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about food $10 challenge
BY ASHLEE CLARK THOMPSON | PHOTOGRAPH BY DAN DRY
COALS challenge ARTISAN PIZZA
Coals fires up creativity, comfort in St. Matthews When my husband’s away, sometimes I assemble a meal resembling pizza: a pita pocket topped with bruschetta, shredded mozzarella and any leftover vegetables needing eviction from my refrigerator. Bake 10 minutes, and boom, dinner’s ready. But what I once deemed an acceptable substitute will no longer pass for pizza after visiting Coals Artisan Pizza. Such pizzas can’t be recreated at home. One reason why is its artisan dough, a highly hydrated (wet and sticky) creation requiring precise fermentation and skillful handling. The other is its oven: a coal-burning beast heated to about 900 F — double the temperature of a chain pizzeria conveyor oven. Just 3 to 4 minutes spent within such an inferno yields an amazingly thin, but crispy and lightly charred crust. Mark Peters is so proud of his oven, he calls it “the altar … the centerpiece” of the pizzeria. To learn what they wanted in their ideal pizzeria, Peters and his wife and co-owner, Madeline, traveled about 9,000 miles around the country visiting artisan spots before opening Coals last year. Clearly those were miles well spent.