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Special Report

Dan Richer: A Man and His Pizza

Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City is Carnegie Hall for the pizzaiolo who has fused place and process to create distinctive and distinguished pies. It’s the definitive voice of a generation, and it expresses the Garden State at its diverse, dynamic best. It’s the dawn of spring and Razza is reopening its doors – its new doors. While we were taking out, hiding out, vegging out, Dan Richer was beyond busy, writing, editing, proofing and promoting his new book, “The Joy of Pizza” (a New York Times best-seller, no less); debuting his Razza Crushed Red Peppers blend, a collaboration with esteemed spice merchant Burlap & Barrel; building and decorating his new space next door to Papa Razza; testing, testing, testing recipes for a new menu, winnowing them down to the winners and expanding his reach into the Garden State’s world of top-shelf farmers and food artisans. The Peasant Wife’s Mike Peters was at Razza the first night of its opening/reopening to make images of the scene, the chef and his team, the folks who took their new seats, and the food, including some seriously glorious new foods. Lots new. LOTS. Take a look.

Wine + Brine

In a first-of-its-kind celebration of Garden State terroir, members of the Winemakers’ Co-Op and Sweet Amalia oyster farm team join forces for an afternoon feast. Take a look here, through exclusive images made by The Peasant Wife’s Mike Peters, as six dozen lucky diners kick back with farmers of the land and farmers of the sea to dispatch dozens of oysters in myriad forms and very fine estate-grown wines.

Dan Richer: A Man and His Pizza

Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City is Carnegie Hall for the pizzaiolo who has fused place and process to create distinctive and distinguished pies. It’s the definitive voice of a generation, and it expresses the Garden State at its diverse, dynamic best. It's early November 2021, and much is happening at Razza Pizza Artigianale, a decidedly different breed of pizza restaurant whose chef-owner Dan Richer has changed the way we in New Jersey view and eat pizza and influenced both pizzaioli and home-based pizza makers nationwide. Today, in our ongoing series, we take a look at what's new: Richer’s first cookery book, “The Joy of Pizza,” has just been published, with a launch party set for Tuesday, Nov. 9 at Razza; the chef’s red peppers blend, in collaboration with esteemed spice merchant Burlap & Barrel, is on the market; and Razza’s expansion is taking shape. The Peasant Wife’s Mike Peters is keeping tabs on it all.

Dan Richer: A Man and His Pizza

Razza Pizza Artigianale in Jersey City is Carnegie Hall for the pizzaiolo who has fused place and process to create distinctive and distinguished pies. It’s the definitive voice of a generation, and it expresses the Garden State at its diverse, dynamic best. Today we begin an ongoing series focusing on the chef Dan Richer and his  Razza Pizza Artigianale, a decidedly different breed of pizza restaurant that has changed the way we in New Jersey view and eat pizza and influenced both pizzaioli and home-based pizza makers nationwide. The Peasant Wife’s Richer/Razza stories will appear periodically in the months to come as Razza expands its space on Grove Street in Jersey City, introduces new menu items while tweaking existing staples, and Richer’s first cookery book, “The Joy of Pizza,” is published.

Gill St. Bernard’s School: The Taste-and-Talk Project

POPCORN, SPICE AND FINDING FLAVOR  Two dozen students in the Upper School of Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, spent the days of their annual year-end unit exploring new foods, learning the art and science of tasting, and talking about how to accurately convey their experiences. In this four-part series in The Peasant Wife, the student food critics speak out about flavor as well as what foods they tasted and favored during their wide-ranging week of eating. In this, the final installment in our series, the students talk about pinpointing flavor by tasting popcorn seasoned with various spices. Three of the seasonings were purchased from Adventure Kitchen, Montclair. Founded and operated by Lynley Jones, spice merchant and culinary teacher (who also runs a summer culinary camp for kids), Adventure Kitchen is exactly what its name states: a source for curious cooks of all ages to have adventures in food. Lynley recommended the Gill students season their tasting vehicle – the popcorn – with something smoky and somewhat hot (AK’s Ground Chipotle Chiles); something tart-acidic and citrusy-sour (AK’s Staghorn Sumac, a ground bush berry popular in the Eastern Mediterranean); and something that leans sweet, but definitely is not one-dimensional (AK’s Mexican Piloncillo, a raw form of pure cane sugar often referred to as Mexican brown sugar). For more on Adventure Kitchen, visit www.adventurekitchen.com. – Andy Clurfeld

Gill St. Bernard’s School: The Taste-and-Talk Project

CAFÉ SAPORI  Two dozen students in the Upper School of Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, spent the days of their annual year-end unit exploring new foods, learning the art and science of tasting, and talking about how to accurately convey their experiences. In this four-part series in The Peasant Wife, the student food critics speak out about flavor as well as what foods they tasted and favored during their wide-ranging week of eating. Today: Café Sapori is an Italian restaurant in Gladstone, a mile from the Gill campus. It opened in 2017 and serves the surrounding community. For their assignment, the students were instructed to choose a starter and entrée, plus dessert, and to evaluate the food, setting and service. Read on for a panoply of opinions, starting with an overall scene-setter and continuing with detailed descriptions of a range of dishes. Café Sapori is located at 12 Lackawanna Ave. in Gladstone. Phone: 908-375-8730. Email: info@saporicafe.com. Website: www.saporicafe.com. – Andy Clurfeld

Gill St. Bernard’s School: The Taste-and-Talk Project

JERSEY GIRL CHEESE  Two dozen students in the Upper School of Gill St. Bernard’s School, Gladstone, spent the days of their annual year-end unit exploring new foods, learning the art and science of tasting, and talking about how to accurately convey their experiences. In this four-part series in The Peasant Wife, the student food critics speak out about flavor as well as what foods they tasted and favored during their wide-ranging week of eating. Today: Jersey Girl Cheese, with its creamery and farm stand located at Hillcrest Orchard & Dairy in Branchville, Sussex County; a cheese shop in Rockaway; and stalls at many farmers’ markets, is owned and operated by head cheesemaker Sal Pisani. Not yet 30 years old, Pisani makes masterful Italian-style cheeses from the milk of Jersey cows right at Hillcrest’s farm. It’s like Italy’s very, very best, only made in the Garden State – and fresher. Details: www.jerseygirlcheese.com. – Andy Clurfeld

Gill St. Bernard’s School: The Taste-and-Talk Project

SWEET CAROLINE'S BAKESHOP  Two dozen students in the Upper School of Gill St. Bernard’s School spent the days of their annual year-end unit exploring new foods, learning the art and science of tasting, and talking about how to accurately convey their experiences. In this four-part series in The Peasant Wife, the student food critics speak out about flavor as well as what foods they tasted and favored during their wide-ranging week of eating. First up: Sweet Caroline’s Bakeshop, an online bakery that’s the domain of acclaimed pastry chef Carey Bell. Based in Pittstown, a community located in the agricultural heart of Hunterdon County, Bell mines area farms for produce, eggs and dairy, and buys many of her grains from River Valley Community Grains, Long Valley. Details: www.sweetcarolinesbakeshop.com. – Andy Clurfeld

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