‘Bachelor in Paradise’ Star Peter Izzo’s First True Love Is Pizza
- As a forged member of “Bachelor in Paradise,” Peter Izzo has a bad-boy rep, however in an interview with PMQ, he was pleasant, good-natured and extremely educated about pizza.
- The co-owner of Peter’s Pizzeria talks about his dough, his meals, and his plans to develop the model into a serious drive in Florida.
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By Rick Hynum
Peter Izzo has been famously in search of romance on actuality TV exhibits—particularly ABC’s “Bachelor in Paradise” and “The Bachelorette”—however, to this point, he hasn’t had a lot luck. Properly, no massive deal. In spite of everything, the Lengthy Island, New York native has already discovered his one real love: pizza.
Because the co-owner/chef of two Peter’s Pizzeria areas in Florida—one in Port St. Joe and a more recent one in Boca Raton—Izzo has cultivated a “dangerous boy” picture for TV. He’s the man who threw a rival’s prized jacket into the swimming pool in “The Bachelorette” final yr and referred to as fellow forged mate Brittany Galvin—with whom he went on an ungainly date on “Bachelor in Paradise”—a “clout chaser.”
Izzo’s stints on each exhibits had been short-lived, however that’s doubtless by design. Each actuality present wants drama and battle or viewers will swap over to “Home of Dragons.” And each good TV present wants a villain. That’s a job Izzo has performed to the hilt. However, in a latest PMQ interview, the younger pizzaiolo got here throughout as good-natured, pleasant, sensible and extremely educated about pizza.
If you wish to see Izzo get excited, simply ask him about his dough. Ask him about his Sicilian pie or his sandwiches. He’s all smiles and constructive, upbeat vitality.
And it’s uncertain this younger Italian stallion must go on TV to get a date. Apart from, his two pizza outlets maintain him lots busy, and he plans to open a 3rd store—this one in Pompano Seashore—by subsequent Could.
“I’m very proud of the connection I’m in with Peter’s Pizzeria,” Izzo says, with a chuckle. “She’s all the time actually good to me. There’s no preventing occurring.”
“I’m not simply doing this to generate profits,” he provides. “I actually am obsessed with what I do. I inform my company on a regular basis, ‘If I might do that free of charge and never have to fret about paying payments, I’d do it free of charge.’ This actually means loads to me.”
Roots in Italy and Lengthy Island
Izzo’s father moved to the U.S. from Italy in 1969. As soon as settled on Lengthy Island, the Izzo household grew to become regulars on the legendary Umberto’s Pizzeria, owned by Umberto Corteo. “Each household get together or celebration, just about each Sunday, we spent going to Umberto’s,” Izzo remembers. “That was like a second house to me. [Corteo’s] son was like an enormous brother to me.”
On his thirteenth birthday, Izzo’s dad and mom pulled him out of faculty, finalized some paperwork that may enable him to work part-time as a child, and drove him over to Umberto’s to start out his first after-school job. “Umberto himself was ready for me, and from that day on, my identify was Shorty—as a result of I’ve all the time been tall,” Izzo says. “Umberto put the apron on me—my first one—and it’s a very emotional story. To at the present time, I nonetheless put my apron on like he taught me, and each time I put it on, I consider Umberto.”
Not too many 13-year-olds get that enthusiastic about donning an apron, however Izzo felt like he’d discovered his calling in life. He began out washing dishes behind the home and being hazed by Umberto’s crew—“getting abused, getting my head dunked within the soiled water, you identify it,” he says.
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He moved as much as bus boy, and by 15, he began working the counter. However Corteo had greater plans for the teenager. “I keep in mind Umberto telling me to face within the nook and simply watch,” Izzo says. “For 3 months he saved me on the payroll to actually simply keep within the nook, not contact something and simply watch.”
There was loads to absorb, he remembers: eight pizza makers plying their craft with 10 ovens, pounding out pies, making mozzarella, sausage, breads and meatballs, and chopping meats and veggies.
When Izzo was 18, the Corteo household requested him to assist open their second Umberto’s retailer. Whereas attending the New York Institute of Expertise (NYIT) in Manhattan, he additionally labored on the firm’s Backyard Metropolis and Wantagh areas. In 2016, Izzo studied overseas in Italy, the place he realized much more in regards to the restaurant enterprise and ran the ground at a high-end Florence eatery that offered tickets to replenish its 25 seats each day.
After graduating from NYIT on the prime of his class in hospitality administration, Izzo managed an American-dining restaurant and catering corridor. “It was like a 110-hour work week,” he remembers. “Simply grind the child till he blows up! , making $600 per week, which was superb—I didn’t know any completely different. 600 bucks per week! I assumed I used to be making out, you already know!”
Managing the Variables
However Izzo quickly determined he wanted a break. He briefly left the restaurant enterprise and moved in along with his brother, Bobby Pokora, in Miami. He was lured again to New York by the household that owns Patrizia’s, a multiunit restaurant firm, however after a few years there, he headed south to Florida once more. There, he and his brother took the plunge and opened the primary Peter’s Pizzeria location in Port St. Joe in 2019 beneath the HYD (How Ya Doin’?) Hospitality Group.
COVID-19 wasn’t an issue for Izzo and Pokora—Peter’s Pizzeria was virtually tailormade for the pandemic period, he says. “It turned out to be a godsend alternative as a result of the entire idea of Peter’s was fast, to-go, supply, curbside pickup, out and in. We simply skyrocketed.”
Like all sensible “pizzapreneur,” Izzo put a whole lot of thought into the idea. Working with an organization that makes a speciality of creating the proper water for main chains like Starbucks and Chick-Fil-A, he developed a proprietary water filtration system based mostly on New York’s well-known water.
“I went on-line and acquired the water evaluation on the highest 10 pizzerias in New York and labored with that firm to create a six-chamber reverse-osmosis water filtration system,” Izzo says. So the water at Peter’s Pizzeria, he says, is similar to Lengthy Island’s water, used to make dough for the pizzas he cherished as a baby.
“When you concentrate on it, Starbucks can be a water-based firm that sells espresso,” Izzo notes. “They must handle each variable to supply the identical cup of espresso all over the place. The identical factor applies to pizza. We have to handle all of our variables—we use the identical flour, identical tomatoes, cheese, oregano, and many others., in every retailer. However, with some eating places, you’ve nonetheless acquired completely different water at completely different areas. Not at Peter’s Pizzeria. Each variable is taken care of.”
Elements for Success
A second Peter’s Pizzeria retailer opened in Boca Raton in late 2021. Izzo and Pokora at the moment are planning a 3rd retailer that can function the corporate’s flagship location in Pompano Seashore. It’s a family-owned and -operated firm by means of and thru, Izzo factors out. “My mom is concerned as properly,” he says. “My sister helped me run the primary retailer in Port St. Joe within the first few months. We’re very proud that it’s a household enterprise.”
Pokora handles the funds, and Izzo is the pizzaiolo—a job he is aware of properly and takes very significantly. As talked about earlier than, simply ask him about his dough and let him get on a roll.
“Our pizza is like if Neapolitan meets New York-style and so they get married,” he says. “I exploit a contemporary yeast, which is troublesome to acquire, work with and handle as a result of it’s alive. My kitchen is temperature-controlled, and I’ve a temperature- and humidity-controlled dough room just for making dough.”
For many of his pies, Izzo makes use of a mix of Caputo 00 and All Trumps flours.
Requested to explain the qualities of a top-of-the-line pizza, Izzo is off and operating once more. “This stuff come to thoughts,” he says. “First, the crust ought to have that leopard-spotted undercarriage. And it ought to have a pleasant snap—you need to be capable of flick it and listen to it. Simply above the crust, you need to be capable of see a pleasant air pocket. Then you already know your chemical stability got here collectively the precise approach. Proper the place the dough meets the sauce, you need to get a pleasant, little chew.”
“I’m not right into a candy sauce,” he says. “We use the real-deal San Marzano DOP-stamped tomatoes. I by no means add sugar to my sauce. I personally consider individuals who use sugar of their sauce try to cover their tomato taste as a result of it’s lesser high quality. The cheaper the tomato, the extra acidic, and super-acidic provides you angina and makes your abdomen upset. With my slice, two or three hours later you by no means really feel bloated. You are feeling gentle. It’s a way of life slice.”
True to its New York roots, Peter’s Pizzeria presents a various menu that features each a Sicilian and a Grandma pie. Florida, in any case, is crawling with former New Yorkers and snowbirds, and Izzo desires to satisfy their excessive expectations for pizza.
“The toughest pie I’ve ever needed to make in my total life, to at the present time, is the Sicilian,” he says. “It’s a pizzaiolo’s labor of affection. Should you see a pizzeria providing a Sicilian pie, it’s as a result of they actually love what they do.”
“I ferment the dough for 72 hours earlier than I put a finger on it…I solely use one flour for that dough, no mix. I exploit a dry yeast.” Izzo leans in nearer and smiles. “And I’ll allow you to in on a bit secret: I put brown sugar and honey in that dough as properly. And I exploit solely San Marzano DOP tomatoes and a Grande mix of whole-milk and part-skim mozzarella.”
“The Grandma pizza is baked in a cast-iron pan, so it’s primarily half-baked and half-fried within the oven,” he continues. “It’s super-thin, and it’s acquired a terrific snap with very nice air pockets proper between the snap on the underside and the place that dough meets the cheese on prime.”
“I make all my bread contemporary each single day, so our subs are rockstar! I make our meatballs from scratch. We prepare dinner the pasta dishes to order each time, so the pasta is rarely mushy, all the time al dente. We make our sauces from scratch and prepare dinner the marinara low and sluggish for 10 hours—by no means any sugar.”
A Way of life Pizzeria
On social media, Izzo has proclaimed himself the “Pizza King,” a title he employs—for now anyway—with tongue in cheek. However he’s legitimately happy with his slices and pies. He additionally goals to “revolutionize the best way pizza is perceived in South Florida.” He desires to offer his clients an entire expertise, an hour or in order that they may keep in mind and are available again for many times.
In brief, Izzo desires Peter’s Pizzeria to be a “life-style pizzeria,” not simply one other pizza joint.
“To exit to a restaurant was once an expertise,” he says. “Going out to dinner after I was a child, it was an enormous deal. You’ve gotta costume up, gel your hair, put in your good sneakers. Instances are getting actually powerful now. It’s troublesome for a household of 4 to exit to dinner and spend a pair hundred bucks. It’s frickin’ powerful.”
In the event that they must shell out their hard-earned cash for pizza, they need to see a present, Izzo believes. “We are able to exit for lunch or dinner anyplace,” he says. “I would like one thing tangible after I exit to eat. I don’t simply need a slice. I would like atmosphere and an expertise. Once you come to Peter’s Pizzeria, you’re gonna get that. We make the pies proper in entrance of you. Quite a lot of these pizzerias in south Florida, they’re doing all the things behind a wall. You don’t even see them making the pizza. We’re a standard New York pizzeria. We’re proper there in entrance of you. All the things’s on show. You’re gonna see us stretching and balling the dough, you’ll see our imported San Marzano DOP-stamped tomatoes, our Caputo 00 flour….It’s a tangible expertise.”
When Izzo displays on his personal restaurant experiences, he reveals a glimpse of his true romantic nature. “Individuals fall in love in eating places,” he says. “First dates occur in eating places. It’s the place you have fun birthdays, anniversaries, reunions. It’s the place you have fun life. For me to personal a spot that facilitates that, it makes me very emotional,” he says. “It’s very particular to me. So after I say Peter’s Pizzeria is a way of life pizzeria, I wholeheartedly imply that.”
Florida is the precise place for a way of life pizzeria that additionally presents a real mom-and-pop expertise. And Izzo sees a whole lot of alternative to develop his model within the Sunshine State. “I really feel like I’m within the wild west, like I’m in Vegas earlier than it was Vegas,” he says. “I positively wish to proceed to develop in South Florida. I really feel like there’s an incredible market right here. With the brand new retailer opening (subsequent yr) and actually revolutionizing how pizza is perceived in South Florida—making it tangible and experiential—I’d like to ultimately get right down to Miami and go as far north as Palm Seashore, Jupiter, Orlando, Sarasota, Tallahassee, St. Augustine.”
“I positively see myself as increasing [the brand] in Florida,” Izzo provides, “and possibly at some point being the precise pizza king of Florida. And I don’t see why we will’t current this idea to a personal fairness fund, get buyers and take our mannequin and duplicate and paste it everywhere in the nation.”
However will he have time for all of that when he’s additionally capturing Bachelor Nation exhibits?
“As of this second proper now, I’ve no future plans of doing extra actuality TV until it’s a food-related present,” Izzo says. “I am single. Not that I’m not in search of somebody, however I believe I’m happy with the person I’m at this time and who I’m turning into as a restaurateur, a person of my neighborhood and a pacesetter to my staff and offering for them and their households. However I positively wouldn’t shut the door on some form of food-related TV program.”
Did you hear that, Meals Community? The nation’s most eligible pizza-making bachelor is accessible.
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