Behind the Scenes at Stretch Pizza

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Behind the Scenes at Stretch Pizza

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Chef Wylie Dufresne may be most associated with molecular gastronomy thanks to the groundbreaking cooking he did at New York’s wd~50 from 2003 to 2014, but these days, instead of frying Hollandaise for his signature eggs Benedict, you’ll find him contemplating how to make the ideal pizza dough with nothing more than some flour, water, salt, yeast, and, well, maybe a little xanthan gum, too (for the tomato sauce).

At Stretch Pizza, his new pop-up, currently holding residency at Breads Bakery in Union Square, Dufresne and his team apply the same kind of exacting rigor and care that Dufresne has been known for throughout his whole career. Only this time, it’s with a seemingly simple New York slice.

Dufresne applies tomato sauce to a pie. His sauce is made from crushed New Jersey tomatoes, with a little bit of xanthan gum added for viscosity.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Dufresne has been fixated on better understanding pizza dough, and its influences from Naples, Sicily, and New York, in an effort to make the best New York-style pie that he can.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Dufresne's team takes special care to "stretch" air into each round of dough to make for a better crust.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Chefs Jimmy Leonor and Josh Eden stretch the pizza dough with their hands before they get ready to go into the oven.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Chef Josh "Shorty" Eden mans the oven. He's known Dufresne since they were both in high school, and now he's Stretch Pizza's official pizza "launcher."

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Eden has to work strategically, checking on the pies constantly and sometimes dropping them into the lower oven to finish them off, where the temperature is slightly cooler.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

The mise-en-place for all the pizza toppings.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

A container filled with the Everything Bagel spice that Dufresne uses on his Everything Bagel pizza, which features cream cheese and aged mozzarella.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

A sprinkling of cheese. It's a blend of pre-shredded Grande mozzarella, some full fat, some skim, and a 50/50 bag of skim and provolone.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Leonor adds the final touches of cheese on a pie.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

The Humble Pie, a collaboration from chef Simone Tong (left) of Silver Apricot, and an Everything Bagel Pizza (center), before they're placed in the oven. Tong worked for Dufresne for a number of years, both at wd~50 and later at his East Village restaurant, Alder.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

Chef Matt Birnbaum slices each of the pies before they're ready to be served.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

A close-up of the Everything Bagel pizza.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

From left to right: Wylie Dufresne, Jimmy Leonor, Josh Eden, and Matt Birnbaum, outside Breads Bakery where Stretch Pizza is doing its residency.

Photo by Michael Harlan Turkell for Resy

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Behind the Scenes at Stretch Pizza

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