The filming for the television pilot of our new pizza series went really well. I had a chance to interview Nancy Silverton, of Pizzeria Mozza (also the founder of LaBrea Breads) along with her Executive Pizzaiolo, Matt Molina; Russ Parsons of the LA Times and Kristine Kidd of Bon Appetite Magazine, as well as the bakers at LaBrea Bakery; some wonderful people at the Cass House in Cayucos, on the Central Coast (their small town is brimming with other artisans who we also filmed--wonderful smoked fish and a little cookie shop specializing in brown butter cookies!); and in San Francisco we spent a whole day at Tony's Pizza Napoletana with Tony Gemignani, world champion for Traditional Neapolitan Margherita pizza as well as many times world champion for acrobatic dough tossing; also, Craig Stoll and his head pizzaiolo Anthony at Pizzeria Delfina; and the folks at Berkeley's famous Cheese Board, where people line up around the block for slices everyday. We also filmed some great footage at Tartine, the James Beard Award winning patisserie next door to Pizzeria Delfina, and had astounding ice cream and other treats at Bi-Rite Market and Bi-Rite Creamery (all four of these places are located on the same block--we got a lot of footage on 18th Street!). We also filmed out in tomato country where the vines were full of ripe plum tomatoes ready to be harvested, and filmed all sorts of other great food finds (oysters, fish tacos, sourdough bread at Fisherman's Wharf--the same passion we found in our pizzaiolos existed in equal measure among other food artisans in their own realms). The footage is being edited as I write and I'll keep you posted as it develops. Thank you all for your kind letters and interest in this project. All I can say for now is that the filming exceeded our expectations and we're very excited about the prospects for this series. And, needless to say, it was one of the most fun things I've ever done, especially working with a great crew of producers, camera and sound men, and production assistants.
Other great news: my editor from Ten Speed Press met us at The Cheese Board and handed me the first, off the press copy of "Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Everyday." I am so pleased with how it turned out. The layout, art design, photos, and overall feel of the book is everything we'd hoped for. I think all of you who contributed to the testing will be pleased with the fruits of your efforts. The official release date is October 28th, so I won't have copies till then, but will announce here on the blog, in October, how to send for signed copies. This is a big season for bread books as Jim Lahey (the creator of what is referred to as the NY Times No Knead Bread recipe), Ciril Hitz, Michael Kalanty, and Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois all have important books coming out (I wrote the intros for both Michael's and Ciril's books so can vouch for their excellence--haven't seen Jim's or Jeff and Zoe's yet but I'm sure they will be great). This means a treasure trove of options for home bakers, and maybe a dilemma too, but I feel ours will be one of the must-haves and am really proud of what we all accomplished together. We even got some great endorsements from Mario Batali and Nancy Baggett (author of the excellent, "Kneadlessly SImple"), among others.
Many of you have probably already seen the Washington Post article about "The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/01/AR2009090100832.html?sid=ST2009090102947) . I'm still waiting for Jason Alexander to call and will let you know if he does (you'll understand after you read the whole story). What a great boon to have so many people involved in this challange, and thanks again to Nicole of www.pinchmysalt.com for starting the wave. If you haven't checked her site yet, I'm really impressed with not only the breads but also the photos, many of them step-by-step. A great tutorial for all of us as a by-product of the wonderful fellowship created by those who stepped up to the "challenge." I'm overwhelmed and awed by it all--starting to kvell, sorry....
Many have asked how to track down classes at Johnson & Wales here in Charlotte. The only way to sign up is through the website: www.jwu.edu/charlotte/ and then navigate to Continuing and Adult Education and then click on Chefs Choice. Also, don't forget Oct. 31st at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill for a class based on the new book (yes, we will make Chocolate Babka!). Check their website for details. Am getting close to nailing down a teaching tour for a few cities and will let you know once it's finalized, hopefully by the next posting here in a week or two.
The students started arriving yesterday for the new year at JWU; classes begin Tuesday. We're all excited here about the coming year and I can't wait to start baking with them. Meanwhile, Pie Town celebrates it's first anniversary this month and I'm very proud of the work our team is doing there. We keep tweaking the pizzas, pushing them to try to squeeze every bit of potential out of that dough, and our pizzaiolos are really dialed in. I think we're right up there with the best of the best now and would love your feedback if you get a chance to eat there (www.dineatpietown.com for details). The best e-mail to write to me is at firstname.lastname@example.org .
May Your Bread Always Rise!