You might assume a classically trained Italian chef might be apt to rip on American pizza without too much prodding. And yeah, that turned out to be fairly accurate. Especially when the subject turned to chain pizza.
"It's my least favorite kind of pizza. They should call it flatbread with bad toppings," said Nicola Marzovilla, a Puglia native, chef, and current restaurateur for i Trulli.
Simone Falco, Owner and Executive Chef of both Rossopomodoro and SIMÒ Pizza restaurants -- and proud Napoletani -- tends to share this assessment.
"I've tried that kind of pizza, mainly for interviews and things like that, never really because I wanted to," he said. "To me, those big chains aren't food companies. They're production companies, distribution companies. Taste is almost secondary to them being able to deliver a consistent product in little time throughout the country. They do that well, but they don't do pizza well. And in places like New York, you can usually find better quality pizza for the same price."
And dollar slices -- which, in New York, are basically chains, didn't fare too well either in these chef's opinions.
"I'll eat that cheap pizza, maybe on Sundays when I'm watching football or something. But I don't really treat it like a meal, I treat it as a snack," Falco said.
"A good slice is a good slice," Marzovilla said. "But if it's not, it's not even worth the dollar."
Convenience of consumption isn't necessarily the issue here, as both chefs recognized that commonly, in Naples, pizza is made to be folded and consumed on the go -- almost like the "snacking" concept Falco mentioned in relation to New York slices. But, they both conceded that they do think the pizza in Italy tends to be of a higher quality than your average New York pizza.
The difference comes down to convenience of composition.
Mainly through cutting corners -- and adding sugar.