In The Kitchen

Going Pro

2013 March: Going Pro

Is a professional chef needed in a pizzeria’s kitchen? The performance kitchen at Cane Rosso takes center stage. Built around a wood-fired oven, the workspace is home to leading man Dino Santonicola, the Naples-born master pizzaiolo hired by owner Jay Jerrier to put his restaurant on the map. And he’s not alone –– more attentionMore »

Moneymaking Menu Must

Photo by Rick Daugherty

According to the National Restaurant Association, the most profitable menu items are soft drinks, followed closely by alcoholic drinks and then pastas and pizza. The largest pizzeria chains in the world do not sell alcohol, and until just a few years ago they did not even sell pastas. Yet, they still make a lot ofMore »

Perfect Pasta Prep

Rigatoni al Filo di Fumo

Many of you have contemplated adding pasta to your menu but may still be reluctant. Well it’s time to cast your worries aside. I’ve written about pasta in the past and have even lead demos at International Pizza Expo. My goal now is to bring you through the most important part of making it happenMore »

Menu Engineering

 By: 
Photo by Josh Keown

So much of what happens in a restaurant is creative. All cooks like to think of themselves as artistes. It is, after all, called the culinary arts. But when it comes to the menu, that’s where science kicks in. In fact, too much creativity on a menu can have negative consequences. That isn’t to sayMore »

Respecting The Craft: Dough Recipes

2013 March: Respecting The Craft

Q: I’m looking for a standard American-style pizza dough as well as a standard Italian-style. Can you help with recipes? A: I sure can! Here you go: Standard Classic America High gluten/ High protein flour 100 percent flour 58-60 percent hydration 2 percent sea salt 1 percent oil 1 percent malt/sugar .50-1 percent yeast StandardMore »

2009 April: Pig Out

2009 April: Pig Out

Bacon is back. In the past few months I have come across no fewer than seven food articles in which bacon played either a main role or a supporting role in various dishes. Talk about pigging out. Did you know that there was a “Bacon of the Month Club?” Now you do. And have youMore »

2009 April: Heat it Up

2009 April: Heat it Up

Jalapeños bring heat to pizza while keeping the flavor profile of the pie firmly rooted in the Western Hemisphere. That still leaves an open ethnic range to play in — from Mexican to the broader Latin and from Southwest to Cajun. Although chipotles (dried and smoked jalapeños) may be hogging most of the media limelight,More »

2009 March: Spinach Special

2009 March: Spinach Special

Love it or hate it, spinach has the potential to be a big hit on your menu and can be utilized in appetizers, pizza, pasta and entrées. I have loved spinach since I was a kid. In sixth grade, at recess, when most kids went across the street with their pocket full of change toMore »

2009 February: Going for a Dip

 By: 
2009 February: Going for a Dip

Pizzerias across America have traditionally offered very few creative appetizers on their menus, preferring instead to focus on the pizza itself. In an effort to boost revenues and remain competitive, however, operators say that by offering more appetizers, utilizing ingredients they have on hand, they are able to offer variety without sacrifi cing food cost.More »

2009 February: Fried and True

2009 February: Fried and True

The appetizer section of menus has taken a beating in the many Chicago restaurants I visit every day in my role as chief restaurant critic for the Chicago Sun- Times. I see customers moving away from expensive appetizers (and, believe me, the price of apps have gone through the roof) and moving directly to anMore »