Welcome to A Day in the Life, a piece where we go undercover with a professional in San Francisco's culinary industry. Today we follow Julio Canche, the man who has been A16's pizzaiolio for, count 'em, 6 years. This is what Julio did on Thursday, May 10th.
7:20am: Julio rolls into A16, where he goes straight to the lockers upstairs, to don his white cook shirt, bandana, and apron. Now dressed and ready to work, he heads down to the kitchen, tumbler in hand, filled with fresh squeezed OJ.
7:30am: Julio gets straight to work weighing and rolling dough. As pizzaiolio, this is his livelihood. What makes A16's pizza special? Double proofed dough. It's more relaxed and chewy, and less sugar in the final product means less browning in the oven—all important in a Neapolitan pizza. Julio goes through close to 150 pizzas per day—he weighs and rolls it all.
9:00am: Time to take inventory of the pizza station. Once Julio knows what needs to be prepped, he goes to town roasting mushrooms, slicing paper-thin prociutto, cutting mozzarella, sauteeing sausage.
11:00am: Break for Family Meal. Today's menu: biscuits, soft-scrambled eggs, and an arugula salad with a heavy-hand of Calabrian chiles. I hear mutterings of "El Padrino." Lost, I ask sous chef Filipe Bejarano what that's all about. "They call him the Godfather because he's been doing this for so long. Without him, we'd be in a lot of trouble."
11:30am: Now it's lunch service. "El Padrino" rolls, shapes, and tops his dough as soon as tickets come in. Once loaded on his pizza peel, pies slide into the 750 degree wood-fired oven for just a few minutes. Julio watches and twists them so the flames lick at the pizza evenly. Just at the end, he'll lift the pizza several inches higher in the oven—where the heat is even more extreme—to blister the crust.
2:30pm: Now that lunch service is done, Julio cleans and breaks-down the station.
3:00pm: Julio mixes dough for tomorrow. The dough rises slowly overnight, developing character and flavor.
3:30pm: The night pizza cook comes in, and Julio lets him know what he'll need to prep for dinner service. He also tells newly-appointed executive chef Christopher Thompson what they're running low on for ordering.
4:30: Shift is over. Party time! Just kidding. Now he's headed to help Jon Darsky with the art of pizza for his new gargantuan pizza truck, Del Popolo. The man is a dough-shaping, pizza-making machine.
Thanks to our friends at A16 who were great sports during the shoot.
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