Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Evolution of Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan Pizza has been around for a while and has become a big trend lately in America due the internet, food shows and the millennials desire for the latest trend and a movement for a return to foods that are more environmentally friendly.  Pizza in it's most basic form is a very natural product consisting of flour, water, cheese, tomatoes and seasoning. This puts it in the category of natural when made fresh with wholesome ingredients. Unfortunately many chains in bottom dollar, high production, food control, labor and a need for a standard recipe began prepackaging pizza sauce and shipping frozen pre-stretched dough shells. Now if this is the only pizza you have ever eaten it is probably better than a TV dinner(a heat and serve dinner in an aluminum tray with compartments for things like chicken, potatoes and the ever popular cinnamon apples that was popular in the 60's and 70's). There is nothing as delicious as an artisan pizza made with fresh mozzarella, a really good tomato of the San Marzano type on a hand stretched dough and cooked at high temperature in a brick oven.  Now when you add the smell of a wood fire and some tasty toppings you have a meal fit for a king or as the legend goes a queen hence the name Margarita pizza. My first taste of these incredible pizzas was as a boy growing up in Brooklyn and visiting Coney Island with my brother and grabbing a pie at Tortono's. Who knew it would inspire us to start Goodfella's Brick Oven Pizza and become world champion pizza men training people from all over the world to make pizza in a revolving deck brick oven  at the Pizza School New York. I really appreciate the the skill and art of  a good pizza man working a brick oven. The Italians that brought the skill to America opened the door for the current artisan pizza craze in America and the explosion of great pizza places all across this country of ours. The evolution of Neapolitan pizza is our current gourmet, fast casual build your own pie trend. When my brother Scot and I began Making pizza we payed homage to the old school but put a spin on it by creating things like the "Vodka Pie" which won a national contest and became a national trend itself. Adding a semolina recipe and squares with a mushroom sauce or brandy were non-traditional ideas that we incorporated into the menu evolving the Neapolitan Pizza to what we like to call a New York Brick Oven Pie. One of the points Lead Instructor from Pizza School New York, Andrew Scudera stresses to his successful students from all over the world is to be creative, try different things and see what your customers like and incorporate local favorites into the menu. America was founded by Revolution and it will take all kinds of entrepreneurs developing their own style of pizza to compete in the ever evolving pizza market. We pay tribute to the early pioneers as we eagerly await the latest creations of our friends. Happy pizza to you. Marc Cosentino