It’s not a leap to classify pizza as a beloved food. Pizza is perfect for so many occasions. Whether it’s served at casual get-togethers or dressed-up events, pizza has become about so much more than picking up the phone and dialing the nearest delivery place.
Similarly, the phrase “pizza party” likely conjures up memories of stacks of pizzas being delivered to the front door. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s kind of like thinking something is great because you haven’t had anything better.
When you hire chef Tony Carbone, personal chef and owner of The Urban Epicurean, you are getting anything but average pizza; you are getting, as Carbone puts it, “pizza with personality.” You’re also getting pizza with passion, because passion is what comes through in everything The Urban Epicurean produces. You’re signing up for a unique event where handmade pizzas are crafted and cooked on-site.
Born and raised on Long Island, Carbone comes from what he describes as a “great family of cooks who inspired my love of food.” But while he has always loved cooking, initially he didn’t pursue it professionally. In fact, he had a successful career in radio sales first. When he decided to leave his job for culinary school, it was because he could no longer ignore the call of his passion for cooking, which eventually revealed his most enthusiastic food passion: pizza.
Carbone, who has appeared on national television as part of FOX’s MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay (where he finished as a top 10 finalist), started The Urban Epicurean in Boston. And while Carbone formally moved the business to the North Shore a few years ago (along with his family), The Urban Epicurean continues to serve the Boston area as well as the North Shore and the Maine and New Hampshire seacoasts.
Following his initial success in Boston, Carbone decided to make The Urban Epicurean a full-time business. But he didn’t just set out to be a mobile pizza maker (although the novelty of that may have been enough); his plan was to make “the best pizza you have ever had.” How long does it take to perfect pizza? Carbone will tell you he’s spent years working on it. Not content to serve clients pizza that he felt was not yet the best, he spent countless hours testing out flour combinations and cheese types.
He experimented with hydration percentages, yeast, and tomatoes. He spent days on end perfecting scratch-made dough that proofs for between 72 and 96 hours before cooking. Simply put, he spent a heck of a lot of time making pizza.
Aside from the bonus of Carbone’s winning personality (he loves to chat about his pizza process), the convenience of having The Urban Epicurean show up at your event with two compact Roccbox pizza ovens (and without a flatbed truck that’s going to take over your driveway or lawn) cannot be overstated. He works so efficiently that you might not know he was there, were it not for the mouthwatering smell of pizza wafting from his truck (make sure you invite the neighbors to this party, because they’re probably going to show up anyway!).
Carbone has several signature pizzas: cheese, margherita, meatball or sausage ragu, garlic and herb, and pepperoni. He’s so confident in this combination of pizzas that he doesn’t take requests on-site—he wants to ensure that what he serves is perfect, and he knows these are.
The Urban Epicurean offers two types of pizza events. The first, “Neapolitan Style,” includes what Carbone refers to as his “outdoor pizza”—the pizza is baked outdoors at very high temperatures. The result is pizza that’s full of flavor, with a crisp base and (you guessed it) a perfectly charred crust.
“Pizzeria Style” pies feature what Carbone refers to as his “indoor pizza,” which is cooked inside using a traditional home oven. This is part of his pizza “class,” where guests can participate in the process and learn about the behind-the-scenes aspects of pizza making.
Eventually, you might see The Urban Epicurean with a brick-and-mortar location, but for now, Carbone is laser-focused on his mobile pizza making. And while he fully realizes that trying to attach himself to “the best” pizza is no small thing, he also knows that his “pizza lives up to his passion.” And then there’s that little thing called feedback, and Carbone is getting lots of it. And it’s good. Just like his pizza.
For more information, visit urbanepicurean.net.