Anthony Carron oversees an acclaimed pizza restaurant in Westwood, Calif., that's dedicated to a special pizza: the Neapolitan, created in the Italian city of Naples more than 200 years ago. The pie has a thin crust. Traditionally, the sauce is simply crushed tomatoes - although Carron and his team at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria
"add a few more goodies" of their own. Each pie is topped with fresh mozzarella and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, before it's quickly baked in a wood-fired oven.
Carron, a former chef for restaurateur and chef Michael Mina, uses locally sourced ingredients - from the tomatoes to the mozzarella and the olive oil
. The pizzas are baked before customers leave the counter. And you can order your own customized pie. As you'll see from the Q&A below, Carron has had cooking in his blood since he was a youngster. What's your earliest food memory?
I remember as a young child, 2 or 3 years old, my mom used to put me in a high chair in the pantry. I'd pull everything off the shelf and check the jars. I'd also get a bowl and mix all kinds of spices and cocoa powders together to make different mixtures. I used everything I could find. I was already trying to cook at that age. And today I love cooking. Did anyone in your family cook?
Not too much. That was one of the reasons I got into it. If I wanted something good, I'd have to make it myself.How do you use California Olive Ranch extra virgin olive oil at 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria?
We drizzle it on every single pizza we make before it goes into the oven. The oil adds flavor as well as richness. Your oil also holds up well in the oven at 800 degrees F. Every other oil I've tried just vaporizes and has no flavor. But the California Olive Ranch
retains its flavor and its freshness out of the oven. We only use extra virgin olive oil for every recipe - and we only use California Olive Ranch. Everything we cook in the oven we put in the olive oil first, like mushrooms and caramelized onions. We use it to marinate tomatoes for our pizzas. We also use the oil to make a Caesar dressing and an olive oil gelato.How do you use California Olive Ranch oil at home when you cook?
I use it cook everything in. At home I do a lot of Italian foods. I do a lot of pasta. I also do some simple grilled meats, sautéed fish, and a lot of vegetables. I love vegetables. What's your best advice for home cooks wanting to make pizza?
Make the dough the day before so it has time to develop flavor. Let it rise overnight in the fridge. Take it out of the fridge the next day at lunchtime, if you plan to cook the pizza for dinner. You want to have the dough out four to six hours before you bake. Next, turn your oven up as high as it goes. And use a pizza stone to get the best crust. What do you like to eat when you're too tired to cook?
Tacos! We've got great street tacos in L.A. That's always my go-to food. They're a buck apiece. They're everywhere. And they're delicious.Do you use recipes when you cook - or wing it?
I don't rely on recipes. I just cook. If I look at a recipe, I'll read it. I'll absorb it, and then I'll go cook something similar. I'll learn the techniques and get a sense of how the ingredients go together. I'll then adapt whatever is in the fridge or what's fresh and available in the market.What's in your home fridge?
Not much. Usually some pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard. That's about it. I tend to buy everything for a meal and cook it. That's how Europeans shop, and that's how chefs tend to shop.