Author Topic: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?  (Read 13058 times)

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Offline The Slice

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2009, 02:12:15 PM »
Congatulations Peter!  Hope to get back up there and see you.. (and eat pizza of course)  :pizza:


Offline pftaylor

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Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #41 on: September 27, 2009, 08:01:32 AM »
Another review just hit with lots of photographs. This time it was written by Andy Huse of Metromix:

http://tampabay.metromix.com/restaurants/restaurant_review/lunch-review-wood-fired/1486368/content

The Slice,
Looking forward to seeing you again. Wood Fired just received its beer and wine license so things have spiced up quite a bit. Folks are enjoying ambiance and killer pies at the same time. To celebrate, we have scheduled our grand opening for next Wednesday and Thursday night. Live entertainment, giveaways, etc.

pacoast,
Interesting question about Wood Fired's dough. Without trying to boast, I can't think of a single thing I have changed on a percentage basis. The dough performed flawlessly at home and was optimized to the best of my ability. It has now demonstrably proven itself commercially. Folks are raving about the crust because it is passionately made with the exact same level of detail and care as when I used to make it at home.

While the dough hasn't changed, I certainly have and for the better I believe. I am now much more balanced in my approach to pizza making and enjoy collaborating with local chefs on exciting topping combinations. The Pizza Lydia is a prominent example of this. Lydia Caldwell, a local Tampa chef, is a huge supporter of Wood Fired. One day she asked if it was okay to add garlic to her Bianca pizza (like she needs my permission!). I replied "why of course."

But knowing she was a chef of some notoriety, I decided to lean against her thinking a little bit and suggested that we should also add sauteed spinach too (garlic and spinach being one of my favorite topping combinations). She then pinged back that if we were to add spinach, we would have to add thinly sliced tomato (wagon wheels). I then suggested to place the ricotta on top of the wagon wheels with the fresh mozzarella lying between them and steadfastly suggested we would have to have caramelized onions to finish the flavor palette. She then suggested we immediately throw that puppy in the venerable Raquel pizza specific oven and that is how the Pizza Lydia was born. The Pizza Lydia is an outright winner. Vegetarians can't order it fast enough and I can't believe how flavorful it is. It also looks beautiful.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline norma427

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2009, 09:06:46 AM »
Peter,
Congratulations on your success.  I just starting reading this thread and all your posts.  You have really worked hard on finding the right ingredients for making your own dough and pizzas. 
Best of wishes in the future!
Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline JConk007

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #43 on: September 27, 2009, 09:29:18 PM »
A picture of Lydia please Peter she sounds wonderful!!
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2010, 04:17:48 PM »
Hi everyone,
Here is the link for my recent TEDx Tampa Bay presentation on pizza:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-91RvTXHm_E&amp;feature=PlayList&amp;p=4257558839BBBD51&amp;index=2" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-91RvTXHm_E&amp;feature=PlayList&amp;p=4257558839BBBD51&amp;index=2</a>

Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #45 on: May 20, 2010, 10:21:05 AM »
It's always good to hear that one of "our own" is making it in the pizza world. The Tampa Trib did a favorable write-up recently on Pete Taylor's place at http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/may/06/fx-building-the-perfect-pizza-at-wood-fired/. Just before I tracked down the article, I received a note from Peter (he had emailed me about the "coffin pizza"  :-D) saying that the lines have been out the door since that article was published.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 10:26:41 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline norma427

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #46 on: May 21, 2010, 08:54:40 AM »
Maybe Peter Taylor would be interested in this article and video about Una Pizza Rustica e Autentica for Sophia Loren.  The video is slow on my computer.  They also talk about San Marzano tomatoes.

http://www.food52.com/blog/747


Norma
Always working and looking for new information!

Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #47 on: May 21, 2010, 10:58:03 AM »
Congrats Pftaylor. Sounds like much well deserved success.  I too have made 2 emergency doughs with a 10% starter or ADY, warm proofed at 80f for 6 hours.  Both pies behaved wonderfully and tasted great.

Offline dmcavanagh

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #48 on: July 25, 2010, 04:22:34 PM »
Hi Pete, I just recently read the "reverse engineering Patsy's" thread and it was eye opening. Good luck with your business, hope to visit when I'm in Florida. I put your restaurant up as a Talk topic on the Serious Eats website, will be interested to hear the responces.

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #49 on: July 26, 2010, 03:24:21 PM »
Thanks dmcavanagh, Jackie Tran, & norma427.

On another note, I have written extensively here that pizza can be a gourmet food. Irrespective of what the chains would like for everyone to believe. As fate would have it, Wood Fired has recently been honored in an article which explores "What is Fine Dining." Who knew pizza could be mentioned in the same sentence with fine dining?
We all did that's who!

Here is the link:
http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/dailyloaf/2010/07/26/what-is-fine-dining/

I think I'll keep on polishing my diamond...

Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #50 on: August 26, 2010, 10:24:27 AM »
It looks like Pete Taylor and his Wood Fired Pizza and Wine Bar continue to do very well judging from the Tampa Tribune ranking his gourmet pizzas as #1 in Tampa: http://tboextra.com/content/2010/aug/25/short-list-best-gourmet-pizza/.

Peter

Offline pftaylor

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Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2010, 08:19:30 AM »
Here's wishing pizzamaking members a frightfully Happy Halloween:
http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftiny.cc%2Foqsdd&h=78cb1
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2011, 06:23:29 PM »
I had the pleasure of speaking recently with Pete Taylor as his Wood-fired Pizza and Wine Bar closes in on two years of operation on June 27. I am pleased to report that Peter is having the time of his life and is loving what he is doing. In fact, as can be seen at his website at http://wood-firedpizza.com/default.aspx, he will soon be opening a second location in downtown St. Petersburg with a new name Pete’s Wood Fired Pizza. If things go well, there may be future expansion of his business and, in this vein, he has been conducting discussions with potential investors with this goal in mind. When I asked him if it was about the money, he said no--it was not about improving his financial condition. He would like to do something that others have not done before. So, he is in a building and collaborative frame of mind but at the same time he wants to have fun and help others to succeed as he succeeds and to give back to the community. He is not interested in a “man and his oven” business model along the lines of a Dom DeMarco or Anthony Mangieri. He respects what they do, but that is not what he wants to do. Peter also mentioned that his best friend, who recenty lost both his wife and his dog, is moving to Florida to help Peter "climb the mountain".

One of the things I have wondered is what he has learned from his almost two years of operation. We spoke at length about this. He said that finding and hiring and retaining good workers has been an ongoing challenge. I thought that he might have talked about the pizza and its critical role in the business. But what most surprised me is that he said that pizza was just a small part of the business. It is an important element, to be sure, but it is not the most important part, at least not in his business. He mentioned that seventy five percent of diners are OK with OK food quality but they will not tolerate poor service or being poorly treated. That was an eye-opener for him. So, Peter has worked very hard on the service and hospitality parts of the business. For example, Peter has set up procedures such that as soon as someone opens the door to his place they are greeted within thirty seconds. Upon seating, drink orders are taken and within thirty seconds to a minute, drinks are on the table, whether it is just water or a $150 bottle of wine. Food is targeted to be on the table within thirty minutes for lunch and forty-five minutes for dinner. Everyone is trained to have this mindset.

Peter also stressed the importance of all of the things that surround the pizza menu. He said that for what he is trying to do it is important to have “killer” appetizers, great homemade desserts and, in his case, good wines and craft beers. He was told by one customer recently that his place has the most comfortable seating of any eating establishment he had ever eaten at. Peter told the customer that he was not trying to turn tables. He wants his customers to be so satisfied with the food and service and enjoy the dining experience that they will want to return to his place over and over again as a destination restaurant. And Peter has not spared the effort on food quality. He makes his own dough (and mostly hand kneaded), based on a natural leavening system (a local species) and long room temperature fermentation, which he believes produces the best tasting crust possible. He also has a farmer who grows a certain type of organic San Marzano tomatoes for him. The basil and oregano are also organic. Peter and his staff make their own mozzarella cheese (they do not use bufala). In many respects, he is doing the sorts of things that Chris Bianco had been doing for years with Pizzeria Bianco.

Peter’s staff, which now numbers eleven people (including two chefs with culinary training but cannot find jobs), fully understand what Peter is trying to do and what he expects of them. There is a lot of cross training. Four of his staff know how to work with the natural starters and there are four staff members who know how to make the dough. The staff also knows how to make the fresh mozzarella cheese. All of this not only allows Peter to focus on the bigger issues of running the business but also ensures that there will not be problems in those areas. One thing they are not allowed to do is to make any changes in the dough or how the pizzas are made. That part is sacred. To paraphrase Peter, his pizzas are one part Neapolitan, one part New York and one part Peter Taylor. They are inseparable. For those who are interested, his Raquel oven has worked out very well.

As one might expect, all of the effort that Peter and his staff have put into the business has not gone unnoticed. The restaurant has been very well received by the community and it gets high marks in reviews by the local media.

Before composing this post, I asked Peter if he minded if I updated the members on his progress. I mentioned that the forum has many members who have developed their pizza making skills to the point where they are so good that they may be on the cusp of opening their own pizza places and might find it helpful to know some of the challenges of opening and running a successful pizza business. He said that he was not expecting that but would be honored if I did that.

Peter

Offline JConk007

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2011, 08:21:41 PM »
Thanks for Posting Peter!
PF Taylor  was an Insipration to me from day 1 ! I remember pouring over Raqeul thread years ago! Did he mention, or did you ask if he still makes each and every pizza from his oven as he did from the get go?
Ok so its a good time to admitt I am one of those members  planning  on opening  a small  Mobile WFO Pizza Business based  my Passion 1st , not really money. (dont get me wrong few $ would not hurt) The Details will be shared shortly on the forum. Spot on comments! One of my primary concerns is also finding the right help who actually "care" enough to "want" to do the right thing and to to make the product I want to put out consistently. Looking for part timers 3-4 days a month may be a problem, no way I am giving up my day job! or just maybe I can get someone really good who is available when not working? I know after doing a party for 90 thats it can be done but its not really a one man band.  My pies are nowhere on the level of Matthew or Dellavechia or countless others on this forum. However my love for good pizza, the  desire to share it , and really just to give it go -win, loose, or draw, are quite strong.   Service - Product - Love
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline Ev

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #54 on: May 31, 2011, 06:54:30 AM »
Having had the pleasure of visiting Mr.Taylors establishment, I can attest to his passion, spirit of service and attention to detail, not to mention the high quality of his pizza.

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #55 on: May 31, 2011, 10:03:41 AM »
Did he mention, or did you ask if he still makes each and every pizza from his oven as he did from the get go?

John,

Interestingly, that was one of the few topics we did not talk about. I always assumed that he made the pizzas but he mentioned that he had contracted bursitis, which he attributed to the rigors of his work, so I would imagine that he has trained others to make pizzas also, just as he has trained his staff to perform other tasks. We did talk, however, about the differences between making pizzas in a home setting, where we are not under pressure, and making pizzas in a place like his. He said that one can actually make a better pizza in a home setting, where we can do most things in a leisurely, controlled manner to produce that perfect pizza. Peter said that in a commercial setting one is unlikely to match that quality when you are making say, 300, pizzas in a day. I think you experienced that phenomenon when you reported recently on one of your catering jobs. I am sure it is hard work.

I wish you the very best with your mobile pizza business and look forward to some of your war stories.

Peter

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2011, 10:27:12 AM »
While I was talking with Peter the other day, our conversation was interrupted by a call from a publisher called Creative Loafing (with operations in four states and DC, including a Tampa publication) that wanted to report on Peter's new location. Peter said that the writeup would be online shortly thereafter. I did a search this morning and found it at http://cltampa.com/dailyloaf/archives/2011/05/31/wood-fired-pizza-world-of-beer-plan-neighboring-st-pete-locations. If the collaboration with World of Beer works out at the Tampa location, it would not be unreasonable to expect further such combinations at other locations. As I understand the relationship, Peter will be able to offer beers that World of Beer does not/cannot sell and to sell food to World of Beer patrons (apparently World of Beer cannot prepare food in its kitchen facilities or chooses not to do so).

What I will be most interested in seeing is how a naturally leavened dough translates into several locations. When I asked Peter this question, he felt that he had an extremely robust starter that has not posed any problems for his so far (for example, he has never had to close his place because the dough failed him) but he acknowledged that there may be some challenges in using a naturally leavened dough in multiple locations.

Peter

Offline JConk007

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2011, 11:10:08 PM »
Peter
1st  Thankyou for your wishes
I am really hoping for "Love not War "Stories ;)
Very sorry to here about the bursitis. I have a family history of arthritis, so I am really looking forward to that!
Yes -when there are people lined up 4-5 deep waiting for a pizza it can make for a bit of pressure. I learned at least one or 2 more people would be ideal. But honestly the # 50 looked as good as #3 just took a while also I was not being paid by the pizza and the rent was $0. However I look at it as building the anticipation for that curious mind of whats this really gonna taste like ? Gotta wait to find out, or go and get a dirty water dog  :-D
John
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Offline StrayBullet

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #58 on: June 02, 2011, 02:43:51 PM »
Damn, makes me want to just feed my starters this weekend and head back out to his place for a pie, a beer or two and coax him outside to partake in a cigar with me :D

Mark

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Where Art Thou, Peter Taylor?
« Reply #59 on: June 03, 2011, 01:22:55 PM »
There is an interesting article on menu development at Peter Taylor's place, at http://cltampa.com/tampa/forging-dantes-inferno-a-spicy-new-creation-at-wood-fired-pizza/Content?oid=2290087.

Peter