Peter's Blog, Sept. 6th

Hi Everyone,

It was a long, wet, windy Labor Day Weekend down here in Charlotte, so I'm a little behind with my posts (we're still technically under a tornado watch). Didn't even get to post a Coming Attractions box so I'll do that here at the end of this post. I'm going to take a little breather from the recent pizza/beer reflections and just write a short blog this week.

Today was the first day of classes at Johnson & Wales University and we welcomed about 900 new freshman yesterday (Labor Day) in our annual Convocation ceremony -- doing this on Labor Day is one of our traditions. As the faculty processed down the aisle to our seats, I watched the faces of all the newbies and imagined how all of their lives were about to change; that they themselves were about to change, transformed actually (transformation is something we write about here a lot on Pizza Quest). I know about this growth phenomenon from years of observation and, lest I had any doubts, I saw it in action on the night before the ceremony when I watched a new TV special on The Cooking Channel (not the Food Network, but their new sister network) called Cooking School Confidential. If you can get this channel please, don't miss this show (it's channel 353 on my digital dial, so I imagine many of you won't be able to get it or see this show until they rerun it on The Food Network someday) .

Yes, it's a great plug for our campus (BTW, I'm not in it, though there's a quick shot of me during the graduation scene but it's faster than a blink), as the show follows four Johnson & Wales University -- JWU for short -- students as they pursue their dream to become successful chefs. Each student has a very different situation to navigate through: one is a professional cyclist who has to juggle his twin passions of food and bike racing; one is a mother of three kids and has a full time job working for JWU as a Teaching Assistant; another is a career changer, a former journalist who at the age of 43 decided that it was now or never; and the fourth student came to school, after a stint in the military, in hopes of becoming a pastry chef and with a desire to do an internship at the pastry school of the legendary Alain Ducasse in France.  I won't say any more other than to encourage you to watch this show if you can. We often tell our incoming students that JWU is not just a university but also a place where dreams can be made and fulfilled -- we are in the dream fulfillment business and watching our students grow into their dreams never gets old. Watch this show and you'll see what I mean.

I think it is next scheduled to be replayed on Friday, Sept. 9th at 10 PM. DVR it if you can. And read the blog posts from those who already saw it on the Cooking Channel website: www.thecookingchannel.com   Use the search engine on their website to help you find the blog comments -- it's a little tricky because this was a one time special and not a series (though that may change if the response is good), so it may take a little work to find the comments.

Anyway, we're already into a new week here so let me tell you what's coming up:

On Wednesday we'll be posting a home made cinder block, gas grill wood-fired oven experiment by our own Brad English. Yes, this is a man of many passions and obsessions -- which means he's just like many of you -- and you'll have fun with his story and photos about creating something that he had imagined but never seen done before.

On Thursday, we're back with Tony Gemignani in the second webisode in our continuing series with this world champion pizzaiolo. Lately, I've been seeing Tony as a guest all over the Cooking Channel and also the Travel Channel (and Rachel Ray too!), so I'm glad we were able to film with him before he gets his own show. One thing we're good at here is spotting the future stars!

On Friday, well that's still undecided. We're working on a few Guest Columns so whichever one is ready first will get the slot.

Next week I'll continue my musings on the pizza/beer connection as we draw nearer to the big event in Denver at the end of the month. Ciao for now....

 

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Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

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