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Andrew Rea is the first to admit that he's not a formally trained chef in any capacity. Instead, he credits his expansive culinary knowledge to trial and error. In a recent, exclusive Mashed interview, he told us, "I...am a perpetual beginner. I specifically don't rehearse dishes before I do them on camera so that I can catch my screw-ups. I like to show them as learning experiences, and it's therapeutic for me, as someone who's beaten up on themselves for making mistakes their entire life. It's nice to reclaim [those mistakes] as learning experiences, and it's where the sum total of my cooking knowledge has come from."
This fact heavily informed Rea's new cookbook, "Basics with Babish." The cookbook, which was released in late October, is all about making mistakes and learning from them. The text features more than a hundred recipes that all contain ample details about what mistakes might occur during the cooking or baking process, how to troubleshoot them, and what mistakes Rea himself made while writing the recipe. However, while Rea has years of experience cooking on camera, most famously recreating famous dishes from movie and TV shows, as well as, in his estimation, a lifetime of trial and error-based experience, there were still a few recipes he was nervous to include in his cookbook — or rather, an entire chapter that he was nervous to include in the cookbook: the pizza section.
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Andrew Rea's Slice Of Nervousness
Rea said, "The recipes I was probably most nervous about including [in] the book was the pizza section as a whole. Pizza is a form of bread, so that's complicated enough right there, but also we have distinct regional pizzas: Neapolitan, New York, [and] Chicago. These are pizzas that have extremely distinct form factors and huge, rabid fandoms. I didn't want to betray the original recipes, and I wanted to make recipes that were consistently re-creatable in the home kitchen. The pizza is the big wild card. We'll see how that shakes out."
As Rea alludes, anyone who's ever made pizza at home knows that, while quick, it's not exactly easy the first time you do it. Additionally, having or not having the right gear can make or break your homemade pizza. Beyond this, most homemade pizza recipes result in some sort of thin-crusted, not-exactly-a-perfect-circle take on the food group, that can't really be categorized as one particular "style" of pizza. It's still good, but it's not pro-level. Maybe Rea's pizza recipes — which thoroughly recognize those distinct regional pizza styles — can change all that. You'll have to try them yourself to find out.
"Basics with Babish" by Andrew Rea is out now wherever books are sold.
Read the original article on Mashed.