Gabriele Bonci, known as "IL Giocolo Della Pizza." The famed Roman Taglio chef arrived for a string of demonstrations through this past weekend. I caught him at Paulie Gee's, an event hosted by Italian food writers Katie Parla and Elisia Menduni.
The room was full of fellow bloggers and pizza aficionado, many who had come out of general curiousity versus knowledge of Bonci's prowess in the kitchen. That changed as soon as they saw him at work, and then got to taste the end result. In this particular tasting, Bonci highlighted a reverse baking method of his famous taglio (pan) pizza.
Later I chatted with Elisia. She explained how the pizza's were baked in a wood-fired oven usually employed for Napoletana style dough, much hotter than those used for taglio pizza. Signore Bonci adapted his approach by baking these high hydrated disks of dough upside down over the toppings, thereby cooking the base with the bottom crisp from the heat, and then flipping them over and topping with finishing ingredients. The result was the dough texture seemed almost fried.
In between conversation and beers and shooting pictures on my iPhone, I did my best to follow our chef who was furiously firing off his creations in the oven,then garnishing and cutting the pizza's. With a wink and nod, he would periodically turn to the crowd, and ask how everything was. Buono, grazie, maestro!
A big thank you to Chef John Regelfalk, for letting me know about this. We need to do an interview! Thanks again to both Elisia and Katie. It was great!