Man, have I mentioned how much I like Peter Reinhart? Oh, I haven’t? This doesn’t sound familiar? I love Peter Reinhart!! Anyways, here is the latest in his “Pizza Quest” series which is fabulous as always. This episode showcases Pizzeria Delfina in San Francisco, California. Alicia and I were in SF last year and had a wide sampling of Pizzeria Delfina’s pizza, and although it was great, it really couldn’t hold a candle to Tony Gemignani’s “Tony’s Pizza Napoletana” in North Beach. I mean, it didn’t hurt that Tony’s serves a Central Milling pie, but overall, the quality and variety at Tony’s topped both Pizzeria Delfina and Pizzetta 211. Here’s the official word from Peter:
I mentioned last week that Anthony Strong was recently named San Francisco’s 2012 Rising Star Chef for his work at Locanda, Craig Stoll’s newest restaurant, located just around the corner from Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina in the part of town they affectionately call, The Gastro. So, in tribute to Anthony’s well deserved success and budding fame, and for those who missed this the first time around, we’re replaying our visit with him when he was head pizzaiolo at Pizzeria Delfina. In this segment, I sit down with Anthony and Craig as they explain how Pizzeria Delfina evolved out of the original Restaurant Delfina (“If Delfina is John Coltrane, then Pizzeria Delfina is Iggy Pop,” Craig says — I love that analogy!). You will also hear one of our all time favorite Pizza Quest sound bites, also featured in our introductory webisode at the top of the home page, in answer to the question of why they work so hard and do what they do. As Anthony says, “It’s a compounding interest of obsession.”
Obsession — in this context I believe it represents the notion of passion, but perhaps passion on steroids — is a driving premise of Pizza Quest. We saw it in Anthony’s eyes as we chatted with him and Craig over some potent cups of cappuccino (trust me, it was there both before and after the cappuchino). Craig has it too — this obsessive streak– but as an older, mature, James Beard Award winning chef who has already been to the mountaintop, he does a great job of what I call “keeping a lid on his happy.” In his own way, though, he too embodies obsessive drive. But as you focus on Anthony in this segment, perhaps many of you can relate to that youthful excitement of discovery, the realization that life is fathomless, opening before us like a springtime tulip; a relentless, enervating, delicious adventure. Anthony and Craig represent bookends, in this regard; the arc between a chef on the rise, at the genesis of what promises to be a great career, and an already celebrated chef who has achieved far more than 99% of the chefs in the world, at the zenith of his success, yet still looking for new mountains to climb and talented young chefs to mentor.
These are the people we look for, the artists we celebrate, whose contagious excitement about their own discovery process leavens the rest of us, whether through the food they feed us or simply the energy that they generate as a result of their obsessive drive on our behalf and that we just want to absorb.
Congratulations again to Anthony — and also to Craig (and his equally talented wife Annie, the co-creator of the Delfina/Locanda empire)! And, to our viewers, especially the ones who missed this the first time around, enjoy the vicarious thrill of being in their presence and sharing their vision. Fire up your espresso makers and dive in.