Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Artisan Pizza – A Virtual Discussion with Stephanie Swane of Modernist Pizza in Honor of Pizza City Fest LA 2023

March 23, 2023 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PDT

Artisan Pizza

In celebration of the first ever Pizza City Fest LA (April 29 & 30 @ LA Live), Noel Brohner of Slow Rise Pizza moderates a virtual discussion about Artisan Pizza with Publisher and Director of Modernist Cuisine Stephanie Swane of Modernist Pizza.   

The history of pizza in Los Angeles is unlike most other cities, says Brohner. According to some, LA doesn’t even have a pizza history compared with New York and Chicago, Naples and Rome to name just a few. According to others, California has played an important but under appreciated role in the initial technological expansion and eventual proliferation of pizza franchises in the US which lead to the growth of both national and eventually international pizza chains that now dominate the fast-food landscape.

Artisan Pizza

Still others cite the rise of what they call “artisan pizza” beginning fairly recently with a handful of California-based chefs and pizza makers thinking about pizza crust and toppings and combinations in a whole new way.  This new sensibility contributed not to what some think of as California-style pizza but instead something much broader and more profound, slow foodinspired, chef-driven Artisan-style pizza as we will discuss at length during our virtual discussion.

Artisan Pizza

We’ll start at the beginning of pizza in California, in 1954, “Big Ed” Plummer and Sherwood “Shakey” Johnson opened Shakey’s Pizza Parlor and Ye Public House in Sacramento, California.

We’ll cover a “uniquely influential” restaurant called Chez Panisse. According to Modernist, chef Alice Waters opened her restaurant with a then-radical concept: “Waters wanted to make fresh, locals seasonal ingredients the centerpiece.”  A few years later, Wolfgang Puck took the idea even further, according to Modernist, when he opened Spago in West Hollywood and hired pizza maker Ed LaDou, “which turned out to be revelatory.” American pizza would never be the same again.

Artisan Pizza
Spago’s Signature Pizza: Sour Cream, Shallots, Lemon Juice, Fresh Dill, Artisan PIzza Dough, EVOO, Red onions, Smoked Salmon, Caviar


We’ll try to connect all the dots in California’s short but colorful pizza history and describe how California-style pizza slowly but surely transformed the concept of pizza from one covered in pepperoni, sausage and peppers to one topped with luxury items, seasonal ingredients and multi-cultural flavors and how that became known as Artisan-style pizza in California and beyond…

Artisan Pizza
American Artisan style levitating pizza shoot


Register for the March 23, 2023 4pm PT virtual event here.

Register for Pizza City Fest LA April 29 & 30, 2023 here.


Noel Brohner


March 23, 2023
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm PDT