“I haven’t eaten a lot of frozen pizza in my life, but it has happened,” Vancouver chef David Hawksworth says. What he remembers of the experience was not pleasant, starting with the thin, flabby, freezer-burn-facilitating wrapping. Then one day, mid-pandemic, a browse on his phone landed on the order site for Eat Pizza, a quality operation in Washington, D.C., that delivers 3,000 frozen pizzas daily to retailers like Whole Foods. Unlike conventional frozen pies, these are parcooked in a proper pizza oven before being frozen. “I looked at my idle pizza oven and I thought, We can do this.” So now, at Nightingale, four mornings a week before lunch service, Hawksworth’s staff fire 150 pizzas of three kinds. They are cooked to 80 per cent, prepped with finishing ingredients, flash-frozen and vacuum-sealed. Pull one out of your freezer and pop it into your home oven for five minutes, and you get pizza with a crisp heat-blistered crust and pillowy-moist crumb — not quite as good as one you might eat at the restaurant, but far, far better than how that pizza would taste after 10 minutes of steaming itself in a takeout box. This is frozen pizza that’s actually good.
Photo credit: Clinton Hussey