10 Questions: Jay Jerrier

Eight or nine years ago, it was Louie's or nothing for pizza aficionados. Then along came Fireside Pies and...

And that inspired Jay Jerrier, a man with a taste for pizza and far too much time on his hands. He built an oven in his backyard, baked as a hobby for two years, then plunged into the restaurant business.

Campania Pizza's two locations--Dallas and Southlake--have been accumulating 'best of' mentions since 2006. Just last year, the latter became only the 26th American place to earn Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletana designation from Italy's stingy pizza overseers. Yet Jerrier doesn't mind ordering from...

1. Why is it so hard to get pizza right?
It shouldn't be. It's flour, water, salt, cheese, tomatoes and basil. But there are so many shortcuts you can take. The key is good ingredients, the way you let the dough ferment and getting the oven right.

2. Does dough stick to the ceiling, like in the cartoons?
It can. It's really sticky. But for Italian pizza, you're not supposed to throw the dough.

3. With pizza: wine or beer?
Beer, for me anyway. In Italy they'll have Coke or San Pellegrino--or beer. I like a big ol' wheat beer with my pizza.

4. If you had to, Domino's or Pizza Hut?
If someone was holding a gun to my head? OK, Domino's--their cheese steak pizza. It's bread and cheese and steak and mushrooms.

5. New York, Chicago or California?
That's another gun to my head question. I guess New York. It's the closest to Italian, although they cook it too long and overspice it--so I'll take that. Chicago pizza is like a casserole.

6. Don't you wish Europeans would adopt American style pizzas, like pepperoni?
That's right--when you ask for pepperoni over there, they give you one with peppers on top.

7. Why don't you see actors in old movies eating pizza?
They were too busy smoking. Pizza became popular in the U.S. after World War Two.

8. Do you have a favorite old movie?
What qualifies as old? Kingpin is one of my all time favorites. Also Wierd Science, going back to high school. But those old horror films--I'll always watch a little Wolfman.

9. If you could change the ending of Casablanca, how would it turn out?
Give me a happy, sappy ending. I'm in a sentimental mood.

10. Where did all the red checkered tablecloths go?
They're all in New York. Or maybe Grimaldi's cornered the market. That's such a stereotype, like the straw-wrapped Chianti bottle with a candle in it. Thank you, New York. 

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Dave Faries
Contact: Dave Faries