While looking at different restaurants, the owner of an Italian restaurant asked me what concept I was going with my restaurant. I told him Neapolitan pizza. He suggested I get the book, ‘American Pie’.
I downloaded American Pie on my iPad. The book was written by Peter Reinhardt who also wrote 'The Bread Baker's Apprentice'. American Pie shares his quest to seek answers to the world's best pizza, and digging up the origins of pizza.
As I read the book, I felt like I was also participating in the search with him. He described his experiences traveling to parts of Italy, going to the origin of Focaccia in Genoa, the origin of Neapolitan pizza in Naples, and he shared his opinions on taste, crust, sauce, and toppings.
Peter then continued research on pizza in America starting out in New York City. I never knew there were many Ray's pizzerias in NYC - and none of them really stood out according to him. He explained that coal ovens are used on the East. Coal ovens can cook up to 1200 degrees whereas wood burning ovens holds up to 1000 degrees. Electric pizza oven are limited to 650 degrees. Some pizzerias, however, manage to cook right with a different cooking method.
I had heard a lot about Pizzeria Bianco in Arizona. Reinhardt met with Chris Bianco, the owner, and asked what his secret to making his restaurant wildly successful was. Chris responded that people would assume it was the crust, tomato, or cheese. Some even wanted to license his pizzeria concept in other cities. Chris wasn’t interested and when asked what his secret was, Chris said the secret is.........him! What..him?
Chris explains the secret is, Yes, being Chris and nothing else... Do you know why? Chris has devoted time and passion to making pizzas, and no one can ever buy his passion. If you want to franchise his pizzeria, your pizzeria won't be the same without his passion!
The San Francisco Bay Area is covered in Peter's book. He is familiar with the area as he once taught bread baking classes at California Culinary Arts in San Francisco for many years. Pizzetta 211 is his favorite pizzeria.
I enjoyed reading American Pie. If you are a pizza hunter, American Pie is perfect for you.