Pizza has been often described as the most efficient cheese delivery system ever devised by man and Pisano’s Woodfired Pizza owner Ed Barbeau is a true master of the medium.
by Jeff Spry
Barbeau relocated his award-winning pizzeria to Tumalo from NW Crossing in Bend last year and has enjoyed brisk business with the local pizza-loving community. In late March, Barbeau competed in the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas, where he entered his secret recipe pizza to a tough panel of judges in the melty, mouth-watering competition.
“It was fascinating, some of the top names in the pizza industry were represented and a lot of them brought recipes that just didn’t work in competition this year,” he said. “Usually these guys are rock stars. It’s put on by Pizza Today magazine and draws approximately 300 restaurants from around the world.”
The intense three-day pizza regalia requires participants to not only get all their food to Vegas intact, but also be able to prep it within a half hour, then cook it hot in a strange oven.
“There are seven main oven types but none of them cook like your own oven back home,” he explained. “There’s a cooking stadium set up in the corner of a very large expo with about 10,000 people a day walking through, all of them pizza shop owners, industry types and chefs so it’s hectic.
“There’s usually a large crowd of Italian chefs with followers all wearing uniforms representing their restaurants. Then you have the New York guys, super aggressive, super proud of their product and convinced they’re gonna win. The competition is fierce. In a previous show, we had an Italian team that came by one morning and shut off all the New York-style ovens, ruining the chances of about five competitors.
“You have maybe 500 spectators watching you perform and you’re on stage, man! I had a nice glass of Pinot Noir I took sips on as I cooked and that kept me relaxed and the crowd interested.”
This year, Barbeau’s pizza entry was a riff off a true Italian appetizer called beef carpaccio.
“What it consists of is thinly-sliced filet mignon served raw on top of a pizza with alfredo sauce. We also used fresh mozzarella and shaved parmesan, then dressed the surface with arugula salad finished with an aged citrus balsamic vinegar along with a great Spanish olive oil. Then garnished it with fried capers, cracked pepper and flaked sea salt.”
His imaginative concoction represented Central Oregon well and took second place in the western region division for non-traditional pizza.
“Judging by the scores, it was a toss-up between first and second and that felt pretty good. We had a good performance, the pizza looked incredible and that’s really what counts. At the awards ceremony, one of the top pizza chefs in the world shouted out to the crowd that the pizza we made was one of the most interesting he’d ever seen. And that was amazing.”
Pisano’s Woodfired Pizza
64670 Strickler Avenue in Tumalo