When Hulu announced that its pizza-focused culinary competition, Best in Dough, was ready to hit the oven, many people were hungry to stare at the screen. As a universally enjoyed food, many people wondered how these cooks would transform that classic slice. Although each episode might have its share of unusual ingredients, head judge Daniele Uditi, from Pizzana, is ready to slice up a food mantra that will have everyone gathering around the table.
As the chef who brought his infamous “slow dough” Neo Neapolitan pizzas to Los Angeles via Pizzana, Chef Uditi appreciates that pizza is a craft. While many people have come to learn that not all pizzas are created equal, few pizza restaurants have had Jonathan Gold revere its pies as some of the best in the world. From his Naples heritage to his family’s bakery business, Uditi has kneaded all that insight into some of the most memorable pizzas in the world.
On the Hulu show, Best in Dough, Daniele Uditi seemed to understand that this food program was going to stretch the idea of what pizza could be. With a little humor along the way, one element seems to connect each and every competitor.
During a recent conversation with FoodSided, Danielle Uditi said, “pizza is the perfect vessel where you can tell a story.” That sentiment seems to be similar to the concept that many chefs have asserted, food is a unifier.
Uditi continued to share, “I came to Los Angeles 12 years ago and the pizza scene was almost non-existent. I decided to just go to the farmer’s market, take fresh ingredients and make pizza the same way that I used to in Naples Italy. Even if people though that it was fresh or different, that something new was a perfect vessel for people to tell the story. In every culture, there is at least one flatbread.”
While ingredients, flavors and names can vary greatly, his point is clear. Pizza is that universal food. Although an impeccable pizza is much better than a bland one, there is a common thread rolled into each dough.
For Chef Uditi, it is the versatility that pizza offers which celebrates the chef’s creativity. He explained that “the very simple margarita pizza could be the best thing you’ve ever had. Or truffles and caviar can be over the top. Simple or rustic, the amazing thing about pizzas is that a chef can go in any direction.”
That culinary creativity is on display in each episode of Best in Dough. As Chef Uditi revealed, there may be no limit to the ingredients that could be used on pizza. He said, “if you think about pizza as a flat bread, different cultures put every ingredient on the bread. I do not think that there should be a limit on what you can put on pizza.”
When asked about the worst pizza topping, Chef Uditi did admit that “everybody’s expecting me to say pineapple, right?” He recalled the saying, “a person who puts pineapple on a pizza and an Italian man dies.” Although extreme, that analogy adds to the pineapple and pizza divisiveness.
In the end, the best advice that Chef Uditi can give pizza lovers is to focus on the ingredients. He loves a great cheese imported from Naples. For him, “it is the best cheese that you can ever put on a pizza.” From the melting factor to the flavor, the simplicity of a great ingredient comes through in every bite.
As another episode of Best in Dough airs, it is time to roll out the dough, grab some sauce and a few toppings. The oven is ready, and a bite of deliciousness is waiting to be enjoyed. Even if that flavor combination is unexpected, the conversation it sparks will not leave you hungry.