The beginning of this year's pizza season started off with an interesting event for GoreMade Pizza. One of my ingredient providers needed the use of my wood fired oven for a product demonstration at their annual food show. They had an italian pizza chef (who didn't speak a lick of english) flown in to demonstrate a new kind of flour entering the market. I'm not in the business of renting my oven, so I was hesitant at first. In the end, they hired me and the oven and all was well.
It was exciting to not only eat true italian wood fired pizza (having never been to Italy, this would be a first), but also to see how this particular pizzaiolo does what he does. He had a translator by his side, and a small entourage of fans huddling around him throughout the day wanting to see a master at work. It was at some points a struggle, but I made sure to watch every aspect of his process despite the crowds. From the fire placement to the way he stretched and topped the pizzas, there were mountains of details and information to take in. And to top it all off, I was getting paid to be a part of it!
When the luster of the moment died down, it was just he and I on a loading dock of the convention center overlooking the bustle of a highway on-ramp. Through a series of grunts and gestures, we had a nice conversation about pizza and technique and families and bambinos (the only italian word I knew besides stromboli). I ended up making a few pizzas from his dough balls to take home for the bambinos and the bambino-sitter, then it was off to the after party.
If you've never been, RDP puts on a tremendous show at the LC pavilion once a year for all their customers. Free drinks, loads of entertainment (my wife being one of the hired stilt-walkers), and some kind of popular music act to finish off the evening. They truly do it up right! It was fun seeing the Italian pizza chef in plain cloths and blending into the crowd.
There was a moment in the evening where, after a few drinks and knee-deep into the main event, I felt the need to have his translator tell him that this hair band cover band was not the quintessential America as it may appear. After all, he brought amazing pizza, and we gave him hairball. The translator insisted that it was, but I forced him to convey the message, even if just for my own well being. Looking back on it, that just might be what America is. Those small moments after a hard day's work that allow us to unwind with someone else's hard work.
In the end, I learned a lot about the subtleties of the wood fired pizza making from one of the pros, I got to eat some amazing pizza, and I got paid to be a part of it all. Another awesome win for myself and GoreMade Pizza.
Nick Gore was a corporate peon by day who just made the leap to full time pizza geek. Follow his path to world class Pizzaiolo right here on the GoreMade Pizza blog. Also, check out the facebook page.