Friday, November 1, 2013

KickStarter Results, Hawaii, Pushing 50, & Farmer's Market

Neapolitan Dream

Although I did not reach my goals in the KickStarter project, I learned that there are quite a few local folks in Charlottesville who want to see a wood fire oven serving Neapolitan pizzas on Saturdays at the Farmer's Market! A great lesson, indeed. It was very inspiring to hear a woman yearn for an authentic Neapolitan pizza after experiencing it while living in Northern VA (Pupatella). Another tasted a Pizza Margherita in Naples and hoped that he could taste it again, closer to home.  An American couple currently living in Brazil reached out to me, hoping to taste the culinary delight of Naples upon their relocation to Central Virginia next year. Then, there are folks (total strangers) who wanted to support the project for the sake of supporting a great idea!  There were out-of-towner foodie supporters who reached out for my success just because. Big hearts, if I may say so.

Dolphins in Lahaina

This summer was spent with family in Paradise. I didn't make any pizza during the summer months, but enjoyed several slices at Flatbread's in Paia.  A sister company to the Flatbread's in Portland, ME, they offer thin crust pizza baked in a wood fire oven, specializing in local Maui farm ingredients.  Fresh and ono! (delicious in Hawaiian). However, a day in Maui didn't pass by without thinking what's the next step for me.  Will I continue to make pizza as a passionate hobby? Should I wait to open a pizzeria once we eventually move to Maui? Or maybe, start small by offering Neapolitan pizzas in a mobile wood fire oven in Charlottesville, as originally planned?

Paulie Gee's

I learn about pizza owners like Paulie Giannone in Brooklyn who was passionate about pizza making while holding a computer job for 20+ years. He built a wood fire oven in his backyard, and started feeding his friends with his own creation of NY pizzas. Like him, I enjoy cooking and feeding people!  Nothing wrong with that.   After much encouragement and passion for doing something different, he opened Paulie Gee's, a now-famous pizzeria in Greenpoint offering one of the best NY style pizza in New York! I'm not saying that I am ready to quit my job giving anesthesia.  I am still passionate about passing gas, but I am just as passionate feeding people with my pizza!

I have met (and read about)  talented cooks and bakers who have this wonderful story of growing up with their nonna (grandmother) in the countryside baking cookies,  or memories of a wonderful kitchen filled with cinnamon scent in the air.  Unfortunately, I don't have a nostalgic story to share.   I grew up with an unlimited supply of chicken and pork adobo (flavored with garlic, soy sauce and vinegar) and deep-fried lumpia (egg rolls). In high school, I had my share of responsibility of cooking family dinners with frozen foods and canned goods.  So we all have to start somewhere.

Thanks to my college friends of varying heritage and ethnicity, I learned to appreciate and savor the flavors of Indian, Italian, Swiss and, of course, good old American home cooking by my step-grandparents who were of German descent. There were family dinners with my college girlfriends and their families that helped expand my curious palate.  Thanks to the Bhaduri, Boolukos, Savet, and Johnson families who took me under their wings during holiday dinners when I had no place else to go. Early on, I appreciated how food truly does nurture the soul.  Who knows, I must love feeding others now since I truly appreciated and valued a good meal when it was offered to me. That's my psychological take on my craziness to start a wood fire oven business and feed the masses.

Spring Chickens

I met up with an old friend last week who reminded me that we're not spring chickens any longer.  I must agree with Lynn. While we are both turning fifty next year and sometimes feel it, we sure don't act like it!  Yet, I'm not sure how much longer my stamina will last once I reach that arbitrary number of middle age. Then again, that's why you hire spring chickens to help haul dough trays and heavy equipment! So the fact that Paulie Gionnone grabbed life by the balls and followed his dream, and being reminded that I'm not getting any younger, what am I waiting for?

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