Chefs Weigh In: Is Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Really Pizza?

last Fall, in a pizza rant hear around the global, the Daily Show ‘s Jon Stewart went after Chicago deep dish pizza. “ This is not pizza, ” he said. “ This is tomato soup in a bread bowl. This is an above ground marinara swimming pool for rats. ” naturally, that set off another round of argument in the big New York-Chicago competition, with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel sending Stewart a “ dead pisces ” thick smasher pizza. Chefs across the nation were taking sides on Twitter. And, good this workweek, Eater Chicago asked some celebrated Chicago residents to talk about what they perceive as New York ‘s “ dismissive ” attitude toward Chicago pizza. Although Stewart late invited the owner of Chicago ‘s celebrated Lou Malnati ‘s in to declare a armistice, his main point remains a interview among the chef community : Is Chicago deep dish pizza actually pizza?
hera immediately, chefs and restaurateurs Graham Elliot ( Graham Elliot Bistro, Chicago ), David Posey ( Blackbird, Chicago ), Mathieu Palombino ( Motorino, New York City ), and Andrew Zimmern ( AZ Canteen, Minneapolis ) weigh in on the issue .

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Graham Elliot

Graham Elliot Bistro, Chicago
Is Chicago pizza actually pizza?
I think that Jon Stewart reasonably much nailed it when he had his blow-up on the Daily Show. I ‘ve lived in Chicago now for 15 years, so I kind of feel like it ‘s my assume town because I was raised in the Navy, I ‘ve been to all 50 states and did n’t very have a home. But I can easily say, as much pride and sleep together I have for Chicago, the deep smasher pizza here is absolutely an abomination .
Why is that?

I feel like it’s a lasagna with a crust.

I ‘ve never been a sports fan. I feel like it ‘s a lasagna with a crust. The best pizza in the area is New York. Being able to grab a slice, hold it and be on your way is delectable, it ‘s amazing, it ‘s a great balance. And then here, the crust it ‘s besides heavy. The cheese is just a boastfully thickly goopy mess. I ‘m equitable not a winnow at all of deep serve pizza. The merely pizza in Chicago that I very am a fan of is Pequod ‘s, which I do n’t know if you would even technically call it thick smasher, but they leave it in the oven so it gets a bootleg burn top of the cheese, and I think that ‘s pretty aplomb, pretty tasty .
That does sound good. What is your definition of pizza?
The theme with pizza for me is less is more. Being able to take a great dough, topping it with whatever is available at its flower — and I know it sounds generic, I ‘m not talking farm-to-table and all that, but literally going back to Italy and fair, okay, here ‘s some tomato and some basil, a small piece of cheese, we ‘re going to throw it in a billion-degree oven for a moment and then take it out and you ‘re good to go. That ‘s great. Mozza in LA, we hit that up like once a week when we ‘re out there filming Masterchef. It ‘s merely perfectly done. It ‘s kind of what I rate early things against .
And, finally, what do you make of the whole debate? Should we stop calling Chicago pizza pizza?
I do n’t know if they ‘ve got to rework the terminology. I think that Chicago is proud of its deep smasher inheritance because it ‘s one thing that we can claim as ours. But, again, just from my point of view, it ‘s like its own eldritch creation. Maybe it ‘s because of the weather and you need something bigger and heartier or it was something barely to be unlike, but yeah, I ‘m not a fan of deep dish .
But even worse than deep smasher is pizza places that make the pizza on a sheet pan so that it ‘s a squarely so that you do n’t get any crust per assemble. There ‘s a fortune of that here, excessively. So you get this firecracker with a top-flight and then if you get it in the middle, you get the hot melt fuckin ‘ lava of cheese and sauce on your hired hand. You ‘ve got to have a handle. You ‘ve got to have that crust to hold. So I ‘m not a sports fan of that either. so I think a set of times if you order pizza in Chicago and you get it delivered, there ‘s a 50/50 prospect and you ‘ve got your fingers crossed hoping and praying that you ‘re going to get this round delicious one and then you open and it ‘s a public square and you ‘re like, “ God dammit, they got me again. ”
Like I said, Chicago ‘s got great hot dogs, italian gripe, a lot of the food, it ‘s not great for you and it ‘s not refined, but it ‘s a bad part of the food scenery here. But pizza, yeah, I do n’t have a lot of love for .
[ photograph : Graham Elliot ]


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David Posey

Blackbird, Chicago
Is Chicago pizza actually pizza?
I do not think it ‘s pizza, no .
Why not?
I do n’t in truth know why. I merely more consider it a casserole. It has all the makings of a pizza, but it just does n’t feel like thin-crust Neapolitan or Roman-style pizza .
Well, what to you is the definition of a pizza?
To me, it has to be thing, have a little measure of toppings, so like sauces and cheese. And I consider it hand-held, even though I know there are styles of pizza from Italy that are not hand-held .
What do you make of the whole debate about it?
I think it ‘s kind of speechless. Kind of a waste of time .
Why is that?

Both are good. One is pizza; one is not.

Both are good. One is pizza ; one is not .
Did people in Chicago care when Jon Stewart went on that rant?
I did n’t hear anything about it. I mean, I guess they entirely care in terms of like making a big joke out of it .
Some people were saying that really the debate just shows the New York people care more about it. Do you agree?
I would agree with that, yeah .
[ photograph : colleen Hayes/ Blackbird ]



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Mathieu Palombino

Motorino, New York City
Is Chicago pizza actually pizza to you?
To me, it looks more like a coat than a pizza. I do n’t think I always had one slice of it. I ‘m sure it sells real dear. I ‘m certain it ‘s good, but I like the Neapolitan-style pizza. I like the thin pizza, precisely popping out of the oven. I do n’t think there is a lot improvement to be made to this. I guess deep dish, it ‘s an evolution of pizza. I have n’t very tasted it. I ‘m not criticizing it. I might like it identical much actually, who knows ?
Do you think it should be called pizza or something else?

It’s not for me to say it shouldn’t be called pizza.

Yeah. I mean, it ‘s not for me to say it should n’t be called pizza. Some people call it Chicago-style pizza. It is what it is. Yeah, certain. If I go to Chicago, I ‘ll be trying that for certain. Yes, it is a pizza. I would n’t dare say no, this is not a pizza. Because there are people who like it and like doing it. I very have to try it .
What, to you, is the definition of a pizza?
To me, a pizza is a musical composition of boodle topped with some tomato, some fragrant olive oil and some strong pecorino and just laying on the floor of a ragingly hot pizza oven for a few seconds. It comes out. It goes from the raw stage of everything to the fudge stage within less than a hour. It ‘s like that. That ‘s my definition of what a pizza is .
It ‘s something highly dim-witted. It ‘s a beautiful thing in its own, the pizza. The fact that it goes from being not born and uncooked and precisely a moment after being this thing that ‘s alive. It ‘s amazing. It truly is amazing. I can watch them passing by all day long. From one moment to another, see what happens with the boodle and those tomatoes. It ‘s a beautiful smasher. It ‘s a beautiful smasher .
[ photograph : Daniel Krieger ]


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Andrew Zimmern

AZ Canteen, Minneapolis
Is Chicago pizza actually pizza?
No. It ‘s fantastic food. It ‘s unbelievably delectable. I do n’t think it ‘s pizza ; however, I think that they should call it pizza, a lot in the same way that patty melts are besides considered hamburgers .
Hmm. Why?
I ‘m not sure there ‘s a set of logic here. I ‘m barely bringing 52 years of hard-core thinking about this issue. I ‘m a born-and-bred New Yorker. There ‘s the pizzeria napoletana that comes in a small format cut into little triangles ; there ‘s a larger format, the ceremonious New York City street slice, as we like to call it. To me, that ‘s pizza, much in the like means that something that is a pizza that ‘s rolled over into a half moon and baked is not pizza ; it ‘s a calzone, despite it having the same ingredients .

My problem with Chicago-style pizza is that the deep dish thing is a pie.

My problem with Chicago-style pizza is that the deep dish thing is a proto-indo european. It is a savory proto-indo european of tomato and cheese. I ‘m not a sports fan of the deep cup of tea have or the crust. I think it ‘s delightful on its own. To me, pizza is what I get when I ‘m in New York or several early restaurants that honor that custom. My personal touch is it ‘s merely not pizza .
When person says to me, “ Well, should they call it that ? ” I say, “ Yes, they can call it that, ” because I do n’t have a problem if person made a patty melt and said it ‘s a hamburger. At a certain orient, anything with bread on the outside and a burger on the inside is conventionally today, in 2014 America, called a hamburger. So is anything that has a crust, tomato sauce, and cheese called pizza. I think, sadly, that sawhorse left the barn decades ago .
So there’s no point in fighting it?
I do n’t think there ‘s any distributor point in fighting the label Nazis. I could care less. From a personal point of view, pizza is what I get on the streets of New York or at my local pizzeria here in Minneapolis. When I say “ pizza ” to you, I know what you ‘re thinking of in your heed. That ‘s what I ‘m thinking of in my mind. It ‘s like the Supreme Court definition of pornography. I know it when I see it .
Right. Do you think that the people of Chicago, or at least those who are purveyors of deep dish, care about this debate?
No. I hope they do n’t care. I think they love the fun of the controversy ampere well. I ‘m just always confused when people tell me how drop-dead fantastic it is. I ‘ve had some deep dish Chicago pies that I ‘ve liked better than others. The conventional one, I do n’t like the crust. It ‘s like buttery shortbread, or it ‘s excessively greasy. Because of the way it bakes and takes such a farseeing time, it changes the nature of the cheese .
I like wood-fired pizzeria pizza. Secondarily, I ‘ll take them made in a pack of cards oven. I like that slender crust. I prefer the true pizza experience rather than the Chicago pizza proto-indo european experience … as an eater, as a dining car .
Why do you think that this debate keeps coming up?
Because everyone in Chicago and New York loves to bust each early ‘s balls. badly. I was skewered by my friends in New York, and I ‘m in the hot dog business. I actually sell blistering dogs for a living. Chicago is a better hot andiron city than New York. People think that ‘s profanation to say. There ‘s more hot chase restaurants — I ‘m not talking about carts ; I ‘m just talking about places to eat hot dogs in Chicago — per head than any other city in the world, or something like that data. Certainly in America .
The Chicago-style pawl does n’t upset me, because they ‘re not changing anything there. That ‘s just a topping topic. I ‘m a sauerkraut and brown mustard guy on my hot frank. That ‘s my way to eat them. But when I ‘m in Chicago, I love eating a Chicago dog. It ‘s equitable a different put of toppings .
The Chicago pie versus a conventional New York pizza is a much different merchandise entirely, which is why my personal point of view is that it ‘s not pizza. If they want to call it that, they ‘ve got the ingredients there. They can call it that, much in the like way that patty melts are burgers.

[ photograph : AndrewZimmern.com ]


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