Yes, another year has flown by, full of adventures, trials and tribulations, and, of course, great pizza! Brad and I will back with new postings throughout the coming year and plan to keep this journey alive (the quest never ends...). I have no photos to share with you today, as we approach the dropping of the big ball in a few hours, just a few year end thoughts and thanks.
First, a few shout outs: I've heard that our friend Tony Gemignani, whose terrific videos are alive and well in our Webisodes section, has expanded his pizza empire to include appearances on TV's Bar Rescue and opening a whole bunch of new pizzerias including in my old back yard, Sonoma County, where I will be checking it out in February when I'm back out there. If I still lived there I'd probably be hanging out regularly at the newest Tony's -- if any of you have been there yet (it's in a new casino in, I believe, Cotati or Rohnert Park), please comment below and let us know how it compares to the original in North Beach SF. Congrats to you, Tony -- keep them coming! (Many of you know that I enjoy analogies and I've often referred to Tony as the "Mozart of pizza" since he works at such a high level in so many styles, not to mention his acrobatic dough tossing awards and, now, TV. He was a star before I ever met him and his light keeps getting brighter. I can only assume that the next step for him will be his own TV show.
A special tip of the hat to our Johnson & Wales students here in Charlotte, a number of whom recently prepared all the food for our JWU 10th Anniversary event in Charlotte which was also, simultaneously, the University's 100 Birthday. The food was amazing, including some seriously
advanced Modernist Cuisine techniques (their sous vide pastrami is still the buzz of the town). I'm sure the other three JWU campus's will also be throwing some Centennial celebrations and I'm just proud to be associated with all of these talented next generation chefs and their superb instructors, both here in Charlotte and also in Providence, Denver, and Miami.
I just finished the submission draft for my next book on some of the things you have had sneak previews of here on Pizza Quest, most notably the ascension of sprouted wheat and other sprouted grain flours. My prediction for the coming year includes two "you read it here first" tips: The first is that the word of the year for 2014 will be "gut health" (okay, that's two words, but one idea -- I guarantee you will be seeing that phrase everywhere you turn). The second is, as noted above, sprouted grain flour. It's starting to show up on supermarket shelves and, by the time the book comes out in the fall, I expect it will be close to the tipping point. You've been tracking it here for the past two years via some of our Pizza Quest posts but the wave is building so keep an eye out for it. Lots more to come on this topic during the year.
Finally, a special thanks to Brad English and Jeff Michael, my Pizza Quest partners, our whole production team, especially Annette Aryanpour (film editor) and David Wilson (Director of Photography), and to Forno Bravo Ovens for creating this site for us and partnering with us to bring you Pizza Quest. May 2014 be a big year for all of them, and for all of you!!