In your opinion, does the sauce looked cooked to you?
In answer to your question, I would say no. And, in that vein, all I can do is tell you the logic and analysis I applied to arrive at that answer.
First, since Heinz was one of the major creditors in the Giordano's bankruptcy proceedings, and since the Giordano's pizzas or their quality were not the reason for the bankruptcy filing, I believe that Giordano's is still using Heinz tomato products. And since it has long been reported that Giordano's was using 6-in-1 ground tomatoes, which is an Escalon product, I believe that Giordano's continues to use Escalon products. I would rule out Stanislaus as a supplier, or at least a main supplier, and not because Stanislaus was not a creditor in the Giordano's bankruptcy proceedings, but rather because Stanislaus specifies that its tomato products contain "naturally derived citric acid". See, for example, the ingredients list for the Stanislaus Alta Cucina Whole Peeled Plum Tomatoes at http://www.stanislaus.com/_pdfs/Alta-Cucina-Plum-Tomatoes.pdf
. By contradistinction, Escalon clearly emphasizes that it never adds citric acid to its tomatoes. See, for example, the discussion of citric acid at Escalon at http://www.escalon.net/escalon-difference.aspx
. The foregoing does not mean that the Escalon tomatoes do not have naturally occurring citric acid. They do but the lack of mention of citric acid in the ingredients list in Reply 3 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=29776.msg297991#msg297991
leads me to believe that Giordano's is using the Heinz/Escalon tomato products. In my experience, when pizza operators use Stanislaus tomatoes, they usually quote from the Stanislaus ingredients lists and mention the citric acid.
Second, after having read hundreds of posts on pizza sauces over the years at the PMQ Think Tank where the sauces were based on using the Stanislaus and Escalon tomato products, I am hard pressed to recall that sauces based on those products were ever cooked. It is important to keep in mind that, as fresh pack tomatoes that are processed within about six hours of harvest, the fresh pack tomatoes are more expensive than most other canned tomatoes, to the point of adding several cents per typical pizza (e.g., a 16" pizza). And because the tomatoes have a fresher and more natural taste, there is little reason to cook them since that will destroy some of that natural tomato taste. In practice, most pizza operators who use fresh pack tomatoes might use one or two fresh pack tomato products and simply add a few spices or spice pack to those products and perhaps a bit of oil and maybe grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheeses. They might also add water, which Stanislaus frowns upon (but Escalon does not), but there is no cooking.
Third, to buttress the foregoing analysis, if you look at the pizza sauce recipes at Stanislaus, at http://www.stanislaus.com/family-recipes/recipe-search-result?page=1
, and also the pizza sauce recipes at Escalon, at http://www.escalon.net/recipes/Pizza_Sauces
, you will not find a single sauce recipe where the tomatoes are cooked. You will find that other ingredients might be cooked, but not the tomatoes themselves. You might also find this PMQ Think Tank post of interest in relation to the foregoing: http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=7199&p=48295&hilit=stanislaus#p48295
Is it possible that I am wrong? Yes, it is. As long as a pizza operator has a stove and tomatoes, the thought might occur at some point to cook the sauce, even when using fresh pack tomatoes. But, as a major pizza operator with access to professional help from its suppliers of products for its pizzas, I am disinclined to believe that Giordano's is cooking its pizza sauces. I also believe that Giordano's tries to keep things as simple and uncomplicated as possible, and this becomes even more important as it tries to grow its store count from the mid-forties to around 100 stores in the next few years as it has reported in press releases. My guess is that they are using a fairly basic spice pack. It might be a customized spice pack from someone like spicetec (a unit of ConAgra, at http://www.spicetec.com/
) or it might be an off-the-shelf spice pack. I mention spicetec only because its spices are sold by Greco & Sons who were also creditors in the Giordano's bankruptcy proceeding (see http://net3.necs.com/grecoandsons/search?offset=0&limit=60&col=item_no&dir=ASC&terms=spices&queryCol=
). You might also note the simplicity of the spices in the Chicago Deep-Dish and Chicago Stuffed Pizza sauce recipes at the Escalon and Stanislaus websites as referenced above.