Forno Bravo Expo 2011 :: Chef Bios!
The detailed agenda will be posted shortly. In the meantime, here are our Expo 2011 chef bios!
If you haven't signed up for the May 14 Expo yet ... well, now is the time!
Forno Bravo Expo 2011
Jasmine and Doug Faber, The Pizza Gypsy
From Jasmine: “I love pizza! And I love to share my passion for great pizza with others. In 2010, I founded The Pizza Gypsy for that reason – to serve great pizza and to share a great experience with my customers throughout California. Our company name has an intentional double message. First, like a Gypsy’s Wagon, our pizza facility is self-contained and mobile. We bring our traveling wood-burning oven on-site, to our customer’s location, making piping-hot, world-class artisan pizzas. Second, I’m a gypsy. I’m a native of Santa Cruz, Calif., but I’ve lived throughout the United States and I’ve traveled across the planet. In 2008, I returned to my Santa Cruz birthplace hoping to cool my gypsy-jets and to settle down (at least a little).
“My passion began as a child in our family kitchens. My father, a true ‘foodie,’ trained me early. Our kitchen was always the center of our community. I was first introduced to the magic that is wood-fired pizza as a young girl when my grandparents installed an outdoor wood-fired oven. I savored the remarkable pizza and cherished how everyone came together for the entire food experience.
“Over the years, as I traveled and ate my way across the world, I tasted and treasured some truly incredible pizza. The two most memorable pizzas both came from wood-fired ovens: one from a vehicle parked roadside in France’s Loire Valley, and the other from a beach shack on the shores of a Seychelles Island. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the taste of combining fresh ingredients with the heat and flavor produced by a wood-fired oven! Both of those artisans truly understood their craft and they inspired me.
“During my early working years, I apprenticed under Chef David Berkowitz of Park City, Utah. David taught me the skills of artisan food preparation in his kitchen. When I later returned to Utah, I again worked for David. This time, he taught me to overcome the challenges of running a catering business and how to deliver a superior catering experience.
“The Pizza Gypsy combines the intimacy of a wood-fired oven – like that of my grandparents’ – with the energy and enthusiasm of a group of dyed-in-the-wool foodies to create the best pizza you’ve ever tasted.”
Michael Johnson, The Pizza Company
The Pizza Company is led by Michael Johnson, a chef with nearly two decades of experience. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. After moving to California, Michael worked in Napa and Sonoma counties, falling in love with the area and climate that produces such fresh ingredients. He is now leaving his culinary mark in the Sacramento area.
Joseph Pergolizzi, The Fire Within
Joseph Pergolizzi is the owner of The Fire Within, which was founded in 2005. His team consists of specialists in the wood-fired oven industry, servicing restaurants, caterers and home enthusiasts across the country.
Throughout his career, he has helped over 100 wood-fired oven caterers start their own businesses nationwide. He has also worked with clients such as Apple, Whole Foods and Burton. In 2009, he started a wood-fired oven cooking school, focusing on culinary creativity and business start-up training. The core principles of his business consist of making good food, encouraging entrepreneurs in their endeavors, and fostering community.
Originally from NYC, Joe was raised on a healthy diet of thin-crust pizza. His early studies of fine art and design were the precursors to his appreciation of artisan culture. During a transition in his career, he began working with and making cob and traditional fire brick wood-fired ovens on an educational farm. Ironically, his father had hopes that he would grow up to become a NYC firefighter.
In his free time, he is an outdoor enthusiast and adventure-seeker. He lives in Boulder, Colo.
Scott Thorson, Bella Familia
Scott Thorson is the owner of Bella Familia Wood Fired Pizza in Rocklin, Calif. He says: “I built my own oven in my backyard five years or so ago using plans from the Forno Bravo website. This began a passion in me for pizza, which fed also the need for entertaining. I had what I call my ‘Field of Dreams’ moment one day when hosting a pizza party for friends in my backyard: I thought instead of them coming to me, if I had an oven on a trailer I could go to them. It became an 'if I build it, they will come' kind of thing in my mind.
“I realized I didn’t have the skill needed to build my own trailer, and a few web searches later led me to Joseph at The Fire Within and the rest is history. I love my trailer, I love what I do, and I love making pizzas! I have a great family and have been married to my wonderful wife of 20+ years, and I have three college-age kids, which is where the name Bella Familia came from.”
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