It’s true that the chefs who spend so many of their years in kitchens learn more science than art. If cooking were merely just an art, then it would only be teaching the chefs to speculate, rather than the root of culinary knowledge which is based on tried and tested principles. Scientific and artistic perspectives are equally important, as you'll find out in this article. But I find it so fascinating that the kitchen teaches you more chemistry than the lab! 

For example, it’s amazing how a pizza can have so many variations, depending on a few scientific principles. For the perfect bite of pizza, the top and the bottom must be cooked evenly, and the scientific principle behind “being cooked evenly” implies that the pizza must be cooked at a very high temperature so that the crust has leopard spots, the interior is soft and fragrant and the toppings are beautifully cooked, as the heat lends a smoky flavour to the toppings. That is what we get from a brick oven pizza, don’t we? Brick oven pizzas are usually fired by wood or gas. A really good slice of neapolitan would require a temperature of 500 degrees Celsius to cook to perfection. 

Photo: Phillip Goldsberry

Now, let's talk about a standard pizza. 

Usually, a standard pizza doesn’t imply that it was made in a home oven, but rather that the style and the taste of pizza aren’t the same as a pizza made with high-quality ingredients and that's cooked at the perfect temperature.

If you raised the temperature to 500 degrees on your electric oven, you still may not get the flavour you want for two reasons: your pizza-making skills are not at par, and second: you need to manipulate the settings on the oven, which may or may not be possible. But some people may go above and beyond to experiment, in order to find out whether it is possible to cook a wood-fired style pizza at home. This is where the expert tips come in handy! In other words, do what you can to improve. You may know how much impact the dough also plays, in order to make a great pizza. A standard pizza recipe may be elevated to another level when you learn from the people who have tried how to balance technique and the environment in which the pizza cooks, in spite of being told that it is impossible to do this without the right oven and so on. Give it a try...who knows what you might achieve? 

We hope that now that the difference between a standard and an excellent slice is clear, you’ll consider making your own perfect pie — pizza, we mean pizza!