Contributor Profiles
Bob Radcliffe
Bob Radcliffe

Transplanted from Philadelphia to rural Franklin County, North Carolina over fifteen years ago, Bob yearned for a 1950’s-style “Tomato Pie” made at DeLorenzo’s on Hudson Street in Trenton, NJ in a coal-fired oven. Nowhere in North Carolina was it to be found. Simply put, frustration led him to build a Forno Bravo Pompeii-style Wood-fired Oven on his Lynch Creek Farm in Rocky Ford so he could bake “Tomato Pie” and Artisan Breads.

After a lifetime of industry engineering and computer software consulting work, advanced degrees, Penn State University teaching, writing books for SYBEX Computer Books, and a few startup businesses, he finally “retired” to operate an organic farm, start a herd of grass-fed beef, build a log cabin event center, start the non-profit Ben Franklin Society and its companion fund-raising operation he named the Franklin BreadWorks – a private Dining and Entertainment Club.

He received on-the-job, culinary training from Chef Jack Mc David of Philadelphia fame. An industrious and doggedly persistent work ethic has helped him master making delicious Tomato Pie, Artisan Breads and most recently, Artisan Pasta.

CONTACTS and INFORMATION

Bob’s Email
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lynch Creek

Farm Website:

www.lynchcreek.com

Wood-fired Oven Construction Slideshow:

www.lynchcreek.com/BreadWorks-Newsletters/Cabin%20Oven%20Photo%20Album%20-%20Rev.pdf

Latest Franklin BreadWorks Newsletter:

www.lynchcreek.com/BreadWorks-Newsletters/Latest-Newsletter.pdf


Ben Franklin Society Brochure:
www.BenFranklinSocietyNC.org/SocietyDocuments/Latest-BFS-Brochure.pdf

Ben Franklin Society Website:
www.BenFranklinSocietyNC.org

 

 
Doug Essinger-Hileman
Doug Essinger-Hileman

 

Doug Essinger-Hileman is a man of many quests. His earliest was along the highways and byways commonly travelled by math and science geeks. Sometime during his freshman year at Penn State, he came upon a fork in the road, and swapped his science quest for that of a Protestant parish pastor. After a bit more than a quarter of a century walking that road, he heard a different calling and began his journey as a baker of bread.

 

After itinerating through a number of parishes throughout Pennsylvania and one in central Ohio, he now resides not far from the home of his youth, just west of Philadelphia. It is there, close to the shores of the Brandywine River, that he hopes to open the first bakery he can call his own within the year.

 

 
Albert Grande
Albert Grande

Albert Grande is is the owner of Pizza Therapy
http://pizzatherapy.com a website promoting the joys of making pizza and
eating pizza.

 
Stan Ginsberg
Stan Ginsberg

Stan Ginsberg, a native of Brooklyn, grew up in a close-knit neighborhood where generations lived side by side. He learned to cook and bake from his grandmother, who lived just upstairs in the same apartment building, and has continued cooking and baking ever since. His baking repertoire is eclectic, with a bias towards traditional Jewish and European-style breads and pastries – and, of course, pizza.
Stan started The New York Bakers (www.nybakers.com) in 2009, largely as a result of his own frustration with not finding the flours he wanted at reasonable prices. It has since grown into a significant resource for home bakers, with a constantly expanding range of equipment, supplies and ingredients.

 
Peter Reinhart
John Arena

Peter Reinhart is a baking instructor at Johnson & Wales University. He was the co-founder of the legendary Brother Juniper's Bakery in Sonoma, California, and is the author of five books on bread baking, including Brother Juniper's Bread Book and the modern classic The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which was named cookbook of the year in 2002 by both the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. He lives with his wife, Susan, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 
Jeffrey Michael
Jeffrey Michael

Jeff Michael has been working in film production for 15 years.  From commercials (Lexus, Dove), to television promos (Planet Green Network, Discovery Network), to feature films (Free Willy, ConAir), to music videos (Metallica, Candlebox), Jeff enjoys tackling the unexpected that comes with each project.

Pizza Quest evolved from a conversation with his business partner Brad English, who showed him Peter's book American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza.  After reading just 90 pages, Jeff called Brad and the Quest had begun.

Jeff's own passion for travel and cooking has made Pizza Quest a labor of love.  He is fascinated by each city and individual pizzeria the Quest takes them on, and is continually amazed at the way the simple concept of pizza can bring together communities, cross through cultures boundaries, and speak so many different languages.

 
Joseph Pergolizzi
Joseph Pergolizzi

Joseph Pergolizzi is the owner of Fire Within, which was founded in 2005. His team consists of specialists in the wood-fired oven industry, servicing restaurants, caterers, and home enthusiasts across the country.

Throughout his career he has helped over 100 wood-fired oven caterers start their own businesses nationwide. He has also worked with clients such as Apple, Whole Foods and Burton.  In 2009, he started a wood-fired oven cooking school, focusing on culinary creativity and business start-up training. The core principles of his business consist of making good food, encouraging entrepreneurs in their endeavors, and fostering community.

 
Tony Gemignani
Tony Gemignani

Tony Gemignani has had a passion for the pizza industry since 1991. His humble beginnings began at his brother’s infamous Pyzano’s Pizzeria in Castro Valley. Fresh out of high school, Tony took on the task of a pizza thrower and soon began entertaining the restaurant crowds with his wily tricks.  A few years later, he entered into his first pizza throwing competition in Las Vegas and quickly became the top pizza thrower in the world, in addition to becoming a partner at Pyzano’s.

 
Caleb Schiff
Caleb Schiff

Caleb Schiff is a self-taught pizzaiolo living in Flagstaff, AZ. After traveling on his bike through northern Italy in 2007, he set out to build a wood-fired oven in his backyard. Since the oven's construction, his pursuit to create the perfect neapolitan pizza has been insatiable. He recently returned to Italy for another 34 day bike ride, focusing this trip on traveling in the southern half of the country. His website's name and work on creating pizza, hearth breads, and other Italian cuisine has been named 'pizzicletta,' which is the synthesis of his passions for both pizza and bicycling. His current blog, Peel and Crust, as well as his travel blogs which includes his visits to innumerable Italian pizzerias and the Molino Caputo plant, can be found at www.pizzicletta.com

 
Jenn Burns
Jenn Burns

Jenn Burns enjoys writing about food nearly as much as she likes eating it!  Simply eating is nice, but even more exciting was being a pizzaiola for a day, working and living on a sustainable meat farm, harvesting and selling produce from an urban farm, being in charge of arguably the best ice cream in town, and researching coffee beans in Costa Rica.  Originally from Indianapolis, Jenn is now pursuing an environmental studies major (with a focus on food) at Davidson College.  She is a regular contributor to Uptown Magazine in Charlotte, NC, where her chronicles, telling of her coming into adulthood through the lens of food, earned her a big following.  She will be graduating in spring of 2012 and then plans to continue traveling the world in search of great food and great stories.

 
John O'Hanlon
John O'Hanlon

John is a retired research physicist (IBM, Yorktown Hts.) and electrical engineering professor (Arizona). Baking has been a life long interest that time limited to sweet buns and coffee rings for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and perhaps hot cross buns at Easter time. A decade of retirement has provided space to explore, learn, obsess and enjoy. Bagels, English muffins, ciabatta, multigrain, and other great breads found in Peter’s books, have become our daily fare. We cannot remember the last time we purchased a loaf, except for a miche at Lionel Poilâne’s Boulangerie!

 
Andris Lagsdin
Andris Lagsdin

Andris is the creator of The Baking Steel, an outgrowth of his love of cooking plus many years of working in the steel manufacturing world. He put the two together and came up with a remarkable new product, as describe in more detail in his article in the Guest Columns section. Andris recently wrote to tell us the following: "Prior to our Kickstarter campaign that launched us, we partnered with The Greater Boston Foodbank.  They do amazing things in the New England area.  We wanted our new product to be bigger than ourselves and we wanted to help.  To date, our Baking Steel product has helped feed over 10,000 meals.  Every Steel we sell buys meals."

His website is www.bakingsteel.com

 
Bruce Vetter
Bruce Vetter

Bruce Vetter is the son of a military family that moved around a lot.  He has resided in the midwest for the last 46 years.  He joined the US Navy in 1962 serving aboard nuclear submarines as a reactor operator.  Upon his discharge in 1966 he pursued his interests in motorcycles working with his brother Craig until he eventually formed his own company making motorcycle accessories and components.  His family now runs his company and Mr. Vetter is left to pursue his wide and varied interests.  Most people, if asked about him, would respond “very odd, but in a good way”.

Too few people understand those blessed by God with passion.

Right now his passion is to learn to bake the best whole wheat bread his family could ever hope for and Mr. Reinhart has provided the answer due to his similar passion.

 

 
Wes Bailey
Wes Bailey

Wes Bailey is the owner of a Los Angeles based Production Equipment rental company, but dreams of becoming a full-time author.  Travel and the experiences that come with it have been inspired and cultivated through a 17-year relationship with his Argentine wife, Tamara, and the whims of her gypsy heart.   Now with a family of five, Wes and Tamara have not ceased to stretch the limits of what is possible when it comes to travel.  Is it possible to run a business, raise a family and still travel incessantly?  While he can't be sure, Wes is committed to continuing to seek out new places, new cuisine, and most importantly to discover the people that call those places home.  Wes, Tamara and children live in San Diego's coastal north county.

 
Brad English
Brad English

Brad English is a producer based out of Los Angeles, CA. He has been in the business for over 24 years working on a wide range of projects that have taken him all over the country and to many parts of the globe.

He loves to travel and cook for his friends and family. He discovered Peter Reinhart one day while searching the internet to find a way to make a better pizza crust and bought Peter's book: "American Pie, My Search for the Perfect Pizza". "As I read the opening section of the book called, "The Hunt," I knew right away that this had to be a show. I was actually jealous as I read about Peter traveling around the world going to all these amazing pizzerias and getting behind the scenes with the pizzaiolos!" Within a few days he had contacted his friend, fellow producer, and fierce Competitive Restaurant Ordering rival, Jeff Michael. They contacted Peter to see if he was interested in taking this show on the road.  The Quest had begun.

 
James Bairey
James Bairey

James Bairey, a former Silicon Valley marketing executive, founded Forno Bravo in 2003. Prior Forno Bravo, Mr. Bairey was the founder and managing partner of a consulting firm that worked with large companies, including Microsoft, Intel, Apple, 3Com, and Novell, as well as scores of successful start-up companies. His firm's clients created a number of breakthrough products and services, including the first major Internet service provider, web authoring software, Internet firewall software, network-attached storage, web application server, and web calendar services. Through mergers and initial public offerings, the firm's clients created over $5B in market value.

He has lived in Spain, England, Austria, and Italy, and currently resides with his wife and two daughters in Pebble Beach, California. He is an avid distance runner, and is committed to running a sub 3 hour marathon in 2011—he's at 3:04. You can sponsor James to run the Boston to Big Sur Challenge and raise money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

 
John Della Vecchia
John Della Vecchia

John Della Vecchia started cooking pizza in his Forno Bravo Primavera 70 in May 2010, but has been passionate about southern Italian cooking his entire lifetime. Constantly working to perfect the Neapolitan pie, he spends his free time learning about dough formulation and management techniques, and enjoys cooking and entertaining for his family and friends. John works as an IT consultant and lives with his wife and two children in Natick, MA, just outside of Boston.

 
John Arena
John Arena
John Arena is a third generation pizza maker. He began making pizza professionally in his family's New York pizzeria on his 13th birthday in 1967. John graduated from Adelphi University with a degree in communications, but skipped graduation ceremonies to open his first pizzeria in Las Vegas in 1980. Along with his cousin, Sam Facchini, he is the co-owner/founder of Metro Pizza with 6 locations. John is also the instructor of the nations first University level pizza class, History and Culture of Pizza. The course, offered to upper level hospitality students, is an in depth exploration of the social, cultural and historical influences that have shaped the many regional variations of pizza. A frequent seminar leader, and contributor to trade publications, he is a staunch advocate of sharing the joy of creating, eating and celebrating pizza, as the world's greatest communal food. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or through his website at http://www.metropizza.com.
 
Michael Hanson
Michael Hanson

Michael Hanson was born to bake. A third generation master baker he began making bread while he stood on a chair in his paternal grandfather, Cyril's bakehouse. It was later to be become his father's bakery. Ten years later he studied accountancy, but upon graduating soon realized office suits were not for him. He began baking professionally and later owned the renowned artisan bakery Carriages, where soon he had 30 employees and a lot of headaches. The pressure valve blew after 6 years and he gave up baking and went traveling, and spent serious time reevaluating his life.

After learning to make earth ovens with Kiko Denzer he began baking again. Now he builds bread ovens and runs a small successful mobile pizzeria with which he tours the UK festival circuit. You can find out more about Michael at From The Hearth on Facebook, or email him at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
Tom Carrig
Tom Carrig

Thomas Carrig, DTR CSW left a rewarding twenty year career in developing high performance polymer adhesives to pursue a lifelong passion for food and wine.  After earning his Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, he took it one step further, earning a B.S. in Culinary Nutrition and combining his love for science with his passion for food.  Thomas uses his unique perspective to examine the path of food from the farm, through a factory—or not—to  the table, and through the body (if you are what you eat, then so is what you are eating, and so on).  His views influence his cooking and inspire his writing. Thomas is the chef/owner of Chef Thomas LLC (www.thomasthechef.com ), a personal chef service focused on the proper feeding and fueling of clients with farm fresh, organic foods, where he shares his enthusiasm and knowledge through in-home classes on all food and wine related topics. His unique credentials include the titles “Certified Specialist of Wine” (by the Society of Wine Educators), and “Dietetic Technician, Registered” (by the Commission on Dietetic Registration). He is also an avid barbecue fanatic with the title of “Certified Barbeque Judge” (by the Kansas City Barbeque Society), having the privilege to judge the Jack Daniel’s World Invitational Barbecue Championships—twice!

 
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Vision Statement

Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter's Books

American Pie Artisan Breads Every Day Bread Baker's Apprentice Brother Juniper's Bread Book Crust and Crumb Whole Grain Breads

… and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com

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