Tony Gemignani, always has something going on. I got a chance to chat with him recently.
We talked all about pizza….
Tony discusses his latest concept for pizza called Capo’s. This is a Chicago styled pizzaeria based on the prohibition era.
They specialize in deep dish Chicago pizza and have a whiskey bar as well as many different Chicago style Italian dishes.Tony explains when you look at the pizza industry, Chicago is making a new wave.
Tony’s got a new book coming out next year. He’s opening two new restaurants, one in California and one in Las Vegas.
Both restaurants will be opening at the end of the year. He’s also doing something pizza related for Hollywood.
Yeah you heard that right, Hollywood!
This guys got a lot on his plate! How does he have time for all of these projects. How does he do it, I just had to know.
“I barely sleep, I just love it”, he stated sheepishly. “I always thought the independent operator could make a statement in this industry, and we are…”
I wanted to know if he still keeps making pizza. I mean how does he have time for all of his projects and still be a hands-on pizza operator.
“When you come to Tony’s (Tony’s Pizza Napoleletana) you’ll see me behind the line. There are a few things we introduced to Tony’s. I think I said a few years ago Detroit was going to make a big impact. I brought that to the Tony’s menu, Detroit style, about a year and a half ago. That style is one of the hottest styles on the Expo floor.A few years ago it didn’t exist.
Last year a guy won best pizza in the world. Now everyone is talking Detroit.So we’ve introduced a couple of styles: St. Louis and Detroit. Places that most people don’t think existwhen it comes to pizza, but, if you do it right, it can be pretty awesome.
So we launched that about a year and a half ago.
That’s been a big part of the program at Tony’s because we have every style.
It’s crazy to go to Tony’s now and get 11 styles of pizza…”
Here’s a video interview. I recorded of Tony at Pizza Expo. Tony was very honest and forthcoming in his responses.
Tony was a super star at Expo. Everyone wanted to speak with him. I was very appreciative that he was able to
spend some time with me….
Tony’s Pizza Napoletana
1570 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94133
No Reservations. No Exceptions.
The philosophy at Tony’s:
A small pizzeria in Naples, Italy is the inspiration behind Tony Gemignani’s story for Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. A fulfillment in his ever growing passion for pizza drew him to self content when he first tried an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Since then he was determined to learn this art of pizza making and one day open a restaurant like no other.
Tony Gemignani and Albert Grande of Pizza Therapy
You can listen to Tony’s Interview (and download it if you wish) below:
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.
Tutta Bella Logo
His pizzeria Tutta Bella has been an incredible success.
Listen to Joe as he expplains the secret to his success.
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:
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!
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 will be hearing much from them in the future..
Here they are singing O Solo Mio:
A group of Italian teenagers Piero Barone (17), Ignazio Boschetto (16) and Gianluca Ginoble (16) aka Il Volo’s performance of ‘O Sole Mio during the American Idol Top 3 results show.
“O Sole Mio” was written in 1898. In 1950, Tony Martin had a #2 hit with “There’s No Tomorrow” (same melody, different lyrics). In 1960, Elvis Presley had a #1 hit with “It’s Now Or Never” (same melody again, but different lyrics).
In the following interview Tony discusses his newest pizza adventures.
Tony was extremely busy and tired at the Pizza Expo, in Las Vegas. He explains his recent pizza adventures. He has opened a number of very successful pizza restaurants in San Francisco. His latest project is Tony’s Pizzeria Napoletana.
He started with just one wood fired oven. He has now added a coal fired oven and is working on a gluten free concept.
Yeah, you know I grew up in Fremont, California on a farm actually. My grandpa was a big Italian farmer. We lived with our grandpa; a typical Italian family. I never knew I was going to get into pizza. Food was a big part of our life.
We were on apricot orchards, cherry orchards, and fava beans. Italians call them horse beans. I grew up around food all the time especially watching my mom cook. That was a pretty big part of my life. I always tell everybody about that.
Like if it had garlic in it, then it had a lot of garlic. If it was spicy, it was really spicy. In the taste of the kitchen, your taste really comes from someone usually and that came from my mom.
The following interview was done at the Pizza Expo, in Las Vegas:
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.