creator Adam Kuban, recently had a sit
down interview with Albert Grande, of
Here's what happened:
Adam Kuban: Pizza Therapy is
probably the first pizza-obsessed website I saw on the web. It's
like it was always there. But when did you start it?
Albert: Pizza Therapy started
in 1999 on a free hosting service. It ran that way for about a
year. I purchased the domain in 2000. After I registered the
domain, I moved the site to our own Internet server. It's been
evolving ever since.
Why did you start it?
Albert: The site came about as
a way to honor my dad. As we were growing up my dad would make
pizza for me and my friends. This continued right through high
school, college and beyond. He became known as quite a good
pizza maker. (He was no pro, this was homemade pizza). He loved
making pizza for me and my friends. Soon his pizza making became
well known and it turned into a regular event. My friends and I
would hang out while my dad made pizza. The conversations and
laughter that happened in that kitchen with my dad were amazing.
My friends and I talk about those pizza times to this very day.
Years later, I realized what he had been doing was using pizza
as a way to bond us together. Being Italian, I think he
understood the synergy that happens with people and food. The
Pizza Therapy name just came to me one day when I was thinking
about my dad's pizza-making. I realized he was using pizza as a
type of therapy. Hmmm, I thought: My dad had created Pizza
Therapy for us.
The site is a way for me to continue his legacy. He taught me
the joy of making and eating pizza. Put those ingredients
together and mix them up. That's how magic happens. That's what
Pizza Therapy is all about.
Adam Kuban: Is Pizza Therapy your full-time thing?
(Seems like it, with the amount of work you do on it.)
Albert: Great question, Adam.
While Pizza Therapy (DBA: Grande Publishing) is a business, at
this point, I am not doing it full time. Along with Pizza
Therapy, there are a number of other web properties that I own
and have developed. Because of the successes of Pizza Therapy, I
have been doing Internet consulting with off-line businesses
wanting to learn how to use the Internet to expand their web
Here are some examples:
Hawaii Business Videos, Promoting Business One Video at a Time
Resources for Pizzeria Owners
site has continued to expand and evolve. My goal is
to make it a full-time gig. We have attracted a number of
advertisers and corporate sponsors. While I consider all offers
for advertising and corporate sponsorship, I am very selective
about our advertisers. There are just some advertisers that do
not fit with our mission. I have turned down a number of
advertisers for that reason.
I would love to travel around the country reporting about pizza.
That is a goal which I hope becomes reality. Maybe one of your
Slice readers will offer me a job. Does the Food Network
subscribe to Slice? How about the Travel Channel? I am ready,
willing and able. Make me an offer!
Adam Kuban: What's are your
favorite all-time articles or items on Pizza Therapy?
Albert: I'd have to say showing
up in Peter Reinhart's book
American Pie: My Search for the
Perfect Pizza was amazing. Then I was mentioned in Ed Levine's
book Pizza: A Slice of Heaven. That was an incredible honor. As
a matter of fact, Slice was mentioned in the same book.
Finally, having Pizza Therapy included in Penny Pollack and Jeff
Ruby's book Everybody Loves Pizza
was also incredible.
Being mentioned in American Heritage magazine for their pizza
issue was another wonderful thing.
Pizza Therapy is way bigger than I am. I am always amazed that
it continues to get press and recognition. For example, we were
just named as a pizza resource for the New York Times. Not too
long ago I did an interview for BBC Radio. All I can say is wow!
Honestly. This stuff happens all the time. I continue to be
The thing I am most puzzled about, though, is the Pizza Therapy
You Tube video about making pizza dough. I did that over 2 years
ago. I have since changed my recipe a bit. But I'm afraid to
change it. If it works, don't fix it. So I just leave it there.
Over a year and a half ago, I was approached by Google to allow
them to advertise the video. I told them to just go for it. I
cannot understand how this simple video has gone so viral. It's
just me making pizza dough. It's gotten nearly 350,000 views.
That to me is staggering! I guess there are a lot of people
interested in learning to make pizza dough. I am amazed every
time I look at the stats.
Adam Kuban: What type of pizza
do you prefer?
Albert: Is this a loaded
Adam Kuban: Yes. Loaded with
Actually, I love all pizza.
Adam Kuban: Diplomatic answer,
Albert: But I prefer a
thin-crust Neapolitan pizza.
Adam Kuban: The Pizza
Cognition Theory states that "the first slice of pizza a child
sees and tastes ... becomes, for him, pizza." Do you remember
your first slice? Where was it from, is the place still around,
and if so, does it hold up? On that note, has your taste in
pizza evolved over time?
Albert: I know the theory well.
However, for me, my tastes have definitely evolved over time. I
have become much more discriminating. While it wasn't my first
slice, if I think back, in my mind's eye, I can still taste my
dad's pizza. That taste memory has stayed with me. And believe
me it was great.
As I grew up the pizza that we had locally was just: pizza. It
was good pizza but not great pizza. It wasn't until I started to
make pizza myself that I was able to fully appreciate great
Pizza Therapy, I have been lucky to have
tasted some incredible pizza.
Adam Kuban: What's your
favorite topping or topping combination?
Albert: Honestly, this changes
all the time. Right now I have to say that clam is my favorite
topping. There is nothing like a Pepe's clam pizza using fresh
clams. I have yet to a have pizza that even comes close. I do
love seafood on pizza.
But I also like arugala, gorgonzola, and pistachios as a taste
combination. It's a pizza recreated by my friend Jon F. He had
first tasted it while visiting Sicily. He came back and
deconstructed the pizza. I use a modified version of his recipe.
It's quite a melding of different flavors. Simply delicious. Jon
calls it the Atilla Pizza.
Adam Kuban: You make pizza at
home, obviously. What recipes do you use?
I use a modified recipe that was given to me by my mom. Here it
Ingredients (makes 2 large pizzas or 4 thin pizzas)
1 to 2 packages yeast (1/4 or 1/2 ounce or 2 to 4 teaspoons of
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
4 cups of flour or more
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil (optional)
1 and 1/2 cups of warm water
I used to proof the yeast with sugar before I started to make
the dough. Now I DO NOT use sugar and use a cold ferment
process. I mix the ingredients the day before and let it proof
overnight in the fridge.
If Slice'rs would like my pizza recipe sent via email, they can
subscribe to my ezine,
Therapy Pizza News
Adam Kuban: Where do you go
for pizza in your area when you're not making it at home?
I live in on Oahu in Hawaii. For the most part Hawaii is not a
hotbed of great pizza. For a long time my favorite pizza in
Hawaii was my own pizza. Lately though, there are two new
pizzerias that make great pizza in Honolulu that I love:
•1. V Lounge: They use a wood-fired oven and make a great
•2. J. J. Dolans: They make a great New York–style pie
In Hawaii, they are my favorites.
Adam Kuban: What's most
important to you: crust, sauce, or cheese?
When I interviewed
Ed LaDou for Legends
of Pizza, he felt that they were all equally important. For
me, I think it's the crust. You can have the best quality
ingredients, but if you don't make a great crust, you can never
make a great pizza.
Adam Kuban: What one thing
should NEVER go on a pizza?
I think whatever you don't like. Great pizza is in the eye of
the beholder. If there is an ingredient you don't like, than
that is what should never go on pizza.
In my kitchen in Hawaii, we have experimented with lots of
different ingredients, such as Pork Adobo Pizza, roasted pork
pizza, thai pizza and other ethnic flavors. For me, most of
these items worked well. So, don't put anything on pizza you
Adam Kuban: Weirdest pizza
you've ever eaten?
I haven't had it yet. I'll have to get back to you on this one.
Adam Kuban: What's the
farthest you've traveled for pizza?
Since I live in Hawaii and I travel to the East Coast for pizza,
I'd say more than 5,000 miles. I would have no problem driving 3
or 4 hours for great pizza, if that's what it took. Actually, I
would travel even farther for truly great pizza!
Adam Kuban: Anything you'd
like to get off your chest?
I want to say thanks to Slice for all you have done to help
promote pizza. I was recently named The Pizza Promoter. Hey,
I'll take the title. I am honored to be able to promote pizza
I do want to say this: I want to thank all of the pizza blogs,
forums, and websites for all you have done to promote pizza.
They have all done an incredible job!
I would mention you all by name but I'm afraid of leaving
someone out. I don't want to offend anyone. But you know who you
are. Thank you so much for helping show the way. You are the
true lights at the end of the tunnel. You show what real pizza
is and what the real celebration of pizza can be and will
become. To you all I say a huge mahalo! (Thank you!)
Also, pizza, as you know, is more than the Three Big Chains. I
try not to mention them at Pizza Therapy. They get enough
publicity. It's the mom-and-pops, the "keepers of the flame" (as
stated by Ed Levine) that need to be celebrated and cherished.
Those are the true makers of spiritual pizza.
And you know, Adam, the real success of any website, blog, or
forum are the readers and visitors. They are the ones who need
to be thanked. They are the spiritual glue that holds it all
together. So to you visitors and readers, I say thank you.
Thanks for all of the support. I feel truly blessed to have been
able to spread the joys of pizza with Pizza Therapy.
Adam Kuban: Yes. I, too, am
grateful for all the people who visit and communicate their love
of pizza on the web — whether it's here on Slice or Pizza
Therapy or wherever. I don't know how much I've learned from
everyone and how heartened I am to see a true community grow up
around pizza. Speaking of learning from folks ... who would you
like to see interviewed next?
Mr. Kuban, you need to interview the Godfather of Pizza
Websites! Coye Jones, the Pizza Meister. He is a wonderful
person. Great pizza maker and all around good guy. I love the
guy. He was one of the early supporters of Pizza Therapy. He was
always helpful, always gracious. And he makes incredible pizza!
Here's his website:
Name: Albert Grande
Location: Mililani, Hawaii
incredible pizza journey...
cooked BBQ Pizza, I recommend: The Grilled Pizza Stone:
If you are
interested in taking your pizza to the next level
I highly recommend that you invest in a
pizza peel and a
intimidated about using a pizza stone or peel.
As with anything else it just takes a bit of practice to master.
You can find
some great deals on pizza tools here:
The art of using a peel will
really take you pizza to a new level.
Make sure that you put enough flour or cornmeal underneath your
dough so it won't stick.
Also to find a
great updated listing of pizza related tools and other pizza
go to this
course, I would invite you to take a look at
The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book.
I'm hoping with
your support, the other movies will be available soon...
See more of my videos and articles here:
Albert Grande, The Pizza Promoter's Published Content:
Videos, book reviews, and more. All
different, unique information.
See More of my videos here:
Therapy Metacafe Page
Subscribe to Pizza News:
Get a Free
Copy of My Dough Recipe
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To contact me:
Albert Grande, The Pizza Promoter,
The Pizza Promoter
600 Queen Street Suite #2406
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813
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