Q&A with Vincent Rotolo
Good Pie / Las Vegas, Nevada
How long you been making pizza?
I started making pizza in 1986 at the original John’s of Bleecker Street. My family lived at 272 Bleecker, just next door, and when it was time for me to get a job that is where I ended up. After a few months, I saw that the FOH staff made a lot more money than the pizza makers. So, I decided to follow the money and move to the FOH. Over the years, I continued to make pizza at home for my family and friends. I never lost touch with my passion for it and eventually, I pursued my dream of making pizza for a living and opened Good Pie.
I think pizza is the ultimate comfort food. It’s one of the most shared foods of all time and brings people together like no other food. Every style of pizza tells a story. The more I learn about pizza, the more I want to honor traditions and be able to tell these stories of how different styles evolved. That’s part of the inspiration for Good Pie. The first generation of Italian immigrants who risked everything coming to the new world seeking a better life created a new style of pizza in America based on what little resources were available to them. If we don’t keep pizza-making traditions alive then they’re gone forever. So in that way, I feel like the work we are doing as artisan pizza makers is incredibly important for current and future generations to have a connection to where real pizza came from.
What is your favorite type of pizza style to make and why?
My favorite style of pizza to make is the grandma pizza. It’s the most compelling story and the closest to my heart because this pizza was ultimately born through grandmothers wanting to nurture, care for and love their families. Also, it reminds me of my childhood memories.
How did you learn your craft?
I learned in so many different ways and I’m still learning, growing and challenging myself every day. In the beginning, I would learn through watching other pizza makers, reading books and on social media. Most importantly, making friends with and having conversations with other great pizza makers. I learned a great deal from my friend John Arena. He is an incredible mentor who has been an integral part of my career as a pizza maker and my drive to be a better pizza maker and person. Every pizza we make is a new beginning and a chance to improve.
What’s your biggest challenge with pizza dough and how did you solve it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced with pizza dough is making it in a desert climate. The weather in Las Vegas is extreme each day and I’m adjusting to different elements. I am still trying to solve this issue, but in my new pizzeria located on Main Street in the arts district downtown, I am building a temperature-controlled dough room. I think this will help but check back in a few months to see if I’ve solved it.
See where Vincent believes pizza is headed and how he develops his pizza-making talent.