Sat, 20th Jul 2019
CODE Special
To slice or not to slice?



One of the many things I love about hospitality is the attention to detail that goes into everything. Whether it's choosing the stem wear or crockery for a new opening, trialling different lightbulbs until you get that perfect champagne hue, or agonising over the right size bath towels for hotel guests (see Corinthia’s general manager Thomas Kochs debating this with colleagues on the recent BBC documentary).


The beauty of it all is that there is, of course, no correct answer. It's down to taste and preference, as well as practicality. Would a Zalto wine glass work well in this casual, industrial space, or do we need something a little chunkier - a wine tumbler, perhaps? Do these paper napkins work in this context, or should we be using proper linen?


I love pizza. I mean, who doesn't? It’s one of those comfort dishes that works for so many occasions: a quick dins with the kids, a post-cinema bite, or even a solo sups on the sofa. No need for plates, cutlery or sides. Gorgeously simple. And, of course, the joy of cold pizza in the morning. Guilty as charged.


It was over a glass or two with some restaurateurs the other night when the talk of pizza turned deeply controversial. Our discussion wasn’t about base thickness, toppings or indeed the recent creation of a carbonara pizza by a well-known high-street chain. No, our conversation revolved around one simple question: in a restaurant, should your pizza be served sliced or not sliced?


I remained silent for a moment or two whilst my companions passionately debated the topic. I felt a little like a fraud; the question had never really crossed my mind. I mean, it’s just a pizza, isn’t it? If it hasn’t been sliced then do it yourself, surely? Why hadn’t I thought about this in more detail before?


Along with his chef business partner, one of the restaurateurs I was with had spent hours debating this at one of their restaurants. Although not a pizzeria, they’re known for their pizzas. It started to dawn on me that what sounds like such a simple question – like many things in life – can be disputed on so many levels.


Does a guest want to slice their own pizza pie? Are they happy for it to be pre-sliced, allowing the kitchen to determine the size of the slice their patrons want to eat? Do you let your diners slice it up themselves? But wait, what do you serve the pizza on? Do you give them a pizza slicer or a pair of scissors? Is the table set up in a way that means that glasses won’t go flying and neighbouring tables can avoid getting an elbow to the eye?


Pizza hey, who would have thought it could be such a minefield. But I like to think that we can, at the very least, all agree on one thing: no bloody pineapple, please.


Adam Hyman (Instagram: adammhyman)

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