Pizza love: From the editor’s desk
By Colleen Cross
We were recently asked by a loyal reader to include more “pizza love” in the magazine. So I am using this space to focus on the fun, creative side of pizza. (I’ll talk business next time.)
We at the magazine spent one incredible Monday this month at the Canadian Pizza Summit focused on pizza . . . and loved it! Loved meeting pizza makers and operators, loved learning about their pizzerias, loved seeing their creations, loved watching them work in the kitchen! The Chef of the Year competition, featured 20 highly skilled, creative and brave pizza makers presented their best pizzas to five enthusiastic judges.
Our chefs dreamed up some amazing creations and flavour combinations – with names like The Dean Martin and Hockey Night in Canada.
During his talk on millennials, David Coletto of Abacus Data revealed the results of a survey he did in conjunction with Canadian Pizza magazine. One finding was that millennials, moreso than others, describe themselves as pizza lovers!
Why exactly is pizza so appealing? It is simple, versatile and meant to be shared.
Take lahmajo, for example. It’s a type of bread that is to Armenians what pizza is to Italians. Lahmajo is made with butter, sharp cheese such as feta or old cheddar, poppy seeds, and spices such as black pepper and paprika. A friend gave me the recipe and I made it. The crust pulled apart like a soft, billowy cloud as we ate it with our hands with grins on our faces. Armenian custom has it that if you accidentally drop this sacred bread while carrying it home, you must immediately pick it up and place it on a higher surface such as a ledge or tree.
I tell this story to remind you pizza is culturally important with interesting stories to tell! Telling these stories in different ways will help keep your customers interested.
The restaurant business is tough, but you can be confident your product is appealing to customers of all ages.
The Canadian pizza scene is like no other. Crust-wise, I’ve seen cappuccino dessert pizza (which won Carlo Raillo the second of three Chef of the Year titles), squid ink (Kyle Rindinella’s entry in our 2015 competition), and fennel injected using syringes (created by Tony Vacchio of Zolas Restaurant in 2015).
Base-wise, I’ve seen pumpkin puree (Raillo’s award-winning Pumpkin Pie Pizza) and celeriac root (The Combine’s Norfolk ABC, featuring apple, bacon and cheddar).
Topping-wise, I’ve seen Louisiana Cajun Chicken Pizza (which won Cory Medd his second COTY title), edible gold, edible flowers, and wild river mint sourced from the Waterford River in Newfoundland by award-winning pizza chef Meghan O’Dea.
Whenever I think I’ve seen everything, Canadian pizzerias surprise me. So, I expect to see innovative pizza for years to come from Canadian pizza chefs – many of them showcased at our annual competition. We promise to celebrate pizza in all its forms in these pages – through how-to articles, recipes and new trends. And I know you’ll keep inspiring us with your excitement for the product that is equal parts art, science and passion.
Canadian Pizza would like to thank our Platinum sponsor, Faema Canada, distributor of Moretti Forni Ovens, for hosting the event at their beautiful showroom, and Gold sponsors Ardent Mills and Parmalat/Galbani, and Silver sponsor Escalon Premier Brands/Heinz for their generous support of the Summit!