Jim Lahey Pontificates on Pizza
I sought to open Co., to create this organic place. What I mean is, I don't ask my kitchen staff to manipulate ingredients to fit some pre-exisiting ideal of how a pizza should look. We don't place each piece of cheese perfectly on a pie--where it lands, it lands. Our menu tells guests: "Our Pies are Not Always Round." It's a joke but it isn't. People expect pies to be round. They expect each slice to have 3.5 pieces of pepperoni. I'll never serve what people think is a pepperoni pie....
Forcing a pizza, or anything, to fit into a perfectly round circle takes away from the pleasure of cooking. It compromises the integrity of the ingredients. While my roots are in Italy and the Roman and Neapolitan styles have influenced me greatly, that's not what I want Co. to be. My pies are my bread. Co. is Jim Lahey's version of the modern day global pizza parlor, not a modern day Italian pizza restaurant. But as Co. grows and I grow to create a full cyclical menu with seasonal pies, I think the guests of Co. will begin to understand what we are.
[Hat tip to Daniel Z.]