Ryan, one could argue that the vast majority of people aren't as obsessed about pizza as we are, and Slice caters to this demographic, but I think the bigger reason is that the online public responds far more favorably to food photography than it does to reading about food. Pizzamaking has plenty of food porn, but it's not front and center like Slice. It's like going to a dentist office and having a Tale of Two Cities and a copy of Time Magazine on the table. Which are people more likely to read?
In order to get the most out of this site, you have no choice but to read- a lot. And that quantity of reading is only going to be appealing to a very small section of the public. Because of the highly visual nature of Slice, they will always top pizzamaking in Alexa ratings. But for those that really want to learn, though, I would hope that they would come here.
My relatively new found faith in Kenji stems from four factors:
He baked this up, in his KettlePizza Insert
, two months ago. Neither Alton Brown, Heston Blumenthal, Chris Young, or Peter Reinhart could EVER make a pie like this. For anyone on this forum, this pizza would have been a life changing experience. We would go to tremendous lengths to understand what elements created this pizza and put in countless hours making sure that we could repeat it at will. I think we would also, if we were teaching other people how to make pizza, we'd teach them how to make this pie (or, if someone were looking for something especially simple, we'd at least nudge them in this direction). Just because Kenji has caught a glimpse of the light but still hasn't completely converted to our religion, it still doesn't mean that the seed hasn't been planted. You cannot make a pizza of that caliber and forever remain gung ho about teaching people to make 13 minute pizzas. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, he's got to fully process that experience and begin encouraging his disciples to strive for something more.
That pizza might not have been immediately life altering for Kenji, but it was life altering for me. Prior to that, I thought Kenji was destined to become another Alton Brown. The second I saw that pie, though, I had hope.
2. As much as NY pizza has suffered over the years, Kenji, being in this area, still has access to some great places. He can hop on a bus and come out to Pizza Town or take a subway out to New Park. There's also, as we know, a lot of solid Neapolitan places that can further shape his perspective. He's probably been to hundreds of pizzerias, and he still considers the empty pizzeria on the ground floor of the Serious Eats offices to be representative of NY style, but I think a trip to New Park could cure that.
3. While I think Kenji's adoring public gets in the way of his learning, he comes in contact with some tremendously brilliant people. He could learn a tremendous amount from Adam Kuban and the other contributors to Slice.
4. In non pizza areas, Kenji is effin brilliant. I was just reading this article earlier today:http://www.seriouseats.com/2012/07/the-food-lab-how-to-make-a-chick-fil-a-sandwich-at-home.html
From the balanced, non fear mongering perspective on MSG to the incredible sleuthing he does to reverse engineer the recipe, I was in awe- and I'm rarely ever in awe. If he can take a fraction of this intelligence and apply it to pizza, we will have one of the most important contributors to pizza of this century.
Numbers count. Slice gets way too many page visits to overlook it's importance. Between his Alexa ranking, his scientific mind, his ability to make a stellar pizza, the people near him and his potential exposure to great pizza, Kenji has too much going for him to continue on this course of mediocrity. I can't guarantee that he will rise to his full potential, but, out of the people in the industry that could do great things, he instills the greatest hope.