Webisodes
Tony's Ovens
Peter Reinhart

Okay, this is the webisode many of you have been waiting for, where Tony Gemignani shows us all four of his ovens and also, as a bonus, explains the difference between the various types of Double Zero flour -- it's a whirlwind of information and I think you will want to watch it more than once and take notes. One of the joys we've had in traveling and meeting all these pizza masters is seeing how deeply they look into all their choices, whether it be flour, tomatoes, cheese, or other ingredients, ovens, heat sources, etc. They all have their own reasons for the choices they, which is great for all of us pizza hunters, as this attention to detail is what distinguishes them as artisans, and that's why we celebrate them.

There's more Tony to come in future webisodes, but this one may be the most useful of them all. Enjoy!!

 

 
A Championship Margherita by Tony Gemignani, part 2
Peter Reinhart

I was mistaken last week when I said the Margherita that Tony made was his World Championship version. Actually, this week is the version that won it all. As it turns out, last week's pizza was made with Caputo flour and this week's is made with San Felice flour. When Tony won the World Championship in Naples, which he'll talk about a little in this week's segment, he used the San Felice flour so that's the one he reserves this flour for at his restaurant. He uses Caputo on all his other Napoletana pizzas and, as he indicates here, it's almost impossible to tell them apart and he loves both brands. But, because he won the title with the San Felice, that's the one you get if you order the Championship pie, served on the special pedestal platter. Tony told us that he tries to replicate the Margherita exactly as he did it for the judges, and he only makes 73 each day and when the dough runs out he stops taking orders for it. The number has special meaning for him but now I can't recall what it signifies so be sure to ask when you eat there.

Another surprise for all of us (and even for one of the judges, it so happens) is that the traditional competition Margherita is not required to be made with Mozzarella di Bufala but should actually be made with Fior di Latte (cow's milk mozzarella). Now we know. Hey, you'll learn all sorts of new things from hanging out with the Masters, which is why we go on these crazy quests. So sit back and enjoy or, as the saying goes, watch and learn....

 

 
Tony Gemignani Makes His Championship Pizza
Peter Reinhart

In this webisode, Tony teaches me (and you) how he makes the Margherita pizza that won him the world championship. You'll notice a few great tips, things that aren't commonly known even by professional pizza makers, such as: the traditional Napoletana way to load the pizza onto the peel; shaping the dough on the marble slab as opposed to lifting or spinning it; when to put the basil on; and the importance of bringing the dough to room temperature before putting it into the oven to prevent burning the underside.

Catch the quote on the back of Tony's tee-shirt, "Respect the craftsman."  That's become his mantra as he's transitioned from being an American pizza whizz-kid, winning innumerable competitions for his acrobatic prowess to, now, mastering and teaching the time-honored, traditional methodology that he learned from his own master teachers when he studied with them in Naples and the surrounding area.

You'll also briefly see Tony's own apprentice, Audrey Pagnotta Sherman, working in the background. We'll visit more with her in a subsequent webisode; she was recently seen in New York City at 900 Degrees, but I have just been informed by Tony that he and his team, including Audrey, have parted ways with that restaurant and will be focusing on a new place in Brooklyn. If anyone has more details than that, especially about how 900 Degrees is doing without Tony and team, please let us know.

As many of you already know, one of the major themes of Pizza Quest is the celebration of artisans and artisanship (or, as Tony says on his shirt, "Respect the craftsman"). I derive particular joy whenever I see a next generation apprentice, such as Audrey, immersed in his or her training. It gives me hope that the ongoing transmission of knowledge is still alive and well, and that future generations, today's kids and their own kids, will be able to continue enjoying the gifts created by these dedicated artisans. You'll see this message coming through and reiterated by Tony throughout this segment and in the ones to come. Enjoy!

 

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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.

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

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