Friday, August 2, 2013

Sullivan and Son-Bacon Pizza!

The amazing cast of "Sullivan and Son"

Food Porn at its Best


Food porn is a glamorized visual presentation of food in every type of visual media. Usually it involves foods boasting a high fat and calorie content or exotic dishes that arouse a desire to eat or cook. Food porn often takes the form of food photography and styling that presents food provocatively, in a similar way to fashion photography or pornography. 

When you think about it, what is more delicious than a photograph of a cheeseburger dripping with ketchup, special sauce, cheese, lettuce, grilled onions, and tomatoes weighing just enough to squeeze out little spurts of mustardy mayo deliciousness?

Imagine a flourless chocolate cake that oozes molten chocolate onto the plate mixing with a mint creme anglaise and raspberry coulis with fresh sugared raspberries dancing around nearby. And who these days doesn’t love bacon? We now have bacon butter, bacon donuts, bacon cupcakes, bacon lollipops, and of course the old standby... bacon pizza.

What better example could there be than a recent assignment where I was asked to produce 30 pizzas so bacon-y and decadent that the bacon had to be baked INTO the crust, for the comedy TV hit, “Sullivan and Son”. In this particular episode comedian Ken Jeong (Hangover trilogy, The Office, Knocked Up) played a depressive urologist, and at the prompting of his friends discovers the miracle of pizza washed down with many sake bombs. He exclaims drunkenly, "beer and pizza! Does anyone know about this combination?” The funny thing is that Ken Jeong actually is a doctor and an amazing comedic actor who graduated with his MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.. But back to Bacon pizza...

In this episode, Brian Doyal Murray, a bar regular, is supposed to be scarfing down the bacon pizza, and we were called in to produce this tasty prop. My team and I sourced out the best Pizzeria for the job as the producers were very specific about having a perfectly round pizza dripping with bacon and cheese that looked exactly the same in every shot, which is never an easy task.  In food styling there is something called continuity. If the principal actor is eating a slice of pizza it has to be replicated exactly as it was in the first ten takes (then the next 10 takes often using a spit bucket), but back to delicious food and the need for 30 perfect pies.

After calling 25 pizza places, we found “Pizza Cookery”, in Woodlands Hills CA, They were personal friends of one of my amazing assistants, Skyler Thomson and the only ones that would bake cheese and bacon into the crust as well as on the surface. It still took three tries (driving out to Woodland Hills each time) to get them close to the effect that we wanted for the camera. After arriving at the set we had to strategically place tons of perfectly baked, sliced and shined up pieces of bacon onto the slice to make it look truly mouth watering.  Check our next blog for tricks on the road to shininess...

Bacon Pizza is the perfect food porn. With a calorie content of 2,340 and enough saturated fat to clog any artery, it is just tempting enough, with its great color and visual appeal (accented with Pam), to look irresistible. We knew we had succeeded because it was difficult to fend off the crew from eating the props throughout the shooting.  In fact everyone in the cast and crew got to eat tons of bacon pizza leading to a truly happy ending again, in the life of LA’s most sought after food stylist.

Artisan Pizza
Sophie Clark, (of "Sophie's Choice” and another of my great assistants) is a pizza maven extraordinaire. We wanted to include an updated delicious classic and much healthier version of bacon pizza that involves prosciutto, shaved brussel sprouts, home made mozzarella, and tiny little farm to table red and orange button tomatoes.

Homemade prosciutto and shaved brussel sprout pizza. 
Topped with red and orange button tomatoes.
2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
5-6 shaved burssel sprouts
½ lb. shredded mozzarella
8-10 small button tomatoes, sliced in half
1 portion of dough from recipe above
Sauce from recipe above
¼ cup cornmeal

Pre-heat oven to 500° Fahrenheit with pizza stone on the top rack.
Once the oven has heated up, roll out the dough on a floured surface to form a circle. Spread the cornmeal out evenly onto the pizza peel. Place the rolled out dough on top of cornmeal dusted peel. Cover the dough in a thin layer of sauce, and then layer with mozzarella.  Cover with shredded brussel sprouts and sprinkle tomato halves. Arrange the prosciutto to cover the pizza. Gently shimmy the pizza from the peel to the pizza stone. Cook for 8-9 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is golden and slightly crispy.

Pizza Dough
(If you’re short on time, you can pick up fresh dough at most whole foods, some pizza restaurants will even sell you their dough!)
2 ¼ cups warm water (divided)
2 tbs. granulated sugar
3 packages, or 2 tbs. + ¾ tsp. active dry yeast
1 tbs. coarse salt
about 5 cups bread flour, plus more for rolling/kneading **Note- using bread flour will give you a much crispier crust. If you can’t find bread flour, you can substitute all-purpose flour, which will give you a chewier crust.**
1 ½ tbs. extra virgin olive oil
(makes 4 medium or 6 small pizzas)

Wisk together ¾ cup of the warm water and the yeast in a large bowl and let stand until the surface has a few little bubbles and is creamy (about 5 minutes). Add 1 ½ cups water, 3 ¾ cup of flour, olive oil, sugar, and salt and stir until smooth. White stiring gradually add up to another cup of flour until the dough starts to pull itself from the edges of the bowl. Dump the dough on a generously floured surface and knead until it’s elastic and smooth- about 8 minutes of hard work. Dust the surface with flour, as you need it. Form the kneaded dough into a ball, dust with flour, place in a large bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled, about an hour.  Once the dough has doubled, turn it out onto a floured surface and gently knead again to form a ball. Divide into equal pieces. (At this point you can freeze dough you’re not using-freezes for up to 2 months in Ziploc bags.) Cover the dough your using with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rest for 10-15 minutes. To assemble pizzas, stretch dough out with your fingers or with a rolling pin until quite thin.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
(Again, if you’re in a rush, no shame in picking up a jar of pizza sauce! There are some great ones out there)
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
2 tbs. minced shallot
1 tsb. red chili flakes
½ tsp. granulated sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
(makes enough for 2 medium pizzas)

Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic, shallot, and chili flakes. Sautee for 2-3 minutes constantly stirring, you want to soften them, not make tem crispy. Add tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir and let simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.  Blend using food processor or immersion blender. Let cool, at least slightly, before using on pizza.


Hey Everyone, 
Sticking with our pizza food porn theme of the week, I've got a great little pizza place I'd like to share with you. It's called Olio Wood Fired Pizzeria and it's located in the Mid-City West area of Los Angeles, relatively close to LACMA. We wandered into to this charming pizzeria for the first time on a whim while killing time before a movie. One look at the menu (and their huge wood burning pizza oven) and I knew I had to try it. Before even getting into the pizza we decided to order their appetizer of wood fired olives (I'm literally drooling just thinking about them). They're marinated in garlic, lemon juice, and herbs, then roasted in the pizza oven. They are to die for.. slightly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, unlike any olive I've ever tried. I was so caught up in the olives I had almost forgotten about our wild mushroom and crispy prosciutto pizza that was on the way. That is, until it landed on our table oozing truffled cheese and prosciutto goodness. It's cooked to perfection and arrives to you with gorgeously blistered edges and crispy, crunchy prosciutto packed with flavor. The crust is thin and crispy, slightly chewy. The toppings are light and don't weigh the thin crust down.. Really classic Italian pizza.
Olio has quickly become one of my favorite pizza spots in Los Angeles. Try it and I'm sure you'll feel the same way!

No comments:

Post a Comment