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Pizza Pie Tips from Chef James Dumapit

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All pizza is not created equally. It’s just not. Between varying styles of crust and ridiculous flavor combinations (I’m looking at you, Papa John’s Frito Pie Pizza), some pizza is just plain bad. In an effort to challenge his culinary skills, Chef James Dumapit of Uchiko established Pizza Sunday. While not readily available to the public, every Sunday for the past few months the staff at Ko looks forward to a buffet of pizza before service begins.

Each week, Chef James experiments with various flours, toppings and techniques in hopes to perfect his pie making skills. After doing a dough demo for Uchiko’s all staff meeting earlier this month, I asked James to give me the low on the dough. While he humbly disclaimers he is ‘not an expert by any stretch of the imagination’ he wasn’t shy to share his knowledge. Below are some tips for beginning pizzaiolo’s, compliments of the chef.

pizza pie

Never taking it too seriously, Chef James rolled out custom pizza boxes. For authenticity purposes, of course. Photo by Stephanie Dres.

 

  1. flour matters.

Specifically, protein content is a defining factor of what makes for a quality pizza dough. It’s also a “right tool for the right job” kind of thing where different styles of flour can really play a role in how your end product develops. I like using King Arthur, Sir Lancelot Hi-Gluten Flour and All Trumps Unbleached, Unbromated Flour, both of which are available on the internet in small enough increments. Both also contain about 14% protein, which means that they’re perfect flours for making my favorite style of pizza-New York Style- which typically has a degree of chewiness to the crust and a crispy finish.

2. INVEST IN A BAKING STEEL.

My favorite thing about a good slice of pizza is biting into a nice burnished, well baked crust. Mimicking a real deal pizza oven is a tall order, but using a pizza stone or a baking steel is one way to get the job done. I prefer baking steels because they’re easy to clean, very conductive, and not terribly expensive.
3. AND A PIZZA PEEL.

It might seem like overkill but transferring a pizza to and from an oven can be a pain without one. You can end up with misshapen pies or a floor full of hot cheese. Also, it feels a little more authentic and makes you look like you take shit seriously, which you should be.

4. BUT NOT TOO SERIOUSLY.

It’s pizza. As long as you end up with bread and cheese and sauce and maybe some other stuff, you’ll be straight.

pizza pie

Chef James Dumapit. Photo compliments of Hai Hospitality.

While their won’t be any pizza on the menu, you can catch Chef James this coming Sunday, July 24th at Apis Restaurant and Apiary where he will be participating in their guest chef series, Beyond the Hive. Seats are limited and reservations are required. For more information and reservation, click here.

Thanks for sharing, Chef!

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