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Grand Theft Pizza

July 05, 1991

Here's a funny note to add to your article by Laurie Ochoa, "Pasquale Makes Dough," (June 20).

About seven years ago my ex-partner and I searched the world to find the best pizza from the south of France to Italy to New York.

Finally, I walked into Cafe Roma in Beverly Hills, and found the best pizza. I made a deal with Tony (Morra), Pasquale's brother, to become pizza chef at R.J., Newport Beach. We built a pizza oven that was fit for a king.

About a week before opening, Tony told us he couldn't take the job, but his brother, Pasquale, was arriving from Naples. Pasquale spoke no English, had a pregnant wife, and said he would work for us.

We picked Pasquale up at the airport, hired a full time translator and a pizza helper, and got him settled. And then, made great pizza.

One day, we asked Pasquale for the dough recipe. He told us he would not give it to us; it was a "secret recipe."

My present partner, Chipper, who was working for me at the time, assured me that he'd get the recipe. Being a clever young man, Chipper ordered all the flour, oil and other pizza ingredients. He filled all of Pasquale's supply bins. Pasquale would make his dough late at night. After he left, Chipper returned and weighed all the bins to see how much of each ingredient had been used.

The next day, Chipper came back with the recipe. Now, all we needed were the times and speeds for the mixing procedure. That night, Chipper hid in the ceiling of the restaurant with binoculars. He was able to get the times and speeds.

Finally, we got the entire recipe. Unfortunately, Pasquale quit the next week.

We have all remained friends over the years and find the story being told to all our friends. I'm glad he still remembers his side of the story!

I hope you find it as amusing as we did.



Casola owns Pasadena's Market City Caffe and Rose City Diner.

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