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Bitch at Us: Chef Joseph Capozzi of Pizza Beach

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Chef Joseph Capozzi’s culinary journey began at a high-volume restaurant on the access road to a ski mountain in Stowe, Vermont. There, he fell in love with cooking and moved to New York in 2003, where he worked with Chef Cedric Tovar on the opening of Django, a French and Moroccan influenced restaurant that earned two stars from the NY Times.

In 2006, Chef Capozzi joined the team at the Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park under Chef Daniel Humm, where he honed his fine-dining skills. Following his time at Eleven Madison Park, Chef Capozzi cooked at David Burke Townhouse and Scuderia in the West Village, before spending two winters as the head chef at Eagle Point Ski Resort in Utah.

Upon his return to New York City, Chef Capozzi joined the Fat Radish team, where he served as their Executive Chef at Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk, and represented the Fat Radish at their World Cup pop-up in Rio de Janeiro. When the Fat Radish team opened The East Pole with the Martignetti Brothers, Chef Capozzi became Head Chef at the new concept, where he featured elevated home cooking with a focus on local, seasonal, organic produce and sustainably sourced proteins.

Chef Capozzi brings that same culinary style to the Martignetti’s newest project, Pizza Beach, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where his inventive pies feature ingredients ranging from zucchini to thai curry, and now include the ever-delicious brunch pizza! The Bitches recently got the chance to chat with him about brunch, pizza, and everything in between.

Chef Capozzi

Aside from pizza, what is your favorite kind of brunch to cook?

I just like cooking eggs; any style. We work with local farms and get all of our eggs at Pizza Beach from a place called Garden of Spices. I enjoy working with farm-fresh products, specifically eggs.  Any style. Any way. We like to poach them, we like to scramble them. We have a really good pasta on our brunch menu called the Hangover Helper; it’s a bucatini with pancetta and then a poached egg on top.

I can definitely back you up on eggs. Do you prefer to brunch in, or go out?

You know, as a chef, I definitely prefer to go out for brunch. I look forward to any chance of letting someone else cook for me.

What inspired you to start serving a brunch pizza? Where did that idea come from?

I’m half Italian. I myself have worked in many Italian restaurants, and done pizzas in other places too. So coming into work sometimes you just crack an egg on top of a pizza and make it for yourself as a snack. It came from experimenting, and we just love pancetta. The pancetta and egg pizza is basically just a bacon and egg pizza. It’s a great combination of flavors and textures. Throw a little bacon and an egg on anything and it is better.

I couldn’t agree more! Do you have any more plans for egg-inspired pizzas on your brunch menu?

I’ve got a couple ideas. Nothing I’m ready to share yet; I’m not sure if they’d be good or not, but we do have some other ideas for eggy pizzas.

Are you more a Bloody Mary or Mimosa guy?

I was a mimosa guy for a while, but I’ve recently been getting into the Bloody Marys. We do a really cool Bloody Mary with beets at Pizza Beach. It’s darker red and a little bit sweeter than a regular tomato-based Bloody Mary.

Do you like Bloody Marys that have all the works or do you prefer simple?

I don’t throw a lot of things inside, like cucumbers and celery. But there’s a difference between a Bloody Mary that’s mixed right with the hot sauce, salt, pepper and all the right flavors whereas some people just go tomato juice and horseradish and call it a day. I’m kind of becoming a connoisseur.

We are on the same page there, Blood Marys are a Bitches who Brunch favorite.

I’m a new Bloody Mary fan.  I wasn’t into drinking tomatoes. I figured they only belonged on your pizza, but somewhere along the line I had a sip of one. You’re getting your vegetables and your alcohol all at once. It’s like breakfast in itself.

Finally, if you could brunch with one celebrity who would it be?

A lot of people say I look like Jonah Hill. So I would brunch with him. I think he would be fun.

King of Pizza Beach, Chef Capozzi is also executive chef at its sister restaurant, The East Pole on the Upper East Side, where they are big on brunch!

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