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Brothers making pizza


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Here in Chicago, I met a (black) New Yorker who said he was stunned when, passing by a downtown pizza joint, he saw black people in the kitchen preparing pizza. He blurted out, "In New York, you never see a brother makin' a pizza!" :shock: He continued, "I wouldn't trust (the pizza). In NYC, it could be the depths of Spanish Harlem, the worst section of the Bronx, but they bring in an Italian guy to make the pizza!"

I burst out laughing, :biggrin: as did the guys in the kitchen when I told them the story. Uptight New Yorker, we figured. :biggrin: But yesterday I met another New Yorker--a genuine goomba, this one--and he echoed the sentiment: he wouldn't trust a pizzeria where the food was made by non-Italians.

Now seriously: how hard is it to make a pizza? You roll it out, mark it with a "P," put it in the oven for Luigi and me! :raz: Yes, Steve, I know that making a pizza of the quality at Sally's in New Haven requires skill & training, but is it genetically coded?

Da Bears!!

:laugh:

There are two sides to every story and one side to a Möbius band.

borschtbelt.blogspot.com

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Oh what a coincidence :unsure: I happened to ask in my local Italian restaurant today what nationality the chef was. The waiter (Gino) asked why I was asking. "Because he makes terrific pasta" I said. "OK then" said Gino "he's Albanian". He paused for several seconds and added "But he speaks Italian". :laugh:

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Oh what a coincidence  :unsure:  I happened to ask in my local Italian restaurant today what nationality the chef was. The waiter (Gino) asked why I was asking. "Because he makes terrific pasta" I said. "OK then" said Gino "he's Albanian". He paused for several seconds and added "But he speaks Italian".  :laugh:

In Northern New Jersey at least (and I would assume NYC as well) there are actually a good number of Albanian pizza makers. Of course, none that I know would ever advertise the fact that they're Albanian and some even go so far as to lie to the rest of the staff by claiming to be Italian. In Maine I know of a Greek family running a pizzeria and serving baklava for dessert. Some of the locals I spoke with didn't believe me when I told them it was Greeks making the pizzas.

Many people simply have certain expectations when it comes to specific foods. People expect their sushi chef to look Japanese (even if he's Chinese), people expect their pizza maker to look Italian (even if he's Cuban), and people expect Mexican chefs to look Mexican (even if they're Costa Rican). The thought process is generally that at a lower level of dining one hopes that the cook has grown up with the cuisine and developed experience through the years since it's unlikely that an institutional culinary education was followed. Personally, I would have no problem eating pizza made by someone whose descent is African or Korean or Peruvian, but I've just never seen it in NY or NJ.

Here's a question for everyone though... when was the last time you saw a woman as the main pizza maker?

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In Ottawa most pizza places are run by Lebanese. Actually, a lot of the "Japanese" restos are too. :blink:

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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The branch of "Little Italy Pizza" closest to me is all Russian, or some other former SSR.

A friend in cooking school won a pizza competition; he is 2nd generation Irish-American.

Now, I'm not claiming any of these guys make GREAT pizza. But, then, nobody has yet said that Mario makes great pizza, either. :raz:

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Speaking of bad pizza. The guy who started Papa Johns is from Louisville and still lives here, which is weird because Pizza Hut's parent company, Yum! Foods, is also here. Actually its convenient because they are always suing each other and depositions are easier to schedule this way.

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Dominos was started by an Irish guy.

Hey, Stone, we're talking about PIZZA here. :raz:

Other than the chemical aroma imparted by the box liner, I think they make a decent pizza. But I was a Dominos delivery boy for a while in college, so I'm biased.

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Has anyone tried BASTA PASTA in the Flatiron district it's good Italian cuisine prepared by Japanese chefs and run by Japanese. I mean seriously folks it doesn't take a genius to make pizza or Italian food. But when it comes to sushi I'm sorry but my sushi sensei must be Japanese. Due to the training involved and craft. Ever tried sushi from a Chinese chef - 'nuff said!

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  But when it comes to sushi I'm sorry but my sushi sensei must be Japanese.  Due to the training involved and craft.  Ever tried sushi from a Chinese chef - 'nuff said!

I happen to think chinese and korean sushi chefs do an excellent job, provided they have been trained in the tradtional manner.

Virtually all of the sushi restaurants in New Jersey are owned by either Chinese or Korean families. Very few are owned by Japanese, and for the most part, the ones that do exist are insular and regard caucasian and non-Japanese customers as unwanted aliens, are not customer oriented, and are not as fastidious with cleanliness. Overall, 9 times out of 10, I'd much prefer to be a patron at a Chinese or Korean-managed sushi restaurant. Many of these Chinese and Korean sushi places also hire a Japanese sushi chef to supervise the assistant sushi chefs.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I agree Jason I've had sum of the best sushi from a korean owned management/ sensei since they share a similar sushi dish - kimbab (Korean style). So the craft involved in making Japanese style sushi especially nigiri (Tokyo based) or gaijin special rolls makes a good meal. I've had sum bad sushi experience from a East Village joint (between 1st/ 2nd ave) made from non-trained sushi sensei's. Whom many of them were Chinese and one Mexican. Judging from their lack of crafting a riceball for nigiri sushi at the sushi bar I should have walked out. HINT: You don't build a nigiri sushi two at a time!

I'd rather choose to eat sushi from a Korean establishment than a Chinese but that's just me. I'm surprised to hear about your unwelcome treatment among Japanese sushi restaurants, Jay. Try Yamaguichi East in midtown Manhattan and sit at the bar with Wamasan (sushi sensei) for great sushi experience. Especially his special rolls which may need some translation in their Japanese written menu. Just ask for the 'Wamasan roll'. Majority of their cliente is Japanese and their unbias treatment to non-Japanese is welcome. Even Brandon loved it!

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Manhattan is a WHOLE different ballgame David. If they don't cater to non-Japanese they go out of business!

North Jersey and the burbs are a rather unique situation because in Fort Lee/Edgewater/Palisades Park/Leonia/Englewood/Paramus and in the greater Bergen County area, we have many Korean and Japanese companies with their US offices headquartered here -- Samsung, LG, SHARP, SONY, Toshiba, just to name a few, and many executives and their families stay here for extended periods or settle here permanently. Both of these communities want their taste of home, and as such, have their own restaurants, shopping malls, etc.

However, there are not many Japanese-run restaurants -- naturally because most of the ones here are working for these companies. The Koreans (and to a lesser extent, the Chinese) by and large have capitalized on catering to a mixed Korean and Japanese and American clientele with sushi and combo korean/sushi places (korean food is a popular ethnic cuisine in Japan) -- and have been able to form stable long-standing businesses because the Koreans opt to stay in the US and raise their families whereas many Japanese go back to Japan, typically after a 5 year stay. I've spent 3 years of my professional life on and off working at two Japanese companies, I know the routine quite well.

So for the most part, what Japanese-run businesses that remain are VERY insular, they don't want loud obnoxious gaijin or even Koreans or Chinese walking in and ordering california rolls or tempura-whatver. They dont advertise for the most part and as such, only Japanese know about them. You do get the occasional Japanese business owner that opens a "status" sushi restaurant in a predominantly upper-middle class town (like the very fine Umeya in Cresskill) who caters to everyone, but they are few and far between. The main holdout and last bastion of pure Japanese shopping/eating is of course the Mitsuwa shopping plaza in Edgewater, which could almost be deemed as a tourist attraction, but even that is in decline now that the Han Ah Reum Korean MEGA-supermarket chain opened 4 stores in the area and has terribly undercut their prices on virtually identical goods.

The Japanese are proud, hardworking, and warm people once you get to know them, but for a high tech modern asian culture, they can still be very 13th century compared with their peers.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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NJ isn't my usual turf when eating out unless I'm making a trip to IKEA, Jay. ;-) But usually when I do its often in the Ft. Lee/ Palisades Park area for either Japanese (chirashi or teishoku meal) and Korean (not bbq - too spendy). I'm fairly familar with the Japanese temporary residence there was a time when Ft. Lee was predominantly Japanese. Now it's mostly Koreans. Usually the Japanese eatery aren't advertised in most local papers with the exception of Japanese community newspapers. Many of the waitresses don't speak much english but their menu is printed in non-Japanese. So pointing helps especially if it has pictures (illustration). They're quite good and I haven't got any problems from the eatery without speaking a word of Japanese. I'll have to get back to you via PM the names of the place I tried. Since it's been awhile.

In most Korean/ Japanese restaurant you start with rolls as appetizer then on to the main entree or both especially with jigaes. And Koreans are known to be picky when it comes to sushi. So quality is always maintained.

Mitsuwa was brought out by Koreans before it was formerly called Yaohan (Japanese owned). True it is a tad pricer than Han Ah Reum. But you can't beat their fish selections which you can use to make sashimi. Japanese are known to be more fish eaters than Koreans. But you're get good bargains for filet mignon in bulk at Han Ah Reum since Koreans love beef.

The younger generation of Japanese are fairly easy going but it's the old school traditionist Japanese that needs to change their timid ways.

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