Chef's Choice: Korey Klein 

click to enlarge PIZZA PIE Korey Klein makes pizza with love, respect and passion.
  • PIZZA PIE Korey Klein makes pizza with love, respect and passion.

Pizza has been a life-long passion for Korey Klein.

So in 2010 he decided to take his life-long passion for making pizza, something he used to do regularly as a kid with his mom, and work it into a business. He serves his pizza at the Whistler Farmers' Markets from June to October and at the Vancouver Farmers' Market, which is currently operating until the end of April on Saturdays at Nat Bailey Stadium. Squamish residents get to enjoy his pizza every Tuesday when Klein parks his portable pizza trailer just off Highway 99 at the corner of Industrial Way and Progress Way.

Klein also sets up at special events in Whistler when opportunities come up, like the ski club swap and the Luge World Cup.

Klein's pizza passion took hold at a young age.

"Cooking pizza has always been a tradition in our family," says Klein who you may recognize from setting you up with a new home in Whistler or helping you sell your place. When he isn't rolling pizza dough he's working with real estate clients at MacDonald Realty Whistler.

"When I was 12 we started making pizza as a family thing and I always loved cooking pizza."

The love didn't die when Klein met his wife, Tess (of jewellery-making fame). His pizza passion was truly confirmed when the love continued after the birth of his daughter, Talula.

He decided to go big.

"We went out of our way to get products that weren't typical shake and bake products," he says of the move to sharing pizza with the world. "We imported a fire oven from Italy and we took great care with the types of tomatoes and making the sauce."

Klein's first oven was mounted on wheels. The oven rang in at $10,000 so he decided that one way to make it pay for itself would be to set up at the farmers' markets each week and sell slices to the market visitors while wife, Tess, sold her jewellery products.

The original oven was replaced by a trailer upgrade that better conformed to health standards. He notes that his standards are high using fresh organic ingredients, premium meats and high protein flour imported from Italy along with yeast originally from San Francisco. The final wood fired product, he says, is healthy and his family loves it.

The thin crust pizza, known as Neapolitan, bakes in just 90 seconds in Klein's hot oven.

After discussing ingredients and techniques Klein says he's ready to share the real secret behind his pizza.

"I mean this from my heart," says Klein with an overflow of authenticity. "You have to respect food."

Making pizza isn't something to be rushed. There's no fast way, he believes, to make pizza.

"It commands your attention," he says. "It all comes with respecting the food and with that respect comes the love and with the love comes the great taste."

This is what motivates Klein to import Italian Caputa flour made from grains that aren't genetically modified.

"Making the perfect pizza dough starts with respect and if you want to respect the process you have to allow the fermentation," Klein says of the process he uses to make the dough.

"When working with the dough, you work with it slowly and methodically and with nurture," says Klein.

He refrigerates the dough for a few days then pre-cooks it for up to about five minutes before putting the toppings on the crust.

A low-acid seedless tomato sauce that has spent a few days in the fridge goes on top of the crust.

With the sauce on the dough Klein puts toppings over the sauce and the final product goes into his very hot oven.

Klein says he knows he's doing a good thing when kids come up to him to ask for a second slice or they demolish their piece of pizza and a parent reveals that their kid, who just enjoyed the pizza, is a fussy eater.

Says Klein, kids have very acute taste buds that should always be respected.

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