after pizza. Each pizza was lovingly crafted by hand and made with Caputo Flour. This comapny was so serious about making amazing pizza they brought over a special Caputo oven.

His family has been in the flour business for several generations. Antimo explained that his pizza is known all over the world due to the fact they are specialists. Caputpo is used by the best pizzerias in the world due to the quality of the flour. He stated that Caputo only uses the best Italian and European wheat. This gives a very good taste to the pizza. Pizza can be very simple but with great ingredients and great flour, you get great pizza.

Antimo contends “the secret is in the philosophy, the secret is in the simplicity.” That is the real secret to incredible pizza flour.

Antimo was adamant that the wheat used and the grinding method is what made Caputo so special. There is a slow grinding process that does not damage the protein in the wheat. The best whaet possible is what continues to make the flour so special.”

You can purchase Antimo Caputo Pizzeria Flour, 55 Pound, by clicking on the link.

 

You can listen to this interview (or download it if you wish) click below:

Antimo Caputo Interview by Legends of Pizza

 

Discover Antimo Caputo “00” Chefs Flour 1 Kilo (2.2lb) Bags Pack of 4

For more reviews of Caputo Flour Click HERE, Pizza Therapy Reviews Caputo Flour.

John Arena of Metro Pizza, Las Vegas, Interview

John Arena  is both a student and a teacher of pizza.

John Arena contacted me several years ago explaining he had developed the first course about pizza to be offered at a major university.

Albert Grande and John Arena at the Pizza Expo.

Albert Grande and John Arena at the Pizza Expo.

The class is entitled: The Culture of Pizza.   

Here is the course description:

Course Description: A survey course on the history, culture and developing trends in the creation and production of pizza. The course includes, lectures, readings, ingredient analysis, production demonstrations and hands-on work with regard to the art and science of pizza-making.

Week 1: History of Pizza

A discussion of the evolution of pizza and related flatbreads from the ancient Greeks to the kitchens of celebrity chefs. We will discuss how historical events and migration have shaped pizza, where we started, where we are now, and where we may be headed. Class will be divided into three teams for final project.

Week 2: Napoli

Napoli is the birthplace of pizza as we know it. Discussion and hands-on demonstration of pizza as it is prepared in Naples. We will examine the approved standards of the VPN Italy’s governing body of pizza.

Week 3: Pizza Comes to the New World

An examination of pizza as it was prepared in New York’s Little Italy in the early 1900’s and how and why it has changed over time. Demonstration and practice of proper hand-crafting techniques.

Week 4: Dough Production

It all starts here. Basics of crust formulation. We will examine selection of ingredients, proper mixing and fermentation, and variations that will change flavor profiles and texture.

Week 5: Basics of Sauce, Cheese and Spices

We will sample and compare ingredients and learn to prepare a base pizza sauce. This class will also examine regional preferences and variations of the basic ingredients.

Week 6: In the Thick of It

Chicago Style Deep Dish, Foccacia, Stuffed Pizza and Calzones. We will examine the origins and elements of these pizza variations including hands-on practice of basic techniques.

Week 7: Pizza in the 21st Century

An examination of multi-cultural influences and current trends in the pizza world including sample and discussion of pizzas with nontraditional toppings.

Week 8: Presentation of Final Projects

Each team will have 15 minutes to prepare the team’s Pizza Creation including a spoken explanation of the inspiration and rationale behind its development. Final written examination.

The mandatory text book used was: Everybody Loves Pizza: The Deep Dish on America’s Favorite Food

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I was honored to be able to interview John. He is not only a master pizzaiolo, but also a wonderful person.

In the following interview john discusses:

  • How he learned the pizza business
  • His philosophy of creating a pizza community
  • Why he pays his customers $25 gift certificates to visit other pizzerias
  • His take on the kinds of regional pizzerias in the United States
  • Why he takes his entire staff to visit Chris Bianco’s Pizzeria every year
  • He offers incredible insight on Chris Bianco
  • He gives great tips for the home pizza maker
  • What is the one pizza tool you should “throw away” if you are making pizza
  • How he created a College Class called The Culture of Pizza

This was a fascinating interview. You will discover tons of use information.

This interview is full of incredible pizza facts and insight, about John, his pizza philosophy, his relationship with his cousin, Sam, and more. 

You will be astounded with the amount of knowledge that John shares in this incredible interview. John Arena is a true Legend of Pizza.

You can listen and / or download this interview below: 

 

The Best Pizza in New Jersey Interview

 

Undici from Legendsofpizza.com

The following interview is with Victor of Undici Taverna Rustica in New Jersey.

Victor claims to make the best pizza in New Jersey.

After listening to some of Victor’s responses, you will understand this is no idle claim.

Undici Taverna Rustica, has no equal in New Jersey or anywhere else. Their pizza is in a word: simply outstanding.

Honestly I was amazed at some of the information shared in this interview. Victor talks about his early influences of pizza, how he got into the business, his collaboration with Anthony Mangieri and more.
Albert:  Victor, thanks for taking the time to speak with me.
Do you have a memory of your first pizza? Please  describe it.

Victor: I made my first pizza as a child I was 3 or 4 years old at my father’s pizza parlor Rallo’s Pizzeria in Newark, New Jersey. They tell me it was pretty good maybe I had a knack early on.

Albert: Where did you grow up? How was the pizza?

Victor: I grew up as a child in Newark and then in My school days in Franklin Lakes New Jersey. The pizza was standard pizza parlor pizza. I ate the pizza but it never really impressed my as something delicious or gourmet.

Albert: How did you get interested in making pizza?

Victor: My dad was in the restaurant business his entire life so I was always around Italian food and pizza. My dad made a great pie in a conventional Bakers Pride oven. But he always used great ingredients his pizza’s were better than anyone else at the time.

Albert: Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana, is a legendary pizzaiolo. And I
believe he is from New Jersey. He is from what I understand, actually quite a purist when it comes to pizza.
You mention him as endorsing your pizza. Any endorsement from him holds a lot of weight in the World of Pizza.

How did you meet him?

Victor: I met Anthony riding bicycles; he and I share a passion for cycling. He rides more mountain bike then I do, I ride and race more on the road. But we used to ride together often. So we met on our bikes.

Albert: What is your relationship to Anthony?

Victor: He is a good fiend and my pizza mentor I believe he is the best pizza maker in America!

We made pizzas together at Undici my restaurant in Rumson New Jersey, for almost three months. We made so many pizzas together. He is a purest and that’s what I love about him.

Albert: Can you  give us an Anthony Mangieri anecdote or pizza story?

Victor: Sure as we were making pizzas I asked Anthony if the staff could eat them and he said no not until the pizzas are perfect.  About a week later we they tasted the pizza, a purest with a passion that is lost in most American kitchens.

Albert: How did you learn to make pizza? Did you struggle with anything in learning how to make great pizza?

Victor: I always knew how to make good dough, I learned that from my father but getting it all right at very high temperatures is very difficult. This is what sets the great pizzaiolas apart. They understand the balance of heat, texture of the dough, the cheese it’s a true art. So it took me quite a while to get the wood burning oven down, every day is a challenge.

Albert: I understand you make Neapolitan pizza. And your pizzeria is in New Jersey. New Jersey is famous for their tomato pies.

How is your style of pizza different or similar to the Tomato Pie?

Victor: This is a great pizza, classic Napoletana pizza, san Marzano tomato, Bufala Mozzarella, Caputo “oo” flour, fresh basil and really good extra virgin olive oil. Plus we use a three day dough so the dough has great character and life.

Albert: What makes your pizza the “best in New Jersey”?

Victor: Passion, precision and purity.  I have a deep passion for Italian history and culture, so I try every day to put on the table the closest possible thing top Pizza Vera Napoletana. If you taste my pizza and you have been to Naples you will taste, see and smell Naples in every bite. Very few people in New Jersey are doing this the authentic way.

Albert: What kind of oven do you have and why do you use it?

Victor: We use a Woodstone oven that burns only wood.

Albert: What kind of flour do you use?

Victor: Always Caputo it is the best.

Albert: Do you think water makes any difference when making pizza?

Victor: Absolutely only a master like Anthony could figure it out in California, because the water is not great there. In New Jersey the water has a perfect balance of minerrality to make great pizza. Yes it makes a difference.

Albert: Can you give the home pizza maker some pizza tips?

Victor: First buy a pizza stone, get your oven as hot as you can , use the ingredients I have described above and you can make a darn good pizza at home

Albert: Can you share a pizza recipe with us?

Victor: One of my favorites is making a traditional pizza Napoletana and when it comes out of the oven tossing some fresh garden arugula in olive oil and laying it on top of the pizza and then slicing some Prosciutto di Parma and laying a beautiful thin piece on each slice. BRAVO!!!!!

Albert: Do you make your dough the day before? Do you ferment your dough?

Victor: We start our dough with a mother on day one, some people call it a starter. On day two we add the remaining ingredients into the mother and mix the dough. We then let the dough set for 15- 30 minutes depending on the temperature of the kitchen. After it settles we ball the day and refrigerate it for use the third day. So the long and short answer is yes we ferment the dough.

Albert: Tell us a bit about your restaurant,  Undici Taverna Rustica? Do you have
a specialty house pizza?

Victor: The restaurant was built to recreate a Tuscan farmhouse, my partners the Diaco family had a major influence on the design it is absolutely a beautiful recreation. Besides pizza we make all of our own pasta homemade including ravioli and gnocchi.

Albert: How do you stay in touch with your customers?

Victor: We have a great staff that touches every customer that walks in our door. And we also monitor and use the internet and social media to touch our customers.

Tell us your website address: www.undicirestaurant.com
I love your video. You tell the whole  Undici Taverna Rustica pizza story.

Victor: I think my videos tell the whole story search Da Michele in Naples the best pizza place in the world I shot a great video from there.

Albert: Have your videos been a successful way to market  Undici Taverna Rustica?

Victor: Absolutely we have thousands of hits and views on our videos.

Albert: What is in the future for  Undici Taverna Rustica?

Victor: Undici will continue to serve the freshest seasonal interpretations of Italian cuisine in New Jersey and continue to make perfect Pizza Vera Napoletana for many years to come.

Albert: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. Pizza on Earth, to you.

And Pizza All Over:

Undici Taverna Rustica

11  West River Road
Rumson , NJ 07760

732-842-3880

www.undicirestaurant.com

Victor from Undici

And for more great New Jersey Pizza:

Discover The Best Pizza in New Jersey at Pizza Therapy

Anthony Mangieri, Legend of Pizza

Anthony Mangieri is truly one of the Legends of Pizza.

He has true passion and puts part of himself in each pizza he creates.

Peter Reinhart first told me about Anthony:

He’s dedicated to the craft of pizza making. He makes so much pizza and so many dough balls a day. When they run out, he closes. That’s it. This is what I do. He doesn’t sell anything except pizza there and you can’t even buy…I don’t think he even sells bottled water there. He says: It’s just pizza because this is what I do.

Chris Bianco says of Anthony;

Now, with this great fervor of…you know, like for instance, I think Anthony at Una Pizza Napoletana does a great job.  He is someone who is incredibly dedicated and I respect immensely.

I think he is someone that is doing something that is really important in our industry as far as a pizzaiolo.  He’s in New York at Una Pizza Napoletana and he is doing something that is really important as far as really understanding technique and old method and kind of time honored Neapolitan recipes.

Peter Reinhart and Chris Binanco in Legends of Pizza, Volume 1

From:”Il Fatto Quotidiano”, daily italian paper:

 Stands out as one of the best pizza makers in the world, Anthony Mangieri at Una Pizza Napoletana, doing an extraordinary job with mostly local products: just open Wednesday through Saturday, no reservations, just five kinds of pizza and five different italian wines on the menu.

You can watch this incredible movie of Antony here. Lisen to his unique pizza pholosophy. He has a sense of humor but he takes his pizza very seriously. For Anthony, pizza is his life.


Anthony has moved his operation to San Fancisco:

Una Pizza Napoletana
210 11th St + Howard St   San Francisco, CA 94103

HOURS OF OPERATION
Wednesday Thru Saturday 5pm until out of dough

Website: Una Pizza Napoletana

Facebook: Una pizza

Thank you Anthony for all that you do. Pizza Therapy salutes you. And wishes you the absolute best!

You can watch another film about Anthony called Naturally Risen, here.

Anthony only uses Caputo ” 00″ Pizzeria Flour 25kg (55lb) Bag

 
You may not need a 55 pound bag of flour: Antimo Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour (Blue) 12 Lb Repack

 

Bleecker Street Pizza in New York City

Bleecker Street Pizza, Heaven on Earth!

Bleecker Street Pizza

Here is a great pizza story.

An ex-cop opens a pizzeria that starts to get lots of buzz. He learns his craft well.

He uses fresh Parmigiano Reggiano – 1 Pound
in his sauce (OK, gravy). This is the secret to making his incredible base for his pizza. Located just 1 1/2 miles from Times Square this pizzeria is one to watch.

Doug Greenwood, explains the 28-month-aged Parmigiano Reggiano is the real secret. And a wheel of 28-month-aged Parmigiano Reggiano can cost about $1,000 bucks. Doug says that in order to have the name  Parmigiano Reggiano , it needs to be certified.

They serve several different types of pizza. Each one is unique, and each one is very, very good.

Having a slice of pizza here is like heaven on earth!

Bleecker Street Pizza
69 7th Avenue South
New York, N.Y.
(212) 924-4466

Next time you are in the City, you need to check them out. You can be sure I’ll be heading over there soon.

Get your own fresh Parmesan, here: Parmigiano Reggiano – 1 Pound

 

Or go for:

.

28-month-aged Parmigiano Reggiano

 

To discover the Best Pizza in New York, go to Pizza Therapy

pizza on earth,

Albert Grande

The Pizza Promoter

 

 

A UK Pizza Guide

Pizza is loved the world over. But is pizza exceptional the world over? It depends on where you look. These days, it is essentially a universal topic. There are mediocre pizzerias everywhere and there are outstanding pizzerias everywhere. So anywhere you go, you can find a pizza shop to suit your tastes. England, for instance, has several exceptional shops in various cities. To name a few, Brighton has Pizzaiola, Cambridge has Cherrybox Pizza, Trowbridge has Pasquales, London has Franco Manca and Bournemouth has Vesuvio.

Most of these have some very original and perhaps what some may call, odd
combinations. Pizzaiola`s menu is a good example of this. Their “Al Tonna” pizza includes tomato sauce, oregano, mozzarella cheese, olives, garlic and tuna. Their “Marinara” is identical to the “All Tonna” but with the addition of prawns and nchovies. However, they also implement more familiar topping combinations such as the Hawaiian with ham, mozzarella, pineapple and tomato sauce and the Pepperoni, or “Meat Feast”.

Cherrybox Pizza has a few more familiar options, although they also have equally less mainstream menu items as well. One that is particularly unique is the “Peking Duck”, topped with shredded cucumber, mozzarella cheese, shredded duck and Chinese hoi sin sauce. Another unique item is the “Moroccan”, made with a hummus base and topped with shredded lamb seasoned with cumin, raisins, mint yogurt sauce, red onions and mozzarella cheese.

While Pasquales is specially known for its excellent garlic bread, Franco Manca is known for its sourdough crust pizzas. Their menus are seasonal and their summer options and pie names, are simpler. Their most distinctive pies include the “Number 3”, with buffalo ricotta cheese, courgettes and basil with their organic specialty “Franco and Lloyd Somerset Pecorino” and the “Number 4” with buffalo ricotta cheese, home cured Gloucester Old Spot ham and wild mushrooms.

Vesuvio distinguishes its daytime menu from its nighttime menu, with a larger variety of pizzas on the nighttime menu. Unlike the others, they serve a full menu with pasta and side dishes. They share Pizzaiola`s Marinara pie, along with a couple of others that overlap with other distinguished pizzerias. However, they offer a unique “Pizza Vulcano” with mozzarella cheese, tomato, spicy Italian sausage, olives and the option of either dried or fresh chili. The “Pizza Parma” is also unique, featuring prosciutto, wild rocket, shaved Parmesan, cherry tomatoes, olives and fresh basil. There is also the “Pizza Paesana” with tomato, onion, mushrooms and
egg.

As you can see, specialty pizzerias are not limited to Italy. You do not have to go far in the UK for unique or “standardized” delicious pizza.

Those looking to enter the pizza industry can even gather inspiration from these pizzerias, simply by viewing these recipes online, though tasting them is a finer experience. You can even search for catering equipment companies online.

Whether you are just a pizza enthusiast or looking to enter the business, finding delicious pizza can be a quick click away.

On Spiritual Pizza Making

In my car, I have a battered copy of The Magic Of Believing
by Claude Bristol I have read this book many times and I always seem to get something new out of it. If I know I need to wait in a line, such as at a bank or food shopping, I will take the book along to read. This seems to make the line move faster.

Simply put, The Magic of Believing states, the energy of the subconscious mind can help individuals achieve any goal. If you believe it, it will happen. This book contains countless examples of the hidden power of the subconscious mind and how it can influence our lives.

Bristol speaks about two people cooking an item using the same ingredients, and the same recipe. One item turns out to be a failure while the other is a successful culinary achievement.

The successful cook, saw the finished product in their mind’s eye. This successful cook, baked their heart and soul in to the finished dish. They created a spiritual link with the food.

Making pizza, is no different. You must put your spirit into each pizza you create. The great pizzaiolos such as Gennaro Lombardi (Lombardi’s), Frank Pepe (Pepe’s) and Salvatore Consiglio (Sally’s Apizza), knew this, and made pizza for the body as well as the soul. They were masters of Spiritual Pizza.

Spiritual pizza is made when you connect with your pizza on a higher level. You put a part of yourself into each pizza.

Make all of your pizza, Spiritual Pizza. Your pizza will taste better. Your pizza will be better.

Robert writes:

In your article on spiritual pizza making you say:” Spiritual pizza is made when you connect with your
pizza on a higher level. You put a part of yourself into each pizza.
Make all of your pizza, Spiritual Pizza. Your pizza will taste better. Your pizza will be better.”

That really hit home with me, you wouldn’t believe what I put into my pizza making and it really shows in
the pizza. If I’m making a pizza for company and really want it to be its best I will turn on the oven
light and keep looking in at it to make sure it is just right, my wife laughs at me but the pizza is
always great.

I’ve spent years now trying to perfect the crust, after all it’s the crust that makes the pizza, everything else
is just toppings, right?. A couple of very important things I have learned along the way.

If you are going to experiment away from a recipe,
WRITE DOWN THE CHANGES YOU MAKE! Otherwise who can
remember what they did the next time.

I’ve found that “Hotel and Restaurant” flour seems to provide the most “Pizzeria” taste and consistency I
believe it is the extra Gluten.

More yeast and sugar (or honey) in the mix than is
usually called for seems to work well for me as far as a nice light dough that tastes great.

Let the pizza rise! at least once but even better twice and at least an hour each time, then roll it out
at least half an hour before you put a topping on it of any sort and cover it with plastic wrap so it can
rise a bit before you squash it with toppings.
5. And finally, make sure you preheat the oven and get it as hot as you can for the amount of toppings you
have on it. More toppings, less temperature so it can have a chance to cook all the way through, raw dough
is nasty. the reason for the hot oven is that the dough does an initial rise just after it
is exposed to the heat and that makes for a much better crust I think than you get with lower temps.

Yipes, and I don’t even do this for a living! but if you look in my pantry and fridge and freezer you would swear I did.

Anyway yep, pizza is a spiritual experience for me and everyone that tastes it begs me to open a pizza
parlor.

Pizza on Earth and Good Will to All!
Robert Cotterill

My Response:

Thanks so very much for sharing your great advice, Robert.

I received many wonderful comments about Spiritual Pizza. I feel to do anything worthwhile, we must put our heart and soul into it. We will then connect with a higher spiritual power.

We must realize there is a greater power that we can connect with. Thanks everyone for your wonderful positive energy.

You should check out The Magic Of Believing
This is an incredible life changing book.

Maruca’s Tomato Pies: Amazing Pizza in New Jersey

Maruca's Tomato Pies from Legends of Pizza

Maruca's a legendary pizza on the New Jersey Shore

When you stumble upon your first Tomato Pie it’s like getting that first ripe Jersey tomato of the season! So elusive for the first few months of the growing season and then WHAM! You pick one and it’s THE ONE!

Same goes for Maruca’s Tomato Pies, or pizza, if that’s the only vernacular you use to describe this type of delicous food.

It’s a genre in pizza all it’s own, and rightfully so. You’ve heard of ‘Tomato Pie’, maybe, maybe not; certainly if you live in NJ you have.

On the other hand the Tomato Pie purveyours are a cult unto themselves as great as the Neopolitan Brick Oven cult’s are to it’s fans. Tucked away in places in the State like Trenton, Belmar, and Seaside Heights amongst others.

The fact that the places that are exclusively places that sell only Tomato Pies are few and far between is part of the allure of hunting one down. Worth seeking out is an understatement, once you’ve aquired a taste for great Tomato Pie there is only your conscience from keeping you from getting in a car and heading to one every chance you can
sneek away to one.

It’s the ‘Fight Club’ of pizzeria’s to me, elusive, but available for anyone who knows where the places are.

One thing you’ll immediately notice amongst most of the Tomato Pie shop Pizzaiolas is that they are pie purists (for the most part). They respect the ingredients as much as any other Pizzaiola worth their dough. The crust is hand formed then adorned with cheese in copious amounts, sauced with perfectly seasoned tomato sauce and slid into their oven for the bake.

When the Tomato Pie is extracted from the oven the magic begins to grasp your attention because it smells like the best pizza you’ll ever eat (it may ver,well be!). Something about the way the sauce gets cooked on top of the cheese, yet the sauce doesn’t overpower your taste buds.

Rather, the sauce enhances your pizza experience by highlighting the crisp crust underneath, and accents the cheese, which in it’s own right has pockets of crispy cheese and stretchy cheese all on the same pie!

The timid order a ‘trial slice’, unaware that they’ll soon be
wishing they had ordered a whole pie, as had happened to me.

Having been raised on a NY slice from venerable places like Joe’s on 6th Ave and pies from all of the classics like Totonno’s, Lombardi’s, Grimaldi’s, etc I can tell you that your first bite of Tomato Pie is a Pizza Altering Experience! It’s not ‘like’ a NY Slice, it’s not anywhere near a Neopolitan Slice, it’s not similiar to any pizza type you’ve ever had in my experience, it’s it’s own unique style of Pizza and rightfully so.

Maruca’s Tomato Pies
1927 Promenade
Seaside Park, NJ 08752
(732) 793-0707

Albert’s side note: Maruca’s offers franchise opportunities as well.

If you are looking for the Best Pizza in New Jersey, go to Pizza Therapy.

End of Part 1

Submitted Eugene in Sandy Hook, NJ exclusively for Pizza Therapy and Legends of Pizza Readers

On the Road for Pizza in Italy

Here is a story of twp brothers who have decided to travel to Italy in search of pizza perfection.

Brothers Thom and James are embarking on an epic 2000 mile “Pizza Pilgrimage” from the southernmost tip of Italy back to their home in London.

They will be tackling this journey at a top speed of 40mph in their newly acquired Piaggio Ape van (the 3 wheeled one) and therefore, Very much sticking to the back roads, they will be hunting down the best produce and techniques that go into making the ‘perfect pizza’.

They will then bring all this knowledge back to England to serve traditional Italian pizzas to the people of London.

I support this journey, This is a scared journey for pizza! What could be more spiritual than that. This is a spiritual quest….

albert grande
Hawaii Businesss Videos and Hawaii Internet Service
Discover The Best Pizza in the World

Of course my old friend Peter Reinhart went on a similar journey…
American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza

Jonathan Goldsmith of Spacca Napoli Interview

Jonathan Goldsmith is a true Legend of Pizza.

He has pizza passion. He moved to Italy to learn to create authentic Neapolitan Pizza.

The result is his very famous pizzeria, Spacca Napoli:

According the their website:

The creation of Spacca Napoli ame out of Jon Goldsmith’s profound love for Italy, a cherished place that he, partner Ginny Sykes and daughter Sarah have considered a second home for many years.

One could say the dream was always there, waiting for the right moment to be born.

From Florence to the Gargano to Naples, creating the pizzeria came naturally, bringing together Jon’s passions for cooking and hospitality and melding them with his appreciation of all things Italian. The plan began to take shape on a flight to Italy in July 2004, following a casual suggestion to Jon from a fellow traveller who was from Naples that he ought to open a pizzeria in Chicago. On that trip, Jon began to talk about the pizzeria idea to his many Italian friends in Rodi Garganico (Rodiani).

 He was encouraged to go west for “true” pizza, to Naples — said to be the birthplace of pizza. As that summer drew to a close, Jon was determined to bring the essence of the Italian markets, the street life, and the abundance of Italy right back to Chicago.

 

 

Visit Spacca Napoli:

1769 W. Sunnyside, Chicago, IL 60640

• 773.878.2420

 

Jonathan exclusively uses Caputo:

Antimo Caputo Superfine Farina Flour “00” 10 count / 2.2 lb

Here is an amazing show of professional pizzaioli at the Pizza Expo.

The Pizzaioli from Italy make pizza at Pizza Expo. Watch the dough technique.

These pizza master came to make pizza. The pizza pros made pizza after pizza. Each pizza was then passed out to the crowd. The pizzas were consumed in minutes.

Amazing pizza!

Watch the incredible dough technique. See how they shape their dough.

Learn more about pizza:
How to use a pizza stone.

The Pizza Promoter

Pasta Therapy

Abate’s Pizza on Wooster Street Interview by Pizza Therapy

Wooster Street in New Haven Connecticut is an Italain food paradise. You will find great Italain food, but especially great pizza. Home of Sally’s Apizza and Pepe’s, Wooster Street boasts extraordinary pizza. But these two well known pizzerias are not the only great places to have pizza on Wooster Street.

Abate’s makes great pizza on Wooster Street, also.

When you are in the shadows of two pizza heavy weights, like Pepe’s and Sally’s, you definitely try harder.

In the following interview, Louis Abate explains what makes his pizzeria special. He shares his pizza secrets. He has been on Wooster Street for over 20 years, so he is no fly by night. Louis is here for the long haul…

You can visit Abate’s yourself.

Abate Apizza and Seafood Restaurant129 Wooster St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 776-4334

Here is one of my favorite books:


pizza