Pizza Quest Globe

Webisode #6: Back to Pizzeria Mozza

Written By Peter Reinhart
Saturday, 29 January 2011 Webisodes

The Difference Between Good and Great

This webisode segment brings us back to Pizzeria Mozza, as we follow the dough from the La Brea Bakery, as shown in the previous two segments, to the waiting hands of Executive Chef Matt Molina and his team of pizzaiolos. So here’s the thing: there really is a difference between good pizza and great pizza and in this segment you’ll get few glimpses into that difference.

I’ve said many times that pizza, even average pizza, is still the most perfect of all foods. But here at Pizza Quest our notion of great pizza (as opposed to good) is defined by one word:

memorable.  There are, perhaps, a relatively small number of places in the world that make truly memorable pizza and the word itself can mean many things to many people. Whether it’s the snap of the crust followed by a creamy, custard-like mouthfeel, the freshness and vibrancy of the sauce, the quality of the topping ingredients, or simply the location and friends you hang with–all of these things contribute to the experience that becomes memorable.  But, when I use the word, I’m referring to places that change your whole notion of how good pizza can be–that raise the bar and re-set the benchmarks, that change the paradigm. Places that make you want to return again and again, to bring your closest friends; places that you can’t get out of your head. I personally know of about ten such places in this country –there are probably more that I still haven’t yet experienced– and the number of such places are growing, for sure. Pizzeria Mozza is one of those places I would place in the paradigm changing realm (as for the others–well, keep checking back here and eventually we’ll get to those). I hope you get a sense of the specialness of these pies as you watch this episode.

One of the most remarkable things about Pizzeria Mozza in particular is the sheer volume of pizzas that they turn out everyday at this benchmark level. As we saw in the LaBrea episodes, they make well over 500 a day; sometimes even 700. Yes, there are two other beautiful wood-fired ovens in the back kitchen to support the one in the open kitchen, but that’s still a lot of pizza and a lot of intensity. The relentlessness of working at that level for such extended periods of time is something that should cause us to ponder and gape in awe. As the saying goes, welcome to the NFL.

Note: We still have one more episode to show you from Pizzeria Mozza, where we sit at the table and talk with Nancy and some fellow pizza freaks about her vision. You saw a few snippets of this on Webisode #1,  but we have more to come. But that’s next time; for now, enjoy Matt Molina and some pretty spectacular pizza!



Jim S,

Is there any chance of you posting the recipe they provided ?



just few comments re mozza pizza. in my experience an oven in 600c or 1000f maximum and 500c minimum. the crust does not burn because the low roof height causes alot of humidity. the pizza bakes in 55-60seconds and burns in 65-70 secs. My hand built oven runs continuously at around 600c
i have never seen an oven man load the oven with a metal peel for obvious reasons.
i saw a turning peel yet the pizzaiolo turned it by hand on the hearth.
why brush the dough with olive oil? let the dough shine in its natural form.
sorry it is rushed, i will comment further and respond to your thoughts.


@Martyn Williams,

The recipe we got is posted here


I should say that it seems like an awful lot of yeast, but the results are pretty good!

Jim S.


No, just responding to the ones you see. Carolynn, in #8, brought up the word pizzaioli. Sometimes, by the time I get to answer one another one has come up. But I haven’t taken any posts down.

Michael Wurzer

Peter, thanks for your responses. As Jim S. mentioned, you responded to a couple of my comments (one about the restaurants and the other about oven temperature) without also approving my comments and so they’re not showing and are probably hung up in the moderation queue or something.

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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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